Trains, Boats & Planes | 5 August 2015The de Havilland Comet Share article facebook twitter google pinterest This is the story of a shiny silver British bird that brought about an adventurous leap forward in aviation… as well as a series of supreme tragedies. Read about it in the excerpt below, taken from 365 Aircraft You Must Fly, by Robert F. Dorr. The clean, beautiful de Havilland Comet took to the air a month before Canada’s Avro C-102 Jetliner and became the world’s first production jet passenger aircraft. The Comet’s air-conditioned, fully pressurized cabin provided passengers with a quiet, smooth ride previously unheard of in commercial aviation. Sadly, first-generation Comets suffered major losses in well-publicized accidents caused by structural issues. The Comet crashes of the 1950s include a crash during takeoff in Calcutta, India killing 11 people (1953), a crash off the Mediterranean island of Elba killing 35 people (1954), and a crash en route from Rome to Joannesburg killing 14 people (1954). In this clip, you can see the Comet. The Comet design was not rendered fully reliable until the Comet 4 model introduced in 1958. Late generation Comets achieved some success on commercial air routes and inspired the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod maritime reconnaissance aircraft. Lessons from the rigorous investigations of early Comet mishaps are credited with enabling future jets such as the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 to operate safely. Engines: 4 de Havilland Halford H.2 Ghost 50 turbojet engines (Comet 1) Thrust: 5,000 lb. each Maximum speed: 473 mph Wingspan: 115 ft. (all models) A few facts about the Comet: First flight: July 27, 1949 Capacity: 36 to 44 passengers (Comet 1); up to 81 passengers (Comet 4) Won several industrial design awards Faster than some fighters then in service 365 Aircraft You Must Fly: The most sublime, weird, and outrageous aircraft from the past 100+ years … How many do you want to fly? Author: Robert F. Dorr A fascinating, entertaining, and amusing plane-by-plane journey through aviation history. Aviation has come a long way since the Wright Brothers built their glider in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903. From among the thousands of different types of military and commercial aircraft constructed over the past 100 years , aviation expert Robert F. Dorr profiles the most important, fascinating, and famous aircraft ever made. Your opinions might differ, but you wouldn’t want to miss out on the planes Dorr identifies as flights of a lifetime. The book covers 365 of the most iconic aircraft in world history that enthusiasts, serious-minded hobbyists, and casual fans would love to fly if given the chance. Clear photography, historical context, and specs get you as close as possible to these planes without setting foot in a hangar. While covering every era of aviation history, many of the planes in 365 Aircraft You Must Fly were flown during World War II, a time unmatched in aviation for its technological advances, romance, and clarity of purpose. During this golden age of flying, propellers gave way to jet engines, and the “Greatest Generation” fought gallantly in them. Explore the history, thrills, and joy of flying the world’s most amazing 365 aircraft. Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: In The UK: Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.