First Commercial Jetliner Created: The de Havilland Comet

First Commercial Jetliner Created: The de Havilland Comet


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First Commercial Jetliner Created: The de Havilland Comet

The de Havilland DH 106 Comet was the world’s first commercial jetliner that was created.  It was developed and manufactured by de Havilland at its Hatfield Aerodrome, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom headquarters.  The Comet 1 model first flew on July 27, 1949.  It highlighted a smoothly clean design with four de Havilland Ghost turbojet engines submerged in the wings, a pressurized fuselage and large square windows.  For this period, it presented a relatively quiet, comfortable passenger cabin and showed signs of commercial success when it first appeared in 1952.

After a year of commercial service, the Comets began to experience problems, with the three of them breaking up in the middle of the flight in broadcasted accidents.  It was later found out to be caused by disastrous metal exhaustion in the airframes.  These were not well identified and understood at this time.  The Comet was removed from service and was highly and extensively tested to find out the cause.  Some of the ultimately identified causes were design flaws and installation procedures. Because of these issues, the Comet was comprehensively redesigned.  Competitor manufacturers noted the lessons learned from the Comet while improving their own aircraft.

The Comet represented a new classification of passenger aircraft, thus, more thorough testing was a development priority and importance. From 1947 to 1948, de Havilland ran an extensive research and development phase, including the use of several stress test rigs at Hatfield for small components and large assemblies correspondingly.

Some of the Comet’s avionics systems were new to civil aviation. One such feature was irreversible powered flight controls, which increased the pilot’s ease of control and the safety of the aircraft by preventing aerodynamic forces from changing the directed positions and placement of the aircraft’s control surfaces. Additionally, a large number of the control surfaces, such as the elevators, were equipped with a complex gearing system as a safeguard against accidentally over-stressing the surfaces or airframe at higher speed ranges.

The Comet was a hit with passengers including Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, who were guests on a special flight on 30 June 1953 hosted by Sir Geoffrey and Lady de Havilland, and thus became the first members of the British Royal Family to fly by jet. Flights on the Comet were about 50 percent faster than on advanced piston-engined aircraft such as the Douglas DC-6 (490 mph for the Comet compared to the DC-6’s 315 mph), and a faster rate of climb further cut flight times.

List of de Havilland Comet operators includes military and civil operators with corporate jet charters.These operations started since 1952. The civilian operators include the Aerolineas Argentinas, Qantas Empire Airways, Canadian Pacific Airlines, Air Ceylon, East African Airways, AREA Ecuador, Misrair, Air France, Olympic Airways, Kuwait Airways, Middle East Airlines, Malaysian Airways, Mexicana, South African Airways, Sudan Airways, and the United Kingdom’s BEA Airtours, BEA, Channel Airways, and Dan-Air.

Just like these operators, we, the Charter Flight Group offers corporate jet charters that will provide you with a comfortable and convenient travel experience.