wgw2707
Posts: 1110
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 10:37 am

What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 9:24 am

Unfortunately, many of us have not had the opportunity to fly on the legendary De Havilland Comet, the world's first commercial jetliner. For those of you who have enjoyed that privilege, I am curious, what was the Comet like? I imagine the vast majority of those of you fortunate to fly on the Comet flew the Comet 4 series as opposed to the ill-fated original version (with the deadly rectangular windows), however, if any of you were fortunate to have seen or flown on the original Comet 1 and 2, it would be very interesting to hear what your experiences were also. Finally, if there are any pilots on this forum who flew Comets in their professional capacity, it would be very interesting to hear your opinion of the aircraft.



View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mel Lawrence


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Don Boyd


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Lars Söderström




-WGW
 
User avatar
mariner
Posts: 18090
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2001 7:29 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 10:15 am

The problem is, compared with what?

At that time, BOAC had Stratocruisers, Constellations, Argonauts and Hermes in the fleet. Because my father worked for BOAC in the Middle East, we used to fly regularly, usually on the Hermes or the Argonaut.

From a passenger point of view, the Hermes was the better plane, although the Argonaut had a small, six seat lounge at the back.

Then I flew on the Comet 1, and it was amazing. It was quiet. It was fast. There wasn't that constant drone in your ears that could, after a long flight, give you a headache. There was no vibration (or very little). In the hot Middle Eastern summers, that vibration and the noise and the heat could make you sick. That's when people really did use barf bags a lot. I did at least once.

But I was about twelve at the time, and I can remember the buzz of excitement about flying the Comet, and the sense that this was something so much better than the prop planes.

The service was impeccable. There was no Y class, because that hardly existed then, so everything was first class. But even then, on board catering was not what it is today. I remember eating cold chicken and salad.

So if you put the Comet up against the modern jets, I would think it would feel pretty ancient. Take a look at the photo of the seats and remember that this was first class.

But then it felt wonderful.

cheers

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
wgw2707
Posts: 1110
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 10:37 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 10:30 am

Mariner, I must thankyou for your reply, that was very interesting. It must have been extremely unpleasant flying under certain conditions back then, and the Comet must have seemed like a breath of fresh air.

Btw, I did not intend for this post to be a comparison of the Comet against other jetliner types, as such a comparison would lean towards irrelevancy, similiar perhaps to comparing the DC3 with the Saab 2000. The intent of this post was to encourgae those fortunate enough to fly on the Comet to recount their experiences about this fascinating pioneer of commercial jet aviation.

-WGW
 
IslandHopper
Posts: 309
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2003 8:28 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 10:49 am

Mariner...Wow, you flew on a Comet Mk 1? Thank God you survived a trip on that deathtrap! Of the nine Mk 1s built FIVE of them crashed!!! Not good enough odds for me, thanks.

Must have been quite an exciting ride nonetheless. I would love to have flown a Mk 4, after they had gotten the bugs worked out.
 
User avatar
mariner
Posts: 18090
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2001 7:29 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 11:01 am

IslandHopper:

Remember that crashed were more common then and we didn't know what the Comet's future was going to be. It was just exciting. We lived in Jordan at the time (my father worked there) and we had been on leave to the UK, which is how I flew the Comet.

We came back on an Argonaut to Beirut, and a DH 9 (Dragon Rapide) to Amman. Soon after we got back, there was news of the first Comet crash, and I remember my mother weeping at the news (my mother wept at most news, good or bad).

She kept saying "what if we'd been on it?" But we weren't.

The first King Abdullah of Jordan was going to Jerusalem to pray at the mosque. His security people had news of an assassination plot, and tried to persuade him not to go. He said:

"Until my day comes, no one need guard me. When my day comes, no one can save me."

I live by that. I'll try pretty much anything (unless it's really stupid), and I've had a lot of good adventures.

cheers

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
flybynight
Posts: 1131
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2003 1:58 pm

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 11:20 am

I was a just small kid in Norway when SAS used the Comet. I still think it is one of the best looking jet of all times.
Check-out this picture. Using a parachute to slow it down on the shor Fornebu runway in Oslo

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jan Olav Martinsen

Heia Norge!
 
flybynight
Posts: 1131
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2003 1:58 pm

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 11:21 am

Oops, sorrry, I got my singles crossed. Thought you were talking about the Caravelle. My bad. Still a cool picture!
Heia Norge!
 
CV990
Posts: 4224
Joined: Sat May 22, 1999 3:49 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 11:37 am


Hi!

This is an excelent topic, the Comet will always be THE FIRST to do it, it was not the best, but the pioneering years gave us the chance to fly jets safely, so I bow my head to all those that sacrificed their lives and their time to give us a great ride when we fly in those high skies!
I never flew on a Comet, but I consider myself a lucky guy because I actually visit one of them still in airworthy condition and I saw some of them landing, taking-off, taxing, starting and stopping their engines.
Comet during the 70'd and early 80's was imediately connected to DAN AIR LONDON, those guys loved the Comet..... you could see the Comet all over Europe during many years. I'm portuguese and I remember vividly seeing DAN AIR LONDON Comets arriving at LIS. LIS sometimes was quite boring for spotters but I tell you... everytime we saw a Comet that would make our day. In 1980 I was working in a catering company and we received a call that we needed to assist a DAN AIR Comet 4C, for the first ( and only ) time in my life I jumped over the stairs to came inside that great classic airliner. The F/A wanted a dozen cokes and 3 lemons, we got her request and then she asked me to cut the lemon in slices, I off course did it ( she was a pretty british F/A... ) with a plastic knife and after that she gave me 2 packs of Marlboro and a permition to visit the Comet cockpit, that was my prize!
That's why I will never forget the Comet!
regards
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
 
POSITIVE RATE
Posts: 2121
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2001 11:31 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 11:58 am

I read Air disaster volume one and the comet Mk 1 crashes. Apparently a lot of people who flew on the Comet MK1 reported a "cobblestone" sensation. The plane would vibrate and buffet at high speed. You're lucky you survived though because over half of the Mk1's built crashed- a lot of them breaking apart in mid-air.
 
User avatar
mariner
Posts: 18090
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2001 7:29 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 12:10 pm

Positive rate:

The critical crashes, as opposed to couple of minor ones, all broke apart in mid-air. The thing that alerted everyone was that the planes crashed at a similiar number of flying hours.

If you already know this, there may be others that don't. They managed to get the plane off the sea bed at Elba, and reassembled it. Then they did a series of tests with a Comet in a water tank and simulated flying. They discovered that the crashes were caused by metal fatigue, the plane tore apart.

This was important information for the future of jet travel.

There's an interesting novel by Nevil Shute called "No Highway" which dealt with metal fatigue, on a fictitous plane. It's a pretty good read.

But without doing any research I'm surprised at your statement that "over half of the Mk 1's built crashed." I didn't think it was that many.

I seem to remember two BOAC crashes and - I think - one Air France, but that might have been another BOAC too. Then the Comet was grounded.

But hey, I've been wrong before and I'm sure I'll be wrong again.

cheers

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
wgw2707
Posts: 1110
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 10:37 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 12:47 pm

Flybynight, I recently read somewhere that the Caravelle actually bought a license to use the Comet's nose design, accounting for the similiarity in appearance between the two jetliners. Sort of a mid 1950s version of the DC8/DC9 commonality or the 707/720/727/737 commonality.

-WGW
 
GDB
Posts: 12652
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 7:11 pm

Great topic with some fascinating insights.
Sometimes you pay a price for being first, Comet 1 was a good example of that, very valuable lessons were learned.

Want to know why the next big quantum leap in air travel, Concorde, took so long to develop, why it was the most extensively tested airliner ever built?
Look no further than the Comet.

It is common for people to speculate what would have happened if the Comet 1 had not failed.
I think things would not have been too different to how they turned out, the project that would become the 707 was already underway, it had the advantage of being developed on the back of a massive USAF tanker contract, (the KC-135), which meant that production costs and output would have been much better.
As it was the Comet 1 and 2s were built in cottage industry conditions, plans were underway to produce some at Chester and Belfast as well as Hatfield to meet the expected demand.
In the end, the 707 and DC-8 would have appeared and overtaken the Comet, but they were probably much safer as a result of the investigation of the Comet 1 losses, then by far the most extensive crash investigation ever.

That the Comet was built at all, in a nation still shattered economically and physically from WW2, was pretty micraculous.

 
POSITIVE RATE
Posts: 2121
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2001 11:31 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 7:18 pm

There was also a Canadian Pacific Comet involved in a takeoff accident in which all the crew perished. From memory BOAC lost 3 comets.
 
suspen
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 11:01 pm

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 7:59 pm

What was so deadly about the rectangular windows?
Tower: "Cessna xxxx, state your intentions", Cessna: "To become airline pilot"
 
Vimanav
Posts: 1439
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 4:33 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 10:25 pm

There were a total of 7 Comet 1 crashes or accidents whereby the aircraft was a write-off:

These are:

26OCT52 DH-106 Comet G-ALYZ BOAC, Italy
03MAR53 DH-106 Comet CF-CUN Canadian Pacific, Pakistan
02MAY53 DH-106 Comet G-ALYV BOAC, India
25JUN53 DH-106 Comet F-BGSC UAT,Senegal
25JUL53 DH-106 Comet G-ALYR BOAC, India
10JAN54 DH-106 Comet G-ALYP BOAC, Italy
08APR54 DH-106 Comet G-ALYY SAA, Italy

As you can see BOAC lost 4. Interestingly both the accidents in India were in or near Calcutta and did not have anything to do with metal fatigue. The first was apparently due to fuel vapor getting ignited while flying near a thunderstorm and the second was a ground accident due to crew error. Aircraft was written off after extensive damage due to gear collapse.

Apart from the above, 17 other Comets of various marques met with accidents/hostile action which caused the aircraft to be destroyed or written off.

Overall however, the Comets must be given due credit for being pioneers of the jet age.

rgds//Vimanav
Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
 
MD80Nut
Posts: 972
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 6:43 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 11:12 pm

While I never flew on the Comet, I've always admired the aircraft and recognized it's important place in aviation history. It was a remarkable leap forward in technology and the lessons learned at such a high cost from the accidents played an important role in making jet travel safe.

My father flew on BEA's Comets in the 60s during a trip to Europe and told me it was a great aircraft, though he said he found it a bit cramped compared to the 707s and DC-8s he was used to. Nevertheless, he said it was a smooth flying aircraft and really enjoyed it. My only experience with the Comet was seeing Mexicana's flying about a couple of times.

No matter how you look at it, the Comet will always be the first!
Fly Douglas Jets DC-8 / DC-9 / DC-10 / MD80 / MD11 / MD90 / 717
 
Greg
Posts: 5539
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 1:11 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 11:12 pm

Interesting note...to reduce development costs, the Caravelle used the nose section (Section 41 as Boeing would call it) from the Comet.
 
Leej
Posts: 291
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2001 10:39 pm

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 11:16 pm

My first flight was on a Dan-Air Comet - 1971!!! Gatwick to Rimini, Italy for 2 weeks of sunshine.
I was only 3 at the time, so of course I don't remember it, although I do remember getting lost on the beach!
 
Skymonster
Posts: 3428
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2001 7:53 pm

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Wed Aug 20, 2003 11:43 pm

My only Comet flights were:

16-FEB-78 G-APYD Comet 4b Dan Air LGW-VCE
01-MAR-78 G-BDIV Comet C4 Dan Air NAP-LGW

Its all a while ago now, of course, but I remember the cabins still had the open racks above the seats rather than closing bins. The cabin was noisier than most modern jets, particularly as we were sat over the wings, probably because the engines were so close in - especially noticable compared to the 707 I'd flown on previously was the noise at startup, where the engines were very noticable as they wound up to idle power. Both Comets climbed like rockets but I recall a significant sink during the climb when the barn-door sized flaps were retracted in stages. Only other thing I recall was when landing in a very wet VCE there were sparks showering out of the over-wing reverser exhaust ports. The C4 we flew NAP-LGW on was a former RAF bird, and underneath the Dan Air livery on the rear fuselage it was possible to clearly see where the RAF roundel had been painted over.

India Victor was cut up in the end, but Yankee Delta lives on in the Science Musuem's collection at Wroughton - I've seen her a few times since I flew on her, and she still looks as graceful as ever!

Andy
There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots
 
User avatar
Aaron747
Posts: 8524
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2003 2:07 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 12:36 am

Not only were the Comets trailblazers technologically, but their crashes put a whole new spin on accident investigation - the loss of 'Yoke Peter' especially.

The 'cobblestone' effect mentioned was well-documented. Correcting aerodynamic flaws at like buffeting at high subsonic speeds have been a crucial part of any flight test program ever since.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
fanofjets
Posts: 1977
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2000 2:26 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 2:17 am

I flew on a Comet in the late 1960s, when I was about 8. I wish I remembered more about the flight; I believe it was an Olympic Airways flight from Paris to Athens, but even that I am not sure of. I recall sitting in the seats that face each other, located in the front of the cabin, railroad style. I recall not being able to see over the table between us and the facing seats. The narrow door to the cockpit was open. Unusual aircraft, to say the least.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mel Lawrence

The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
 
Trident
Posts: 477
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2000 4:49 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 3:30 am

I never had the opportunity to fly in one but I have been on board the preserved example at Duxford. What strikes you (almost literally) is how small the cabin is. Even I, at 5ft 6 ins had to duck entering through the passenger door.

De Havilland bit off rather more than they could chew when going ahead with the Comet. They had never built a fully pressurised aircraft before and the only jet experience they had was with the diminutive Vampire fighter. Because the original De Havilland Ghost engines were so low on power, preventing weight escalation was a prime concern of the design team. As a result, De Havilland probably used too thin a gauge aluminium in the aircraft skin. Using rectangular appertures for door, windows and radio aerials did not help and the final straw was deliberately omitting corner strengtheners in those apertures, again to save weight. They totally underestimated the fatigue effect of using rectangular apertures and totally misunderstood how vital corner strengtheners would be.
It is noticeable that the other British pressurised airliner being designed at the same time, the Vickers Viscount, had large oval windows and even doors (on the Series 700s).

I don't think many of the findings of the investigation into the Comet depressurisations fed through to other manufacturers. I think those other manufacturers just did their homework better than De Havilland had done. How many 707s burst apart in mid air due to structural failure after less than two years' flying?
 
vc10
Posts: 1339
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2001 4:13 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:50 am

Please tell me if I am wrong, but didn't the B707 have square passenger windows with rounded corners , just like the original Comet. Also the Comet 1 was designed with window aperture strengtheners, however the design of these was altered during production due to difficulties with their fitting to the fuselage. So I understand, the alteration was done on the shop floor without the design office knowledge. I do not think De Havilland built all it's previous aircraft without knowing about fatigue. One thing that came from the Comet inquiry was the fitting of tear stopper strips to aircraft so that if a failure dues occur the size of the failure should be limited

Regards little vc10
 
RIX
Posts: 1589
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2000 4:46 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 5:04 am

"I don't think many of the findings of the investigation into the Comet depressurisations fed through to other manufacturers. I think those other manufacturers just did their homework better than De Havilland had done. " - may be, but, at least, they knew what the homework was about.

Great "flight stories" by Mariner and Skymonster. WGW2707, thank you for starting the topic...
 
Trident
Posts: 477
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2000 4:49 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 5:17 am

But the "homework" was based on what THEY had learned from their own experiences, not De Havilland's. In fact, De Havilland DID have a history of structural problems with their aircraft going back to the 1930s. The Albatross airliner and the Mosquito had serious problems with defective glues etc causing aircraft to come apart. I just don't think they had enough in-house expertise in the areas they were embarking on with the Comet. They even ignored recommendations from the RAE at Farnborough.

As others have pointed out, there is nothing wrong with square or rectangular windows. In fact, they are now the norm on airliners. They just need to be designed properly. De havilland took a gamble and it didn't pay off. If these accidents had happened in more modern times, the company would have been sued into oblivion.
 
wgw2707
Posts: 1110
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 10:37 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 5:33 am

A brief note regarding an above post:

"There's an interesting novel by Nevil Shute called "No Highway" which dealt with metal fatigue, on a fictitous plane. It's a pretty good read."

That novel was made into the film "No Highway In The Sky" starring Jimmy Stewart and is a must-see for aviation enthusiasts. The cockpit of the fictional aircraft has wood panelling.  Smile

-WGW
 
Trident
Posts: 477
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2000 4:49 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 6:13 am

Neville Shute Norway (to give him his full name) was a stress engineer with Vickers and worked alongside Barnes Wallis in the design of the airship R100. Vickers, of course, were the British experts in pressurised fuselages having built high altitude pressurised Wellingtons and Spitfires during the war. They had no pressurisation problems (or serious structural problems of any kind) with their Viscount.
 
User avatar
mariner
Posts: 18090
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2001 7:29 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 6:13 am

WGW2707:

Nevil Shute, who wrote "No Highway" was an aircraft engineer who turned to writing novels. His most famous books are "On The Beach" and "A Town Like Alice".

But he wrote a couple of others that are all about aircraft and airlines, in particular "Round The Bend".

It deals with a young English pilot who goes to the Middle East after World War 2 and starts his own small airline with one plane. The airline grows partly because of an engineer called Connie Shaklin, who becomes a mystic.

During the course of the book they travel to Bali and Vietnam and it's a great picture of what those places were like then.

Enjoy.

cheers

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
Trident
Posts: 477
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2000 4:49 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 6:42 am

His autobiography, "Slide Rule", is also worth reading.
 
Slcpilot
Posts: 562
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2003 3:32 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 6:47 am

Mariner & Trident,

Since you seem to be familiar with Neville Shute's novel and movie, I'll ask you..

The tail of the Reindeer looks unlike any I've seen, and seems to be a movie prop in the Jimmy Stewart flick, but the scenes that show the engine nacelles look a little more "real" to me. Are they from an actual aircraft? I have always thought they looked a little like this...

http://www.air-and-space.com/Republic%20XF-12.htm

but I don't have the movie on hand to check. Do you have any ideas on the subject or comment?

The movie should be required viewing for engineering students...

Thanks!

SLCPilot
I don't like to be fueled by anger, I don't like to be fooled by lust...
 
diesel1
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2001 9:11 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:00 am

Good topic.

Wish I could remember more about my flights on Dan Air Comet's - must have flown on them a few times (2 returns?) , probably both LGW-MAH

Certainly the first time was a little while after Court Line had failed. We had been due to travel Court Line, but instead we ended up on Dan Air Comet - I wasn't really interested in airlines and airacraft at that stage of my life - too young! - what I do remember is a ramp full of Dan Air aircraft at MAH on the way home

For my other Comet flight I remember more - like Skymonster I can remember the sight of the RAF paint under the DA c/s. I can remember overhead racks (not bins like today) and a curtain to the flight deck - on what seemed like a steep climb out the cockpit was clearly visible.
Strange as it seems I also remember talking to my father about what would happen to the Comet when retired - he thought a career in South America - sadly not true as the majority ended up in the scrapyards of the UK

On reflection I think that that particular flight opened my eyes to the world of aviation - may be the Comet is why I enjoy aviation so much.

Thanks De Havilland...!
I don't like signatures...
 
Trident
Posts: 477
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2000 4:49 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:16 am

It's many years since I've seen the film "No Highway in the Sky" so I can't remember much about it - apart from the fact that it starred Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietriche. I always though that the 'plane used was totally ficticous and props and models were used. I'll have to do s web search and see what I can come up with.
 
richierich
Posts: 3282
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2000 5:49 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:19 am

The Comet was a remarkable plane that was also a pioneer. Had the metal fatigue crashes not occurred (BOAC lost 2 to metal fatigue; I believe another was written-off after a hard landing), airliner history might be very different.

As it was, the Comet 4 was an aircraft that handled itself very well versus the 707 from an economic perspective. Fuel costs were about the same as was passenger comfort. The problem was the stigma related to the metal fatigue accidents.. the Boeing 707 had the immediate backing of the US airlines and was perceived to be more modern (by about 6 years).

It is interesting to note that after the metal fatigue tragedies, I do not believe the Comet was involved in any more fatal crashes that were attributed to mechanical fault or defect. Not a bad record, one the 707 cannot claim. There were obviously a lot more 707s in service throughout the world, however. The Comet one of the great airliners of all time; as much can be learned from its initial failure as from its ultimate success.

To me, if you look at the 10 most influential airliners of all time, you have to include both the 707 and the Comet. Period. But that's another thread.

None shall pass!!!!
 
luisinho
Posts: 205
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2000 12:28 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 8:10 am

This is a very important topic for me...  Big thumbs up

hii folks... how are everybody?

Well the comet was the pioneer, well, during the period of the III Reich, Adolf Hitler developed some jet fighters, beeing the most sucessful the Messerschmidt BF262. It entered on american bomber formations and shooted cannon and light fire, shoting everyplane.

The British were not far away, reserching about jets and they tested the Gloster Meteor. Sir Geoffrey De Havilland Was obcessed with the supersonic flight and he bilt the DH104 Experimental that achieved Mach 1.3

When jets looked like the future... Sir Geoffrey De Havilland was very commited to create the first ever jet airliner... the DH106 Comet.

This jet should be able to fly more then 2000Km and fly near 800 Km/h

To to this, a problem of matallurgy needed to be solved, the comet must be lighter, so a new league of alluminium must be created. The comet fusalage was assembled with a complete new technic, some areas were glued insted of revited, with a special glue.

The engines were made by DeHavilland (model Ghost 50) to the Mk. I series.
The comet of 36 places was a complete sucess on begining, but some mysterious accidents halted the comets.

After a long reserach directed by Mr. Cunnigham (CAT EYES) at HATFIELD, with water tanks to simulate flying at 10 000 m, and the recovery of Comet "Yoke Zebra" crashed near Elba Island, they discovered fatigue on the metal of wings near engines junction and.... the great mystery of them all, on top fuselage there were two skylights, made in fiberglass, and 15 cm of baddly placed revits. The revits are to much near the edge of the skylights, and the quality of revits were doubtfull. Two comets in Water tank opened like sardine cans!!!!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

So they had to improve, and they made the Comet 4, (pay antention, comet 4 not Mk.4, they called it 4, and placed a big yellow 4 near cockpit windows on BOAC livery).


The comet 4 was the first jet transatlantic, but unfortunately, the range of comet 4 and reduced capacity relative to 707 didn't helped, the comets on westbounds needed to stop in gander for refuel because of the winds, and eastbounds... no problem... nonstop ... New york - London.

From the Comet 4, they made 2 versions, the comet 4B, that was a longer fuselage of Comet 4 but without wing external tanks, used for short range.
The comet 4C was an improved version of Comet 4B (same fuselage) but with external tanks on wings like comet 4.

Comet 4B picture:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Erik Frikke



Comet 4C picture: - Notice that is like the 4B but with wing tanks

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Eduard Marmet



The comet was a great aircraft, and it was a pioneer, the first, so we have to forgive the problems and mistakes of the I and II versions... they really were breaking new ground.

Comet 4 had 22 years of active life and today it still flyes as Comet Nimrod R-1, military version.

See photos!!!


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Pedro Aragão



View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Pedro Aragão



i hope you enjoy my post...  Big thumbs up sorry if it is to long!


 
User avatar
mariner
Posts: 18090
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2001 7:29 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Thu Aug 21, 2003 8:39 am

SLCPilot:

Trident may come up with better research, but from memory - it's a long time ago - all the aircraft stuff in "No Highway In The Sky" was mock-up, models and portions of the aircraft built in the studio.

There may have been a couple of shots of actual aircraft engines - can't recall.

cheers

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
RIX
Posts: 1589
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2000 4:46 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Fri Aug 22, 2003 12:12 am

Luisinho, AFAIK, Me262 was not that success. There were more than 1000 of them built (plus some other jet fighter types), but they totally failed to make any difference. Allies lost 3 aircraft for every 2 Me262 shot down - meaning, the jets definitely had advantage but not such great as you described. Some of German jets appeared against Soviet fighters, and the Soviets, too, managed to shoot them down.
 
luisinho
Posts: 205
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2000 12:28 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Fri Aug 22, 2003 2:38 am

The problems of Me262 relative unsucess was on takeoffs or landings, but that was the problem of all jet fighters that time.

As you know, the first jet aircraft were to much vulnerable on take offs then conventional prop fighters, and the majority of 262 were shoted in that period of flight by enemy fire. Other problem is that the 262 arrived to much late and not in enough quantities to save the III reich. Also the pilot formation was another problem, to short time.

Some jets like Dornier Arado Blitz and some other jets tried to save Hitler Reich, but they arrived to late... thanks god.  Big grin, the war was already decided.

I talked about the 262 just to give the ideia that the germans, before the british were on the leading for jet engine research. Some of the Nazi investigators in those areas went to Great Britain, and i'm not admired if some nazi scientists cooperated in comet project... just like Werner Von Braun, the engineer of V1 and V2 flying bombs; he cooperated in USA space program builiding rockets for space conquest.

So... i don't admire if the De Havilland Comet project was supported by german scientists... they were on the leading that time.

My personal favourite was professor Kurt Tank!
 
Trident
Posts: 477
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2000 4:49 am

RE: What Was The Comet Like?

Fri Aug 22, 2003 2:52 am

No Germans were involved in the Comet. The British cocked it up all by themselves.

Von Braun was not involved with the V1 "cruise missile" programme. That was a Luftwaffe project built by Fieseler. Von Braun was with the Army missile team.

The Americans made far more use of German transonic research data than the British did (partly because of the British atitude that "there is nothing Johnny Foreigner can teach us"). However, even Boeing were part way to arriving at a sweepback configuration for the Boeing B-47 BEFORE they had access to German data.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: 57echo, airtechy, atypical, Baidu [Spider], blacksoviet, CM767, CX Flyboy, flydia, Google [Bot], gregn21, Heavierthanair, hoons90, jimbo737, qf789, tmiw, United1, Ytraveller and 225 guests