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De Havilland
Comet 3 & 4

The First Trans-Atlantic Arliner
De Havilland DH106 Comet 3 G-ANLO BOAC Air-Air De Havilland DH106 Comet 3 G-ANLO BOAC Air-Air
 
The De Havilland Comet 3 (G-ANLO) flew for the first time on 19th July 1954 and was in reality an extensively developed aircraft, derived from the earlier Comet 1 and 2. 
 
Fuselage length was increased by 15' 5" to provide accommodation for up to 58 passengers (although this was further increased with the introduction of the Comet 4) plus the addition of wing pinion fuel tanks which were introduced to provide extended range capability.
 
Many regard the Comet 3 as the most attractive in appearance of all the Comets although trials indicated that it lacked the range required for North Atlantic operations.  Further modifications were introduced to generate the Comet 4, the main production variant utilised by BOAC.  The Comet 4 had the required performance for non-stop services from London to New York, this service being inaugurated on 4th October 1958.  
 
In addition to the BOAC fleet, export sales were also made to Aerolineas Argentinas (6 aircraft) and East African Airways (2 aircraft). 
 
However, the need for a higher capacity aircraft was identified by Capital Airlines in the USA (although their order was subsequently cancelled).  The aircraft that duly emerged was the Comet 4B which was specially for BEA operations.  This variant can readily distinguished by its longer fuselage section (118 ft compared with 111 ft 6 in) and the lack of the wing pinion fuel tanks. 18 were built: 14 for BEA and 4 for Oympic Airways.  
 
The final version the Comet 4C combined the fuselage of the Comet 4B with the wings of the Comet 4 to produce a long fuselage variant with pinion tanks.  The Comet 4C was notably successful in the export market with sales to Misrair, Mexicana, Aerolineas Argentinas, Sudan Airways, Kuwait Airways, Middle East Airlines and East African Airways.
 
DH106 Comet C4 RAF XR399 RAF Transport Command used Comet C4's as Troop Transporters until 1975
 
Heritage DH Comet 3 & 4 Image Gallery

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The only Comet 3 (G-ANLO) in the Flight Test Hangar in February 1957
The only Comet 3 (G-ANLO)

The only Comet 3 (G-ANLO) in the Flight Test Hangar in February 1957

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
DH Comet 3B (G-ANLO) with shortened wings air to air in September 1958
DH Comet 3B (G-ANLO) with shortened wings air to air in September 1958

DH Comet 3B (G-ANLO) with shortened wings air to air in September 1958

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
DH Comet 4 BOAC (G-APDB) take off from Hatfield  August 1958
DH Comet 4 BOAC (G-APDB) take off from Hatfield  August 1958

DH Comet 4 BOAC (G-APDB) take off from Hatfield August 1958

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
DH Comet C2 RAF (XK697) Preparing for departure November 1957
DH Comet C2 RAF (XK697) Preparing for departure November 1957

DH Comet C2 RAF (XK697) Preparing for departure November 1957

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
DH Comet 4C Misrair (UAA) Passenger cabin 1960
DH Comet 4C Misrair (UAA) Passenger cabin 1960

DH Comet 4C Misrair (UAA) Passenger cabin 1960

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
DH Comet 4C Kuwait Airways (9K-ACE) air to air on 17th December 1963
DH Comet 4C Kuwait Airways (9K-ACE) air to air on 17th December 1963

DH Comet 4C Kuwait Airways (9K-ACE) air to air on 17th December 1963

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
DH Comet 4 East African Airways (VP-KPJ at Nairobi Embakasi Airport on 19th September 1960
DH Comet 4 East African Airways (VP-KPJ at Nairobi Embakasi Airport on 19th September 1960

DH Comet 4 East African Airways (VP-KPJ at Nairobi Embakasi Airport on 19th September 1960

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
DH Comet 4 BOAC (G-APDC) passengers boarding for thefirst Tranatlantic service 4th October 1958
DH Comet 4 BOAC (G-APDC) passengers boarding for the first Trans-Atlantic service 4th October 1958

DH Comet 4 BOAC (G-APDC) passengers boarding for the first Trans-Atlantic service 4th October 1958

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
DH Comet 4C Mexicana (XA-NAS) air to air 3rd December 1959
DH Comet 4C Mexicana (XA-NAS) air to air 3rd December 1959

DH Comet 4C Mexicana (XA-NAS) air to air 3rd December 1959

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2016 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)

Variants

Comet 3
1 Built
Initial designation for development aircraft (G-ANLO) but never put into production.
Comet 3B
1 Conversion
G-ANLO was converted to Mk 4B specification and redesignated Mk 3B.
Comet 4
28 Built
Modified Mk 3 design with different alloy for the fuselage and BOAC put the Mk 4 in service in 1958.
Comet 4A
Never built
A short range version of the Comet with longer fuselage and reduced wing span - Launch customer cancelled the order so none were built.
Comet 4B
18 Built
Intended for shorter range operations, the shorter wing was kept but the pinion tanks were removed, resulting in a smaller fuel capacity. The fuselage was stretched further.
Comet 4C
23 Built
A combination of theMk 4B and the Mk 4.
Comet C.4
5 Built
The Mk C.4 was the Mk 4C operated by the RAF. A total of 5 Mk C.4s were built.
Comet 5
Never built
Project to counter the success of the DC-8 and the B-707 but never built.
HS801 Nimrod
2 built
Comet 4C modified as prototypes for a maritime patrol for the Royal Air Force.
HS801 Nimrod is dealt with under Hawker Siddeley

Specification (Comet 4)

Powerplant                             Four 10,500 lbst RR Avon 524 jet engines 
Span 114 ft 10 in
Maximum Weight 160,000 lb
Capacity 60 to 76 passengers
Cruising Speed 503 mph
Range (full load) 3,225 miles

Survivors

Comet 4c (G-BDIX / XR399)
National Museum of Flight, East Fortune, Scotland, UK
Comet 4 (G-APDB) Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambs UK
www.das.org.uk
Comet 4b (G-AYPD) Science Museum, Wroughton, Wiltshire, UK
www.sciencemuseum.org.uk
Comet 4c (G-BIDW / XR398) Flugausstellung Hermeskeil, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
www.flugausstellung.de
Comet 4c (G-CPDA / XS235) Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, Brunting Thorpe, UK
www.bruntingthorpeaviation.com
Comet 4c (N888WA) Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington, USA
www.museumofflight.org
A number of nose and fuselage sections are also preserved.

More information

 

Please note that the information shown is based on that available at the time of the creation of this web page - If you have any additions or corrections please contact: Heritage@baesystems.com