De Havilland COMET section Comet history The history of the first jet airliner
Comet variants From the 1st prototype to the Mk5
De Havilland COMET section Comet crashes Summary of all crashes & incidents
Accident reports Several Comet accidents reports
Picture gallery Picture collection of various Comet's
Comet flight 2002 Celebrate 50 years of jet service
Technical data Summary of all the Comet data

Featured Geocities site
since 27-Feb-98.

Comet production Comet data frame by frame
The Seattle Comet Restoration of the sole US Comet

[ Main Comet page ]

Canopus XS235 The last active Comet

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Hear a Comet Canopus sound recorded live

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The Comet list Mailing list about the Comet
Comet links Comet's in the www
Comet literature A list of Comet books and articles
Martin's Comet site Sister site by Martin Painter

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Dedication

These pages are dedicated to the people who designed, engineered, constructed, supported, flew and maintained the DH 106 Comet aircraft. A special thought goes to all people who were killed on board of the first commercial jet-aircraft.

comet@egroups.com: The Comet discussion forum

Description: The de Havilland Comet discussion forum is focussed on discussing all items linked to the first ever commercial jet.

Rules:

  1. New members need to be approved by the moderator - dh-comet-owner@egroups.com - and will have to motivate their request by mail.
  2. New members are put under moderation.
  3. When judged appropriate by the moderator, new members can post directly to the list.
  4. New members have to introduce themselves.
  5. Postings are transmitted to dh-comet@egroups.com and will be directly distributed to the members and posted on the comet website.
  6. The list can be read on the web, but members receive in addition either individual e-mails or daily digests.
  7. Attachments are not allowed but can be put in the vault.
  8. Quoted text should be limited to what makes sense. Messages bigger than 20k should be avoided.
  9. Off-topic postings have to be identified with the 'OT' label and should be *very* limited.
  10. Personal fights and graphic language are not tolerated and will have as consequence the exclusion.
  11. Members who won't respect the rules will be put under moderation. If no improvement is seen they will be excluded.
  12. To unsubscribe, send a blank - no header or text - e-mail to: dh-comet-unsubscribe@egroups.com or ask the moderator at dh-comet-owner@egroups.com.

List moderator is Marc Schaeffer. The comet list is hosted by FindMail's http://www.eGroups.com.

To subscribe to the de Havilland Comet discussion forum, enter your e-mail address: Please expect a 48 hr delay for approval.

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http://surf.to/comet: Comet flight 2002

Introduction

Comet Mk1 G-ALYP leaves LHR for the first jet-flight The purpose of this section relates to an organizational endeavor to commemorate an upcoming and important event in the history of commercial aviation. On 2 May 1952, the World's first scheduled service by Jet Airliner commenced with the departure from London's Heathrow Airport by deHavilland DH-106 Comet Mk 1, registered G-ALYP, and operated by British Airways predecessor company British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). Enroute to Johannesburg, South Africa, the service stopped at Rome, Beirut, Khartoum, Entebbe and Livingstone. Photo Credit: British Airways.

2 May 2002 marks the 50th Anniversary of this historical event which revolutionized air travel, shrinking air travel time by nearly 50%. While the rest of the world looked on, and the queue began to form at deHavilland's plant at Hatfield, BOAC and deHavillands took ownership of the future of air transport.

Early on, however, the first series Comet jets were beset by a series of catastrophic losses due to structural failure which was not fully understood at the time. Comet G-ALYP, which operated the first scheduled jet service, was among the early casualties, having crashed near the island of Elba off the coast of Italy on 10 January 1954.

All aircraft of the Mk 1 and 1A series were withdrawn from service in 1955 with most of these airframes having been subsequently scrapped. Four of the 1A series, however, were modified to permit a return to limited service in 1957. These aircraft, modified to 1XB standard, included two airframes originally delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force and two delivered to Air France.

Of these, the two RCAF Comets were retired in the mid 1960s with one having been sold and ultimately scrapped. The other was scrapped save for the nose which was preserved at the RCAF museum near Ottawa. Of the total of three Comet 1A aircraft originally delivered to Air France, F-BGNY was re-registered G-AOJT following modification, was retired in the mid 1960s and ended its days at Stansted as a fire training unit having been burnt in 1970. F-BGNX was never modified to Mk 1XB standard as it was supposed to undergo the water tank tests. Only the fuselage remains today with its original rectangular windows and still wearing its original but faded Air France livery at the (deHavilland) Mosquito Museum near London.

Frame 6022, G-APAS, ex-Air France F-BGNZ, exists as the only surviving and in-tact example of a deHavilland Ghost-powered Comet 1 series aircraft. Converted to Mk 1XB in March, 1957, the aircraft was reregistered XM823 and subsequently as G-APAS; its final flight was made on 8 April 1968 and the aircraft was thereafter retired. Currently residing at the Aerospace Museum at Cosford, near Shifnal in Shropshire, England, "Alpha Sierra" appears to have been remarkably well preserved albeit in open air storage for more than thirty years!

Picture of G-APAS

Comet 1XB G-APAS at Cosford museum Picture of Comet 1XB G-APAS at Cosford museum, dated Sep-98 taken by Marc Schaeffer. More pictures of Comet G-APAS can be seen in this section.

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http://surf.to/comet: Comet Canopus XS235

The last Comet

Comet XS235 is the last nearly airworthy Comet. It is stored at Bruntingthorpe Airfield and is in a pretty good shape. Taxi runs are performed every 28 days. There are projects to get Canopus back to the air, more about this will follow, as the major decision should be taken at the beginning of December '98. Pictures of Comet XS235 can be seen on this site.

Hear a Comet

The present sound was recorded during taxi trials with Comet XS235 Canopus at Bruntingthorpe on 20-Sep-98. The recording starts while Canopus is located 300 meters upwards on the taxi way. The recording stops after that Canopus has passed the microphone by 150 meters. File size is 647 Kb and download time is 3 minutes at 3.3K/s. Hear Comet XS-235 now.

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http://surf.to/comet: The Seattle Comet

Comet Mk4C - 6424

Following is a section describing the history and the work covering the sole 'US Comet' frame 6424 which is currently undergoing restoration in Seattle. The text of this section has been written by Bob Hood.

The first Comet Mk 4C - History and restoration

Pat Fillingham flew C/N 6424 G-AOVU, the first Mk4C, on October 31, 1959. After about 87 hours of certification flights, it became Mexicana's first jet airliner. It inaugurated 'Golden Aztec' service between Mexico City and Los Angeles on July 4th, 1960.

XA-NAR served Mexicana routes from 1960 to 1970. From 1970 to 1972, it was kept in reserve for the occasional charter. In 1972, it was sold to Westernair of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who reregistered it as N888WA. It remained at Mexico City for the following two years, undergoing a complete upgrade, which included a new paint job and a reupholstered interior. Westernair planned to sell it and its sister ship to a large corporation in Europe. Ironically, the purchase negotiations took place in Geneva, Switzerland at the same time OPEC was having its organizing meetings across town. The OPEC meeting agreements triggered the Arab oil crises of 1974, which led to a five-fold increase in the price of jet fuel. The rest, as they say, is history: the value of many smaller jets, including the relatively thirsty Comets, was slashed and the sale fell apart. The refurbished Comets were left at Mexico City until another buyer could be found.

A subscription-club airline in Redmond, Washington, Redmond Air, bought our ship in 1978 and had it ferried to Salt Lake City to upgrade its electronics to current US standards. After a year; in July 1979, N888WA was ferried to Everett, Washington. It had accumulated a total of 27,065 hours of flight time.

It was grounded by the FAA at Paine Field with the insistence that all of the maintenance done in the 18 years since leaving the De Havilland factory would have to be re-inspected and signed off. Alternatively, it could be ferried to Dan Air at Lasham in the UK, to be re-certified to like-new standards. Since meeting either of these requirements would cost many times the value of the ship, it was left essentially derelict at Paine Field.

In 1984, title was transferred to the Everett Community College's Aviation Maintenance Technician School. Its exterior, which by that time was in very poor condition, was painted in BOAC livery by Boeing paint shop volunteers.

Unfortunately, nothing was done to protect the interior, and the aircraft was left outside with standing water in the hull for the following years. The climate in Everett is very similar to Southern England, with high background moisture, and a slight salt content from the adjacent Puget Sound. Sadly, the only attention this historic aircraft received was from Paine Field Firefighters, who occasionally practiced their techniques by blowing high-pressure water through the engines and into the cabin emergency exits.

The Seattle Museum of Flight was given title to the Comet in 1994, and it was towed to the Museum's Restoration Facility in 1995.

The restoration

Restoration began at the end of 1995. We found an airplane that had been derelict for 17 years, closed up with standing water in the hull and with very advanced corrosion everywhere.

The air inside was so foul that we could only stay in it for ten minutes before we had to leave to get a breath of fresh air. Everything was covered with a heavy slime film.

This presented a formidable challenge, since we were planning to bring this large (96 passenger) aircraft back to museum static display standards. When finished, we will have a ship that looks as it did when it first flew in 1959. It will show Museum visitors what it was like to board the world's first jet airliner. Further, it will also be able to function as a passenger flight simulator, with accurate reproduction of the sounds and hull vibrations using flight simulator electronic actuators. (The actuators will be driven by audio/mechanical recordings taken on Canopus about a year before it was ferried to Bruntingthorpe.)

Our work has benefited from the generous encouragement of many individuals in the UK. Philip Birtles of the deHavilland Aircraft Museum Trust, Ltd., and Nick Newton of the Ministry of Defence at Boscombe Down, plus many of their associates have given our project vital support. Mexicana Comet Information has been supplied by Capt. Jorge Garcia Bencomo, whose father flew XA-NAS ship for many hours. Also, many aircraft suppliers have contributed materials and information. Further, access to British Aerospace archives for accurate historical information on deHavilland and on our ship's construction and appearance has been kindly given by Ron Hedges and Pamela Guess.

Over the past months, we have had very good progress:

  1. We removed all seats and upholstery.
  2. All floorboards were taken up. We discovered that almost all of the floorboards and seat rails had such advanced corrosion that they had to be replaced.
  3. All of the forward and aft cargo bay liners were removed to gain access to the inner skin and supports.
  4. The interior of the aft passenger cabin has been stripped out, including 2 galley bulkheads, 2 toilet bulkheads, and floor support framing. The interior of the skin here is exposed and ready for treatment of corrosion.
  5. All 6 emergency exits, which are large magnesium castings, have been removed, corrosion treated, and rebuilt.
  6. Two trips were made to England to get more parts and information.
  7. On the second trip, in the summer of 1997, we actually joined up with a local scrap dealer, and bought XV814, the last structurally sound Comet slated to be broken up. With the cooperation of MOD people at Boscombe Down, we were able to remove just about all of the parts we needed from this ship including two landing gear assemblies, floor support frame members, cockpit seats, cabin seat tracks, replacement toilet bulkheads, and many other items which were all crammed into a 20 foot container.
  8. To this point, we have not only North America's only remaining Comet, but also about 10 tons of ex-Mexicana and ex-RAF spares --- which probably gives us the world's largest remaining stock of Comet parts. More than 17,000 parts have been inventoried and stored.
  9. Also, we have had excellent support from current aircraft suppliers in getting materials. For instance, one company has supplied us with an optically identical reproduction fabric for much of the interior cabin. We are now installing this fabric on the inside panels of the emergency exits. A New Zealand company has offered to supply carpets, and we are working with the English company that supplied the original upholstery fabrics to reproduce similar materials for our re-upholstery. A company in Oregon is currently reproducing custom laminate surfaces. Paint for the exterior of the ship has been supplied by one of the Boeing paint suppliers.
  10. On the exterior of the ship, we are well along on getting it ready for paint. All of the engine access and belly panels have been removed and are being prepared for paint. Also, the aft engine cowling and the fuselage tail cone have been removed and are being reworked.
  11. The nose gear and the starboard main gear from England have been completely refurbished, painted, and are ready for re-installation in the aircraft.

You ... and frame 6424

We have a group of volunteers with backgrounds ranging from auto mechanics to retired engineers and executives who are proud to be preserving the last copy in North America of one of the 20th century's most important industrial developments.

The aircraft design that cut the social size of the world in half.

Interested in being part of this effort? We need all skills. Everything ranging from pencil pushing and filing to sheet metal work and spray painting. Many people who, like me, spent their careers 'flying a desk' can find new talents and very satisfying pleasure in working with this project.

If you want to learn more, and would like to join our efforts, contact Bob Hood at RobtHood@aol.com or +001 425 3344772.

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E-mail
Marc Schaeffer
marcmsc@pt.lu

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