Yesterday, 27 May, Aer Lingus celebrated its 85th birthday. On 27 May, 1936, a De Havilland 84 Dragon named Iolar – ‘eagle’ in Irish – took off from Baldonnell for Bristol.
The original aircraft was built at De Havilland’s factory in Hatfield, Hertfordshire and its first flight was performed by Geoffrey De Havilland himself. Its Certificate of Airworthiness was issued on 18 April 1936, and just over a month later it spearheaded the launch of Aer Lingus, which had just registered as an airline on 22 May.
Sadly, the original Iolar was lost during World War II, but its sister plane, also built in 1936, found its way into Irish hands in 1950, when it was registered to a Jospeh Cleary of Mullingar. For the next decade it was used for light charter work, parachute jumping and pilot training before it was taken out of service on 12 January 1959 and stored at the Weston Aerodrome in Dublin.
Aer Lingus bought the plane in 1967 and restored it, painting it with the livery of the original Iolar. It is stored in Hangar 6 at Aer Lingus HQ.
Happy Birthday, Aer Lingus!
— Michael Kelly (@Michaelkelly707) May 27, 2021