de Havilland DH106 Comet 1A

To see information about the restoration of the Comet 1a Cockpit Restoration click here

Aircraft Overview:

The de Havilland DH106 ‘Comet’ was the World’s first turbojet-powered airliner, designed and built at Hatfield and first flown by John Cunningham in 1949. Turbojets offered new standards:

  • High speed,
  • Low vibration (no reciprocating pistons)
  • High altitude flight (above most weather) and
  • Safety (low-flammability kerosene fuels)


The Comet was revolutionary:

  • of exceptionally clean design
  • 20 degree swept wings mounted low for the structure to pass below the pressure cabin,
  • four engines buried in bulged wing roots,
  • smooth nose with an unstopped windscreen (tested on a Horsa glider),
  • integral wing fuel tanks,
  • power assisted flying controls,
  • cabin pressurisation using engine bleed air, and
  • a tricycle undercarriage.

The Comet 1 and 1A (with higher thrust engines, higher all-up weight) could carry 36 to 44 passengers, 4 abreast. Cruise altitude was up to 40,000 ft with a cabin pressure equivalent to 8,000 ft, requiring pressurisation far greater than on any previous airliner. The Comet 1 entered service with BOAC in 1952, but in 1954 the Comets were grounded for a prolonged accident investigation after unexplained enroute disappearances, alter ascribed to catastrophic fatigue failure of the pressure cabin. Some success returned later, with the stretched Comet 4 series having a fully redesigned fuselage structure, and the RAF’s Nimrod maritime patrol derivative.

Aircraft Specifications:

Power Unit: Four 5,000 lb.s.t. de Havilland Ghost 50 Mk.2 turbojets

Wing Span: 115 ft (35 m)

All-up Weight (A.U.W): 115,000 lb (52,164 kg)

Cruise Speed: 475 mph (764 kph)

Cruise Altitude: 40,000 ft (12,192 m)

Range: 1750 miles (2,816 km)

Passengers: 36 to 44

On Display at the Museum:

The Museum’s exhibit is the fuselage of the first of three Comet 1A airliners built at Hatfield in 1953 for Air France. It was re-assigned to RAE Farnborough as back-up fuselage for water-tank pressure testing, but not used. It was acquired by the Museum in 1985.

DH106 Comet simulator at The de Havilland Museum, London Colney, UK. #DH106 #comet #deHavilland #museum #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA