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Encyclopedia > De Havilland Comet
DH.106 Comet
A Royal Air Force Comet C.2 in flight.
Type Airliner
Manufacturer de Havilland
Designed by Ronald Bishop
Maiden flight 27 July 1949
Status In military service only
Primary users BOAC
See Operators
Unit cost £250,000 in 1952
Variants Hawker Siddeley Nimrod

The British de Havilland Comet first flew in 1949 and is noted as the world's first commercial jet airliner. Early models suffered from catastrophic metal fatigue and the aircraft was redesigned. The Comet 4 series subsequently enjoyed a long and productive career of over 30 years. The Hawker Siddeley Nimrod, the military derivative of the Comet airliner, is still in service. In 2007, the original decades-old airframes were being rebuilt with new wings and engines to produce the Nimrod MRA 4, expected to serve with Britain's Royal Air Force until the 2020s, more than 70 years after the Comet's first flight. The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known in Europe as the World Depression. ... The de Havilland DH.88 Comet was an aircraft designed for one very specific purpose - to win the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race for Britain. ... Image File history File links DeHavilland_Comet. ... An Airbus A340 airliner operated by Air Jamaica An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft with the primary function of transporting paying passengers. ... An aerospace manufacturer is a company or individual involved in the various aspects of designing, building, testing, selling, and maintaining aircraft, aircraft parts, missiles, rockets, and/or spacecraft. ... For other uses, see De Havilland (disambiguation). ... The Maiden flight of an aircraft is the first occasion on which an aircraft leaves the ground of its own accord. ... July 27 is the 208th day (209th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 157 days remaining. ... 1949 (MCMXLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1949 calendar). ... After technical problems with the Comet, BOAC resumed jet service with imported Boeing 707s. ... The symbol £ represents the pound currency which Britain uses. ... The BAE Systems (formerly Hawker-Siddeley) Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft is derived from the De Havilland Comet, the worlds first jet airliner. ... For other uses, see De Havilland (disambiguation). ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1949: Events Aerolíneas Argentinas established. ... A jetliner is an airliner powered by jet engines (usually of the turbofan type). ... This article is about a computer game. ... This article is about the de Havilland Comet jet airliner. ... The BAE Systems (formerly Hawker-Siddeley) Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft is derived from the De Havilland Comet, the worlds first jet airliner. ... 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the Anno Domini (common) era. ... The BAE Systems (formerly Hawker-Siddeley) Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft is derived from the De Havilland Comet, the worlds first jet airliner. ... The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. ...

Contents

Design and development

During the Second World War, the Brabazon Committee studied Britain's postwar airliner needs. Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, (head of the de Havilland company) was a committee member and used his influence and the company's expertise with jets to include mention of the need for a transatlantic jet mailplane called the Type IV or DH.106.[1] BOAC found the Type IV's specifications attractive and in December 1945 agreed to buy ten aircraft. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... In 1942, during World War II, the United States and the United Kingdom agreed to split responsibility for aircraft construction; the US would concentrate on transport aircraft while the UK would concentrate on their heavy bombers. ... Sir Geoffrey de Havilland (July 27, 1882 - May 21, 1965) was one of Englands aviation pioneers. ... After technical problems with the Comet, BOAC resumed jet service with imported Boeing 707s. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1945: // Events January January 1 - the Luftwaffe begins targeting Allied airfields in Europe as Operation Bodenplatte February February 13-15 - Allied bombers attack Dresden with incendiary weapons, destroying most of the city and killing some 50,000 people. ...


Design work began in 1946 under Ronald Bishop, who had been responsible for the Mosquito fighter-bomber. Several configurations were considered, including twin booms and a swept-wing, tailless design but a more conventional design was eventually chosen and announced as the Comet in December 1947. First deliveries were expected by 1952. This is a list of aviation-related events from 1946: // Events January January 1 - a British South American Airways Avro Lancastrian becomes the first commercial flight to depart Heathrow Airport January 10 - a Sikorsky R5 sets an unofficial helicopter altitude record of 6,400 m (21,000 ft) at Stratford... The de Havilland Mosquito (The Wooden Wonder, also known as The Timber Terror) was a British combat aircraft that excelled in a number of roles during the Second World War. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1947: Events March March 14 - Saudi Arabian Airlines begins regular services. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1952: // Events January January 5 - Pan Am commences trans-atlantic freight services. ...


The first flight of a prototype DH.106 Comet lasted 31 minutes on 27 July 1949. The pilot was de Havilland Chief Test Pilot John Cunningham, a famous wartime night-fighter pilot. The aircraft was publicly displayed at the 1949 Farnborough Air Show and then began flight trials. A year later the second prototype made its maiden flight. On 2 April 1951 this aircraft was delivered to the BOAC Comet Unit at Hurn under the registration G-ALZK and carried out 500 flying hours of crew training and a route proving programme. July 27 is the 208th day (209th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 157 days remaining. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1949: Events Aerolíneas Argentinas established. ... John Cats Eyes Cunningham at an airshow in 1979 Group Captain John Cats Eyes Cunningham CBE, DSO and two Bars, DFC and Bar, (27 July 1917- 21 July 2002), was an officer in the Royal Air Force during World War II and a test pilot, both before and... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1949: Events Aerolíneas Argentinas established. ... Farnborough 2006 Farnborough 2006 The Red Arrows in formation at Farnborough The Airbus A380, at Farnborough The Farnborough International Airshow is a seven-day international trade fair for the aerospace business which is held biannually in England. ... April 2 is the 92nd day of the year (93rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 273 days remaining. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1951: Events February February 21 - an English Electric Canberra becomes the first jet to make an unrefuelled crossing of the Atlantic, taking 4 hours 37 minutes March March 6 - the Martin aircraft company gains production rights to the English Electric Canberra...


Technical description

The Comet was a low wing, all metal, four-engine jet aircraft, approximately the length of a small Boeing 737, carrying fewer people in greater comfort. The earliest Comets had 11 rows of seats with four seats to a row in the 1A configuration used by Air France. BOAC used an even roomier arrangement of 36 seats (each with its own ashtray). The galley could serve hot and cold food and drinks and there was a bar. Other amenities included separate men's and women's washrooms. The passenger cabin was quieter than those of propeller driven airliners. The Comet's four-crew member cockpit held two pilots, a flight engineer and a navigator. The Boeing 737 is the worlds most popular medium to long range, narrowbody commercial passenger jet aircraft. ... Air France (Compagnie Nationale Air France) is a subsidiary of Air France-KLM. Before its merger with KLM, it was the national airline of France, employing 71,654 people (as of January 2005). ... Cockpit of a light aircraft, showing instrumentation dials and dual control yokes. ...


The clean, low-drag design featured many unique or innovative design elements, including a swept leading edge, integral wing fuel tanks and four-wheel bogie main undercarriage units designed by de Havilland. The Comet was also designed as one of the first pressurized commercial aircraft.[2] For emergencies, life rafts were stored in the wings near the engines and a life vest was stowed under each seat bottom.


Two pairs of de Havilland Ghost 50 Mk1 turbojet engines were buried in the wings close to the fuselage. British aircraft designers chose this configuration because it avoided the drag of podded engines and allowed a smaller fin and rudder, since the hazards of asymmetric thrust were reduced. The engines' higher mounting in the wings also reduced the risk of ingestion damage, a major problem for turbine engines. However, these benefits were compromised by increased structural weight and general complexity, including armour for the engine cells and a more complicated wing structure. The De Havilland Ghost was a turbojet engine. ... Turbojets are the simplest and oldest kind of general purpose jet engine. ...


The Comet was originally intended to have two hydrogen peroxide powered de Havilland Sprite booster rockets for take-off under hot and high conditions from airports such as Khartoum and Nairobi. These were tested on thirty flights, but the Ghosts were apparently powerful enough without them. The later Comet 4 was highly rated for its takeoff performance from high altitude locations such as Mexico City. Its newer Avon engines, low weight (compared to the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8) and exceptionally clean design all contributed to its high performance. The Comet wing was a classic design which has been in near-continuous civil and military service for over half a century, an achievement matched only by the Boeing 707/C-137/E-3. Early model Comets required about five or six man-hours of maintenance labour per flight hour, fewer than the propeller-driven planes it replaced. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a very pale blue liquid which appears colourless in a dilute solution, slightly more viscous than water. ... Nickname: The Triangular City Khartoums location in Sudan Coordinates: Government  - Governor Abdul Halim al Mutafi Population (2005)  - Urban Over 1 Million For other uses, see Khartoum (disambiguation). ... Nairobi (pronounced ) is the capital and largest city of Kenya. ... A Ryanair Boeing 737 takes off from Bristol International Airport, England Takeoff is the phase of flight where an aircraft transitions from moving along the ground (taxiing) to flying in the air (see flight), usually on a runway. ... The Boeing 707 is a four-engine commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. ... The Douglas DC-8 is a four-engined jet airliner, manufactured between 1959 and 1972. ...


The Comet's thin metal skin was composed of advanced new alloys (DTD 564/L.73 and DTD 746C/L90)* and was both chemically bonded using the adhesive Redux, and riveted, which saved weight and reduced the risk of fatigue cracks spreading from the rivets. When it went into service with British Overseas Airways Corporation on 2 May 1952 the Comet was the most exhaustively tested commercial airliner in history. For example, a water tank was used to test the entire forward fuselage section for metal fatigue by repeatedly pressurising to 2.75 psi overpressure (11 psi) and depressurising through more than 16,000 cycles, which was equivalent to about 40,000 hours of airline service.[3] The windows were tested under a pressure of 12 psi, 4.75 psi above the normal service ceiling of 36,000'.[4] One window frame survived a massive 100 psi, about 1,250% greater than the maximum pressure it would encounter in airline service.[5] An adhesive is a compound that adheres or bonds two items together. ... Redux is the generic name of a family of phenyl-formaldehyde/polyvinyl-formal adhesives developed by Aero Research Limited (ARL) at Duxford, UK, in the 1940s, subsequently produced by Ciba (ARL) and now manufactured by Hexcel. ... May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ... 1952 (MCMLII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ...


* DTD = Directorate of Technical Development


Operational history

The de Havilland Comet 1, G-ALYP - The first production Comet. This aircraft also flew the world's first commercial jet passenger flight and was later lost off Elba.
The de Havilland Comet 1, G-ALYP - The first production Comet. This aircraft also flew the world's first commercial jet passenger flight and was later lost off Elba.

The first production aircraft (G-ALYP) flew in January 1951. On 22 January 1952 G-ALYS was the first Comet to receive a certificate of airworthiness. On 2 May 1952 G-ALYP took off on the world's first all-jet flight with fare-paying passengers, beginning scheduled service to Johannesburg. The last plane from the initial order (G-ALYZ) began flying in September 1952, carrying freight along South American routes while simulating passenger schedules. Image File history File linksMetadata DH_Comet_1_G-ALYP.jpg‎ The BOAC de Havilland Comet 1 G-ALYP (Yoke-Peter) This aircraft flew the worlds first jet airline service but later crashed due to the fatigue problem that subsequently grounded all Comet 1s. ... Image File history File linksMetadata DH_Comet_1_G-ALYP.jpg‎ The BOAC de Havilland Comet 1 G-ALYP (Yoke-Peter) This aircraft flew the worlds first jet airline service but later crashed due to the fatigue problem that subsequently grounded all Comet 1s. ... BOAC Flight 781, a de Havilland Comet 1, took off from Ciampino Airport in Rome, Italy en route to London Heathrow Airport in London, United Kingdom on the final stage of its flight from Singapore. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1951: Events February February 21 - an English Electric Canberra becomes the first jet to make an unrefuelled crossing of the Atlantic, taking 4 hours 37 minutes March March 6 - the Martin aircraft company gains production rights to the English Electric Canberra... January 22 is the 22nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1952: // Events January January 5 - Pan Am commences trans-atlantic freight services. ... May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1952: // Events January January 5 - Pan Am commences trans-atlantic freight services. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1952: // Events January January 5 - Pan Am commences trans-atlantic freight services. ...


The Comet was a hit with passengers and commercial success was widely anticipated. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was an early passenger on a special flight, becoming the first member of the British Royal Family to fly by jet. The Comet flew about 50% faster than advanced piston-engined types like the Douglas DC-6 (490 mph for the Comet compared to 315 mph for the DC-6B). However the Comet's rate of climb was far higher, which could cut flight times in half. The Ghost engine was smooth, relatively simple, fuel efficient above 30,000 ft, had low maintenance costs, little vibration and could fly above weather which the competition had to fly through. 30,000 passengers were carried during the first year of service and over 50 Comets were ordered. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in her later years as Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother The Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Windsor L.G., L.T., C.I., G.C.V.O., G.B.E., C.C., née Bowes-Lyon) (4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002) was the Queen... The Douglas DC-6 is an aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1946 to 1959. ...


Early accidents and incidents

On 26 October 1952, a BOAC flight at Ciampino airport near Rome, Italy failed to become airborne and several passengers sustained minor injuries. The following March a new Canadian Pacific Airlines Comet 1A (CF-CUN) was being delivered and on takeoff from Karachi, Pakistan collided with a bridge, killing 11 crew and others on board. Both of these accidents were originally attributed to pilot error: Over-rotation had led to a loss of lift from the leading edge of the plane's wing. However it was later determined that the wing profile led to a loss of lift at high angle of attack, and the engine inlets suffered from a lack a pressure recovery in these conditions as well. The wing leading edge was re-profiled, and a wing fence was added, apparently to control spanwise flow. October 26 is the 299th day of the year (300th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 66 days remaining. ... 1952 (MCMLII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Ciampino is a town in the province of Rome, Lazio, Italy. ... Nickname: The Eternal City Motto: SPQR: Senatus PopulusQue Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area    - City 1285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban... Canadian Pacific Airlines, also called CP Air, was a Canadian airline that operated from 1942 to 1987. ... Karachi (Urdu: كراچى, Sindhi: ڪراچي) is the capital of the province of Sindh, and the most populated city in Pakistan. ... In this diagram, the black arrow represents the direction of the wind. ...


The first fatal accident involving passengers was on 2 May 1953 when a BOAC Comet 1 (G-ALYV) crashed in a severe tropical storm six minutes after taking off from Calcutta Dum Dum (now Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport), India.[6] The break-up sequence began with a stabiliser and may have been exacerbated by over-manipulation of the fully powered flight controls. The Comet 1 and 1A have been criticised for a lack of "feel" in their controls.[citation needed] May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ... 1953 (MCMLIII) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (IATA: CCU, ICAO: VECC) is an airport located in Dum Dum, West Bengal, India, near Kolkata (Calcutta). ...


Comet disasters of 1954

Main article: BOAC Flight 781

G-ALYP crashed off the Italian island of Elba (BOAC Flight 781, 10 January 1954) with the loss of everyone on board. There was no obvious reason for the crash, and the fleet was grounded while the Abell Committee formed to determine potential causes for the crash. The committee focused on six potential problems; control flutter (which had led to the loss of de Havilland Swallow), structural failure due to high loads or metal fatigue of the wing structure, failure of the powered flight controls, failure of the window panels leading to explosive decompression, or fire and other engine problems. They concluded fire was the most likely cause of the problem, and a number of changes were made to the aircraft to protect the engines and wings from damage which might lead to another fire.[7] South African Airways Flight 201, a de Havilland Comet 1, took off at 18:32 GMT from Ciampino Airport in Rome, Italy en route to Cairo, Egypt, on the second stage of its flight from London to Johannesburg, South Africa. ... BOAC Flight 781, a de Havilland Comet 1, took off from Ciampino Airport in Rome, Italy en route to London Heathrow Airport in London, United Kingdom on the final stage of its flight from Singapore. ... Elba (bottom centre) from space, February 1994. ... BOAC Flight 781, a de Havilland Comet 1, took off from Ciampino Airport in Rome, Italy en route to London Heathrow Airport in London, United Kingdom on the final stage of its flight from Singapore. ... The de Havilland DH 108 Swallow was a British experimental aircraft designed by John Carver Meadows Frost in October 1945. ...


During this investigation the Royal Navy conducted recovery operations, including the first use of underwater television cameras. The first wreckage was discovered on 12 January and the search continued until August, by which time 70 percent of the main structure, 80 percent of the power section and 50 percent of the equipment had been recovered. The forensic reconstruction effort was only lately underway when the Abell Committee reported their findings. On 4 April Lord Brabazon wrote to the Minister of Transport, "Although no definite reason for the accident has been established, modifications are being embodied to cover every possibility that imagination has suggested as a likely cause of the disaster. When these modifications are completed and have been satisfactorily flight tested, the Board sees no reason why passenger services should not be resumed." Comet flights resumed on 23 March 1954. The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). ... John Moore-Brabazon in a Voisin in 1909 John Cuthbert Moore-Brabazon, 1st Baron Brabazon of Tara (8 February 1884 - 17 May 1964) was a British aviation pioneer. ...


On 8 April 1954, Comet G-ALYY, on charter to South African Airways and on a flight from Rome to Cairo, crashed near Naples. The fleet was immediately grounded once again and a large investigation board was formed under the direction of the Royal Aircraft Establishment. This article needs cleanup. ...


Engineers subjected an identical airframe (G-ALYU) to repeated repressurisation and overpressurisation and after 3057 flight cycles (1221 actual and 1836 simulated) G-ALYU failed due to metal fatigue near the front port-side escape hatch.[8] Investigators began considering fatigue as the most likely cause of both accidents and further research into measurable strain on the skin began. Stress around the window corners was found to be much higher than expected, "probably over 40,000 psi," and stresses on the skin were generally more than previously expected or tested. The principal investigator concluded, "In the light of known properties of the aluminium alloy D.T.D. 546 or 746 of which the skin was made and in accordance with the advice I received from my Assessors, I accept the conclusion of R.A.E. that this is a sufficient explanation of the failure of the cabin skin of Yoke Uncle by fatigue after a small number, namely, 3.060 cycles of pressurisation.".[9]


Before the Elba accident, G-ALYP had made 1,290 pressurised flights and at the time of the Naples accident G-ALYY had made 900 pressurised flights. Walker said he was not surprised by this, noting that the difference was about 3 to 1 and previous experience with metal fatigue suggested that a total range of 9 to 1 between experiment and outcome in the field could result in failure. Thus, if the tank test result was "typical," aircraft failures could be expected at anywhere from 1000 to 9000 cycles. By then the RAE had reconstructed about two-thirds of G-ALYP at Farnborough and found fatigue crack growth from a rivet hole at the low-drag fiberglass forward "window" around the Automatic Direction Finder, which had caused a catastrophic breakup of the aircraft in high altitude flight. Farnborough Airport or TAG London Farnborough Airport (IATA: FAB, ICAO: EGLF) (previously called RAE Farnborough) is an airport situated in Farnborough, Hampshire in England. ... Bundle of fiberglass Fiberglass or glassfibre is material made from extremely fine fibers of glass. ... A Non-directional Beacon, or NDB, is a radio broadcast station in a known location, used as a navigational aid by aircraft pilots. ...


The square windows of the Comet 1 were redesigned as oval for the Comet 2, which first flew in 1953. The skin sheeting was thickened slightly. The remaining Comet 1s and 1As were either scrapped or modified with oval window rip-stop doublers and a program to produce a Comet 2 with more powerful Rolls-Royce Avon engines was delayed. All production Comet 2s were modified to alleviate the fatigue problems and most of these served with the RAF as the Comet C2. The Comet did not resume commercial airline service until 1958, when the much improved Comet 4 was introduced and became the first jet airliner to enter transatlantic service. The Comet nose section was also used on the Sud-Aviation Caravelle. As is often the case in aeronautical engineering, other aircraft manufacturers learned from and profited by de Havilland's hard-learned lessons.[citation needed] The Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet was developed by Cyril Lovesey who had previously been in charge of Merlin development at Rolls-Royce. ... The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. ...


Variants

Comet 1

The square-windowed Comet 1 was the first model produced. An updated Comet 1A was offered and in the wake of the 1954 disasters, some of these were modified as Comet 1XBs with strengthened fuselages and oval windows.


Comet 2

The Comet 2 had a slightly larger wing, higher fuel capacity and more powerful Rolls-Royce Avon engines which all improved the aircraft's range and performance. Following the Comet 1 disasters these models were rebuilt with heavier gauge skin and rounded openings. 12 of the 44-seat Comet 2s were ordered by BOAC for the South Atlantic route and the first production aircraft (G-AMXA) flew on 27 August 1953. Although these aircraft performed well on the South Atlantic routes, their range was still not suitable for the North Atlantic. All but four Comet 2s were allocated to the RAF. Eight Comet C2 transport aircraft and two Comet T2 crew trainers were delivered to the RAF beginning in 1955. The Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet was developed by Cyril Lovesey who had previously been in charge of Merlin development at Rolls-Royce. ... After technical problems with the Comet, BOAC resumed jet service with imported Boeing 707s. ... August 27 is the 239th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (240th in leap years), with 126 days remaining. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1953: Events The first year in which the worlds airlines carried more than 50 million people (ICAO statement, 29 December) January January 26 - The first meeting of the Experimental Aircraft Association takes place at Milwaukee, Wisconsins Curtis-Wright Field. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1955: Events February February 26 - George F. Smith becomes the first person to survive a supersonic ejection, from a North American F-100 Super Sabre travelling (Mach 1. ...

  • Comet 2X: Limited to a single Comet Mk 1 powered by four Rolls-Royce Avon 502 turbojet engines and used as a development aircraft for the Comet 2.
  • Comet 2E: Two Comet 2 airliners were fitted with Rolls-Royce Avon 504 turbojets in the inner nacelles and Rolls-Royce Avon 524 turbojets in the outer ones. They were used by BOAC for proving flights during 1957-1958.

Comet 3

The Comet 3 was a lengthened Comet 2 with greater capacity and range. After the fatigue accidents orders dwindled and only two Comet 3s were built. One flew and the other was used for structural and technology testing during development of the similarly sized Comet 4. Nine further airframes were not completed and their construction was abandoned at Hatfield. Arms of the former Hatfield Rural District Council Hatfield, originally Bishops Hatfield, is in the Welwyn Hatfield district of Hertfordshire, in the south of England. ...


Comet 4

Comet 4c showing the engines built into the wing, and the safer round windows of these later models
Comet 4c showing the engines built into the wing, and the safer round windows of these later models

The Comet 4 was a further improvement on the stretched Comet 3 with even greater fuel capacity. This design had come a long way from the original Comet 1. The aircraft had grown by 5.64 m (18 ft 6 in) and typically seated 74 to 81 passengers compared to the Comet 1's 36 to 44. It had a longer range, higher cruising speed and higher maximum takeoff weight. These improvements were possible largely because of Rolls-Royce Avon engines with twice the thrust of the Comet 1's de Havilland Ghosts. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 450 × 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (768 × 1024 pixel, file size: 187 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) de Havilland Comet 4c in Dan Air livery - fuselage showing engines within wing, and elliptical windows as changed from Comet 1s rectangular... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 450 × 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (768 × 1024 pixel, file size: 187 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) de Havilland Comet 4c in Dan Air livery - fuselage showing engines within wing, and elliptical windows as changed from Comet 1s rectangular... The Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet was developed by Cyril Lovesey who had previously been in charge of Merlin development at Rolls-Royce. ... The De Havilland Ghost was a turbojet engine. ...


BOAC ordered 19 Comet 4s in March 1955 and a Comet 4 (G-APDA) first flew on 27 April 1958. Deliveries to BOAC began on 30 September 1958 with two aircraft. BOAC aircraft G-APDC initiated the first trans-atlantic Comet 4 service and the first scheduled trans-Atlantic passenger jet service in history, flying from London to New York with a stopover at Gander on 4 October 1958. Rival Pan Am's inaugural 707 service began three weeks later. April 27 is the 117th day of the year (118th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 248 days remaining. ... Year 1958 (MCMLVIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... September 30 is the 273rd day of the year (274th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1958: Events Gulfstream Aerospace founded in Savannah, Georgia, USA. London Gatwick Airport opens after two years of extensive reconstruction. ... Gander International Airport (IATA: YQX, ICAO: CYQX) is located in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and is currently run by the Gander Airport Authority. ... October 4 is the 277th day of the year (278th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1958 (MCMLVIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Pan American World Airways, commonly known as Pan Am, was the principal international airline of the United States from the 1930s until its collapse in 1991. ...


American operator Capital Airlines ordered four Comet 4s and 4As in July 1956. The Comet 4A was designed for short-range operations and had a stretched fuselage with short wings (lacking the pinion fuel tanks of the Comet 4). This order was cancelled but the aircraft were built for British European Airways as the Comet 4B with a further fuselage stretch of 38 inches and seating for 99 passengers. The first Comet 4B (G-APMA) flew on 27 June 1959 and BEA aircraft G-APMB began service on 1 April 1960 from Tel Aviv to London-Heathrow. Capital Airlines was an airline serving the eastern United States which was merged into United Airlines in 1961. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1956: Events March March 10 - Lt Cdr Peter Twiss sets a new airspeed record in the Fairey Delta FD.2, also becoming the first person to exceed 1,000 mph. ... For other uses of BEA see Bea British European Airways, or BEA, was formed in 1946 by an Act of Parliament. ... June 27 is the 178th day of the year (179th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 187 days remaining. ... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... April 1 is the 91st day of the year (92nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 274 days remaining. ... 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1960 calendar). ...


The last Comet 4 variant was the Comet 4C with the same longer fuselage as the Comet 4B coupled with the larger wings and fuel tanks of the original Comet 4, which gave it a longer range than the 4B. The first Comet 4C flew on 31 October 1959 and Mexicana began scheduled Comet 4C flights in 1960. The last two Comet 4C fuselages were used to build prototypes of the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft. October 31 is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 61 days remaining. ... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Mexicana de Aviación (commonly known by the shorter name Mexicana) is Mexicos second largest airline company, after Aeroméxico, and the worlds third oldest airline still using its original name, after Hollands KLM and Colombias Avianca. ... The BAE Systems (formerly Hawker-Siddeley) Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft is derived from the De Havilland Comet, the worlds first jet airliner. ...


Comet 5 design

The Comet 5 was proposed as an improvement over previous models, including a wider fuselage with five-abreast seating, a wing with greater sweep and pod mounted Rolls-Royce Conway engines. All of these changes would have led to a configuration similar to the American Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8. Without support from the Ministry of Transport, none were ever built. The MoT subsequently backed BOAC's order of Conway-powered Boeing 707s. The Rolls-Royce Conway was the first by-pass engine to go into service in the world. ... The Boeing 707 is a four-engine commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. ... The Douglas DC-8 is a four-engined jet airliner, manufactured between 1959 and 1972. ... In the United Kingdom, the Department for Transport is the government department responsible for the transport network. ...


Hawker Siddeley Nimrod

The last two Comet 4 fuselages produced were modified as protoypes to meet a British requirement for a maritime patrol aircraft for the Royal Air Force designated the HS.801. The aircraft became the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod and was built at the Hawker Siddeley factory at Woodford Aerodrome. Entering service in 1969 five variants of the Nimrod have been produced with two still in-service and the re-winged re-engined Nimrod MRA 4 due to enter service in 2007. The BAE Systems (formerly Hawker-Siddeley) Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft is derived from the De Havilland Comet, the worlds first jet airliner. ... The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. ... The BAE Systems (formerly Hawker-Siddeley) Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft is derived from the De Havilland Comet, the worlds first jet airliner. ... Hawker-Ciggerley was a group of UK aircraft manufacturing companies formed as a result of the merger of Hawker Aircraft with Armstrong Siddeley. ... Woodford Aerodrome (IATA: N/A, ICAO: EGCD) is located at Woodford in the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, Greater Manchester. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from Canadian Snowbirds aerobatic team is formed. ... The BAE Systems (formerly Hawker-Siddeley) Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft is derived from the De Havilland Comet, the worlds first jet airliner. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 2007: // January 1 – Adam Air Flight 574, a Boeing 737, disapears in Indonesian airspace with 102 people on board. ...


Production and service summary

The Comet was built at two different de Havilland factories at Hatfield Aerodrome and Hawarden Aerodrome. Introduction Hawarden Airport (IATA: CEG, ICAO: EGNR), often known as Chester Airport, is a small airport in Hawarden in north east Wales. ...

  • Comet 1 - 12 built
  • Comet 1A - 10 built
  • Comet 2 - 15 completed
  • Comet 3 - 1 completed
  • Comet 4 - 76 built (two as the HS.801)

114 aircraft were completed and flown.


Thirteen aircraft were lost in fatal accidents and of these, five were considered to have been brought about by aircraft design or fatigue problems. The last fatal accident involving the Comet was at Tripoli, Libya on the 2 January 1971, caused by pilot error. Tripoli (Arabic: طرابلس Tarābulus) is the capital city of Libya. ... January 2 is the second day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1971: Events January January 6 - the US Marine Corps takes delivery of its first AV-8 Harriers January 22 - a US Navy P-3 Orion sets a distance record of 7,010 miles (11,282 km) for an aircraft in its...


Atotal of 76 Comet 4 family aircraft were delivered from 1958 to 1964. BOAC retired its Comet 4s from revenue service in 1965 but other operators continued flying Comets in commercial passenger service until 1981. Dan-Air played a significant role in the fleet's later history and at one time owned all 49 remaining airworthy civil Comets. In 1997 a Comet 4C which had been owned by the British government made the last documented Comet flight. Dan-Air Services Limited is a defunct airline based in the United Kingdom. ...


Although the Comet was the first jet airliner in regularly scheduled passenger service, the damage done to the aircraft's reputation by the Comet 1 disasters contributed to Boeing's domination of the jetliner market. The first prototype 707 was flown in 1954 and Douglas launched the DC-8 program in 1955. For a brief period the Soviet Union's Tupolev Tu-104 was the only jet airliner flying commercially. A jetliner is an airliner powered by jet engines (usually of the turbofan type). ... The Boeing 707 is a four-engine commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. ... DC-10, retired from American Airlines fleet at gate McDonnell Douglas was a major American aerospace manufacturer, producing a number of famous commercial and military aircraft. ... The Douglas DC-8 is a four-engined jet airliner, manufactured between 1959 and 1972. ... The Tupolev Tu-104 (NATO reporting name: Camel) was a twin-engined medium-range turbojet-powered Soviet airliner. ...


Both the 707 and DC-8 had more marketable ranges and passenger accommodations than the Comet. American manufacturers also benefited from a very large domestic airline market and US aircraft manufacturers have enjoyed a large share of the commercial jetliner market for half a century. Their only significant competition came later from the Airbus consortium although Tupolev still nominally manufactures jet airliners, namely the Tu-204. This article is about the airliner manufacturer. ... Tupolev (Russian: Туполев) is a Russian aerospace and defence company. ... The Tupolev Tu-204 is a twin-engined medium range Russian airliner capable of carrying 212 passengers. ...


Twenty-four airlines flew the Comet and it remained in passenger service for almost three decades, until 1981. Designed over 50 years earlier at the beginning of the jet age, a variant of the Comet flying with modern avionics is still in service with the Royal Air Force. This is a list of aviation-related events from 1981: // Events January January 3 - Pan Am makes its final Boeing 707 flight. ... The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. ...


Preserved aircraft

Comet 1

The only complete surviving Comet 1 is a Comet 1XB on display at the RAF Museum Cosford, painted in BOAC colours with the registration G-APAS, although it never flew for that airline, having been delivered to Air France and then to the Ministry of Supply after conversion to 1XB standard. An Avro Lancaster in the main hangar of the RAF Museum London The Royal Air Force Museum (RAF Museum) is a museum dedicated to the history of aviation, and the British Royal Air Force in particular. ... The British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) was the exclusive British state airline from 1939 until 1946 and the long-haul British state airline from 1946. ... Air France (Compagnie Nationale Air France) is a subsidiary of Air France-KLM. Before its merger with KLM, it was the national airline of France, employing 71,654 people (as of January 2005). ... The Ministry of Supply (MoS) was a department of the UK Government formed in 1939 to co-ordinate the supplying of equipment to the British armed forces, headed by the Minister of Supply. ...


The nose of BOAC Comet 1A G-ANAV is displayed at London's Science Museum, while the fuselage of Air France Comet 1A F-BGNX is preserved at the De Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre in Hertfordshire. The Science Museum on Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London is part of the National Museum of Science and Industry. ... A de Havilland DH.104 Dove at the museum The de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre, formerly the Mosquito Aircraft Museum, is a volunteer run aviation museum in the English county of Hertfordshire, just north of Greater London. ... Hertfordshire (pronounced Hartfordshire and abbreviated as Herts) is an inland county in the United Kingdom and part of the East of England Government Office region. ...


Comet 2

  • Comet C2 "Sagittarius" (serial XK699, later maintenance serial 7971M) is displayed at the gate of RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire. Lyneham was previously the operational base for all RAF operated Comets.

RAF Lyneham is a Royal Air Force station in Wiltshire, England. ... Wiltshire (abbreviated Wilts) is a large southern English county. ...

Comet 4

  • Comet 4B (Registration G-APYD) is stored at the Science Museum facility at Wroughton, Wiltshire.
  • Comet 4C (Registration N888WA) is being restored and on display in Mexicana livery at the restoration facility of the Museum of Flight at Paine Field next to Boeing's Everett WA widebody plant.
  • Comet 4C (Registration N777WA) is on display at the Parque Zoológico Irapuato in Mexico.
  • Comet 4 (Registration G-APDB) is on display at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, England. The plane is in Dan-Air colours as part of the Flight Line Display and is available for touring inside at specific times.
  • Comet 4C (Registration G-BDIW) is on display at the Flugausstellung Leo Junior at Hermeskeil, Germany in Dan-Air colours.
  • Comet 4C (Registration G-BDIX) is on display at the Museum of Flight at East Fortune near Edinburgh, Scotland in Dan-Air livery.
  • The last Comet to fly was Canopus (Serial XS235) which is kept in running condition at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome where it regularly conducts fast taxi runs. There is a campaign to return Canopus to flight, with the current goal to have it in the air by the 50th anniversary of the first regular transatlantic jet service which started on 4 October 1958.

The Science Museum on Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London is part of the National Museum of Science and Industry. ... This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims. ... Wiltshire (abbreviated Wilts) is a large southern English county. ... Mexicana de Aviación (commonly known by the shorter name Mexicana) is Mexicos second largest airline company, after Aeroméxico, and the worlds third oldest airline still using its original name, after Hollands KLM and Colombias Avianca. ... For the Museum of Flight in East Lothian, Scotland, see Museum of Flight (Scotland). ... The Imperial War Museum is a museum in London featuring military vehicles, weapons, war memorabilia, a library, a photographic archive, and an art collection of 20th century and later conflicts, especially those involving Britain, and the British Empire. ... Dan-Air Services Limited is a defunct airline based in the United Kingdom. ... Hermeskeil is a town in Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany with about 5900 inhabitants. ... The Museum of Flight is an aerospace museum at East Fortune Airfield, East Fortune, East Lothian, Scotland. ... Edinburgh (pronounced ; Scottish Gaelic: ) is the capital of Scotland and its second-largest city. ... Motto: (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity(English) Wha daur meddle wi me? (Scots)[1] Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official languages English, Gaelic, Scots[2] Government  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP  - First Minister Jack McConnell MSP Unification    - by Kenneth I... Canopus (α Car / α Carinae / Alpha Carinae) is the brightest star in the southern constellation of Carina, and the second brightest star in the sky, with a visual magnitude of −0. ... The Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome and Proving Ground is a privately-owned airport in Leicestershire near the village of Bruntingthorpe. ... October 4 is the 277th day of the year (278th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1958 (MCMLVIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Operators

Civilian operators

Flag of Argentina Argentina
 Canada
Flag of Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
East African Community (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda)
Flag of Ecuador Ecuador
  • AREA
Flag of Egypt Egypt
Flag of France France
Flag of Greece Greece
Flag of Kuwait Kuwait
Flag of Lebanon Lebanon
Flag of Malaysia Malaysia
Flag of Mexico Mexico
Flag of Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia
Flag of Sudan Sudan
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom
Flag of United States United States

Image File history File links Flag_of_Argentina. ... Aerol neas Argentinas is Argentinas largest domestic and international airline. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Canada_(bordered). ... Canadian Pacific Airlines, also called CP Air, was a Canadian airline that operated from 1942 to 1987. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Sri_Lanka. ... Air Ceylon was Sri Lankas (Ceylons) national carrier. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... EAC The three states that make up the East African Community The East African Community (EAC) is a customs union in East Africa, consisting of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. ... East African Airways was an airline jointly run by three countries in East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania; and Uganda, which were then part of an East African Community. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Ecuador. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Egypt. ... EgyptAir (Arabic: مصر للطيران, Misr Lel-Tayaran) is the Cairo-based national airline of Egypt. ... EgyptAir (Arabic: مصر للطيران, Misr Lel-Tayaran) is the Cairo-based national airline of Egypt. ... EgyptAir (Arabic: مصر للطيران, Misr Lel-Tayaran) is the Cairo-based national airline of Egypt. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_France. ... Air France (Compagnie Nationale Air France) is a subsidiary of Air France-KLM. Before its merger with KLM, it was the national airline of France, employing 71,654 people (as of January 2005). ... Union des Transports Aeriens (UTA) (United Transit Airlines in the English language) was a French international airline. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Greece. ... Olympic Airlines Boeing 737 Olympic Airlines (Ολυμπιακές Αερογραμμές - O.A.) is the state-run, flag carrier of Greece. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Kuwait. ... Kuwait Airways (Arabic: الخطوط الجوية الكويتية) is Kuwaits national and international airline and is wholly owned by the Kuwaiti Government. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Lebanon. ... Middle East Airlines (Arabic: طيران الشرق الأوسط), also known by its long name, Middle East Airlines Air Liban (Arabic: طيران الشرق الأوسط الخطوط الجوية اللبنانية), is the national flag-carrier airline of Lebanon, based in Beirut. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Malaysia. ... Malaysia Airlines is the national airline of Malaysia. ... Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA) came into being in 1966 as a result of a joint ownership of the airline by the governments of Malaysia and Singapore. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Mexico. ... Mexicana de Aviación (commonly known by the shorter name Mexicana) is Mexicos second largest airline company, after Aeroméxico, and the worlds third oldest airline still using its original name, after Hollands KLM and Colombias Avianca. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Saudi_Arabia. ... Saud bin Abdul Aziz (January 12, 1902 - February 23, 1969) was King of Saudi Arabia from 1953 to November 2, 1964. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Sudan. ... Sudan Airways is the national airline of Sudan and is a member of the Arab Air Carriers Organization. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... After technical problems with the Comet, BOAC resumed jet service with imported Boeing 707s. ... // British Airtours was a UK charter airline based at London Gatwick. ... For other uses of BEA see Bea British European Airways, or BEA, was formed in 1946 by an Act of Parliament. ... Dan-Air Services Limited is a defunct airline based in the United Kingdom. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Capital Airlines was an airline serving the eastern United States which was merged into United Airlines in 1961. ...

Military operators

 Canada
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom

Image File history File links Flag_of_Canada_(bordered). ... The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) was the air force of Canada from 1924 until 1968 when the three branches of the Canadian military were merged into the Canadian Forces. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. ... No. ... No. ... No. ... This article needs cleanup. ...

Specifications (Comet 4)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4
  • Capacity: 56-109 passengers
  • Length: 34 m (112 ft)
  • Wingspan: 35 m (115 ft)
  • Height: 9 m (30 ft)
  • Wing area: 2,120 ft² (197 m²)
  • Airfoil: NACA 63A116 mod root, NACA 63A112 mod tip
  • Empty weight: 75,400 lb (34,200 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 162,000 lb (73,470 kg)
  • Powerplant:Rolls-Royce Avon Mk 524 turbojets, 10,500 lbf (46.8 kN) each

Performance

The distance AB is the wing span of this Aer Lingus Airbus A320. ... Various components of the airfoil. ... The NACA airfoils are airfoil shapes for aircraft wings developed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). ... The Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet was developed by Cyril Lovesey who had previously been in charge of Merlin development at Rolls-Royce. ... Turbojets are the simplest and oldest kind of general purpose jet engine. ... VNO of an aircraft is the V speed which refers to the velocity of normal operation. ... The maximal total range is the distance an aircraft can fly between takeoff and landing as limited by its fuel capacity. ... In aeronautics, the service ceiling is the maximum density altitude where the best rate of climb airspeed will produce a 100 feet per minute climb(twin engine) and 50 feet(single engine) at maximum weight while in a clean configuration with maximum continuous power. ...

References

  1. ^ Jackson 1988
  2. ^ Winchester 2004, p. 109. Note: The limited production Boeing 307 Stratoliner and later Model 377 Stratocruiser were pressurized propeller-driven airliners.
  3. ^ Davies and Birtles 1999, p. 30.
  4. ^ Davies and Birtles, p. 30.
  5. ^ Davies and Birtles, p. 30.
  6. ^ Darling 2005, p.36.
  7. ^ Report of the Public Inquiry into the causes and circumstances of the accident which occurred on the 10 January, 1954, to the Comet aircraft G-ALYP, Part IX (d)
  8. ^ RAF Museum
  9. ^ Report of the Public Inquiry into the causes and circumstances of the accident which occurred on the 10 January, 1954, to the Comet aircraft G-ALYP, Part XI (a. 69)
  • Avrane, A. Sud Est Caravelle. London: Jane's Publishing, 1981. ISBN 0-7106-0044-5.
  • Davies, R.E.G. and Birtles, Philip J. Comet: The World's First Jet Airliner. McLean, Virginia: Paladwr Press, 1999. ISBN 1-888962-14-3.
  • Jackson, A.J. British Civil Aircraft 1919-1972: Volume II. London: Putnam (Conway Maritime Press), 1988. ISBN 0-85177-813-5.
  • Walker, Timothy. The First Jet Airliner: The Story of the de Havilland Comet. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK: Scoval Publishing Ltd., 2000. ISBN 1-902236-05-X.
  • Winchester, Jim (ed.). "De Havilland DH.106 Comet." Civil Aircraft (The Aviation Factfile). London: Grange Books plc, 2004. ISBN 1-85013-642-1.
  • Withun, Bill. "Triumph, Tragedy and Triumph Again... the Comet Story." Air Classics Airliner Special No. 2, Summer 1976.

External links

Related content

Related development

Comparable aircraft

  • Tupolev Tu-104

Designation sequence

Related lists

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
De Havilland Comet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2168 words)
That Geoffrey de Havilland, head of the de Havilland company, was on the committee and de Havilland were working on jet fighters for the RAF was not unrelated.
Comet 4C (Registration G-BDIW) in the colours of Dan-Air is on display at the Flugausstellung Leo Junior at Hermeskeil in Germany.
Comet 4C (Registration G-BDIX) in the colours of Dan-Air is on display at the Museum of Flight at East Lothian in Scotland.
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