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Percival Q6 Petrel


The Percival Q.6 was a 1930s British communications aircraft.

Originally, the Percival Q.6 was a civil transport.

Militarily the Q.6 was used during the Second World War by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy as a communications and liaison aircraft.

It was a twin-engine, low-wing monoplane with a tail wheel undercarriage.

The Percival Type-Q was Percival’s first twin-engine aircraft.

It was constructed of wood, with plywood and fabric covering.

It had a fixed, tailwheel undercarriage, with faired mainwheels, although four of the production machines would be equipped with retractable undercarriage.

Two versions were designed: the Q.4, a four-seat executive transport, and the Q.6, a six-seat feederliner.

The Q.4 was not built.

The prototype Q.6, registration G-AEYE, first flew on 14 September 1937 at Luton Airport.

Production started in 1938, and the first production aircraft, registered G-AFFD, was delivered to Sir Philip Sassoon on 2 March 1938.

A small number were exported, including one to the King Ghazi I of Iraq, two to the Lithuanian Ministry of Communications, one to the Australian Civil Aviation Board and two to the Egyptian government in military camouflage.

A total of 27 aircraft were built (one prototype and 26 production aircraft).

The Royal Air Force bought seven aircraft for communications duties under Air Ministry Specification 25/38; these were unofficially named Petrel.

The Egyptian government bought two Q.6s.

In the early months of the Second World War, most of the civil Q.6s were requisitioned for service with the RAF and RN.

Two Q.6s of the Lithuanian Air Lines were impressed by the Soviet Air Forces in 1940 and used with Soviet airline Aeroflot on Riga-Velikye Luki or Riga-Moscow lines.

With one exception, all the civilian Q.6s served with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

Between 1946 and 1947, four requisitioned Q.6s and three Petrels were sold to civilian buyers.

These were operated by small UK airlines, as executive transports and flown by private pilot owners.



Four-seat civil executive transport, none built.


Six-seat civil feederliner.

Q.6 Mk I

Prototype fitted with wings intended for the Q.4 variant, one built.

Q.6 Mk II

Production variant with fixed landing gear, 12 built.

Q.6 Mk III

Variant with retractable landing gear.

Four built and one conversion from Mk II.

Q.6 Mk IV

Proposed air survey variant not built.

Q.6 Mk V Petrel

Variant for military communications, this had four passenger seats and also a rear toilet was installed, nine-built.





4-6 passengers


32 ft 3 in (9.83 m)


46 ft 8 in (14.22 m)


9 ft 9 in (2.97 m)

Wing area

278 sq ft (25.8 m2)

Empty weight

3,500 lb (1,588 kg)

Gross weight

5,500 lb (2,495 kg)


2 × de Havilland Gipsy Six II,

6-cylinder air-cooled inverted inline piston engines,

205 hp (153 kW) each


de Havilland Propellers controllable-pitch propellers


Maximum speed

195 mph (314 km/h, 169 kn) at sea level

Cruise speed

181 mph (291 km/h, 157 kn) at 7,000 ft (2,134 m) with retractable undercarriage

172 mph (149 kn; 277 km/h) at 7,000 ft (2,134 m) with fixed undercarriage

Landing speed

58 mph (50 kn; 93 km/h) with flaps extended


700–750 mi (1,130–1,210 km, 610–650 nmi)


4 hours at cruise

Service ceiling

21,000 ft (6,400 m)

Rate of climb

1,150 ft/min (5.8 m/s)

Maximum ceiling on one engine

6,500 ft (1,981 m)

Wing loading

19.8 lb/sq ft (97 kg/m2)


0.0746 hp/lb (0.1226 kW/kg).

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