Aeroplane Archive

The Key.Aero team have delved for treasure in the archive of Aeroplane Magazine dating back to 1911. Aviation history brought to life by the editors of the period.

Groundcrew tend to the sole completed Heston T1/37, L7706, at Heston aerodrome. It was a surprisingly bulky machine for an ab initio trainer, with a 42ft wingspan. ALL PHOTOS AEROPLANE Feature Premium

The wartime trainer nobody wanted

Not only did Heston’s T1/37 trainer look faintly outsized for its role, but the requirement to which it was built seems to have been taken less than seriously by the Air Ministry

Stew Dawson at the controls of his R-3350-engined Sea Fury Spirit of Texas. DAVID LEININGER Feature Premium

Aeroplane Meets...Stewart Dawson

One of the USA’s most experienced warbird pilots has been the ‘go-to guy’ for all kinds of historic aeroplanes, and a Reno racer to boot

Sir Miles Thomas (right) chats with Captain Alderson, under whose able eye all B.O.A.C.'s flight operational development work for the Comet has been done. Capt. Alderson is flanked by Capts. E. E. Rodley (left) and A. R. Majendie (right). Deputy Chairman Whitney Straight is on the left. Feature Premium

BOAC Chairman’s Comet insights

The Chairman of BOAC gave his view from the top on the first jetliner as the Comet entered commercial service in this article he penned for ‘The Aeroplane’s’ May 2, 1952 issue

A good view of the initial ice patrol modifications made by Nordair to its L-188C Electras: an under-fuselage radome taken from a CP-107 Argus, an astrodome that used to be a Sabre canopy, and bulging observation windows. Observers would take hour-long turns in the upper ‘bubble’. DAVE OSBORNE Feature Premium

Nordair L-188 Electras – Hunting icebergs

A good view of the initial ice patrol modifications made by Nordair to its L-188C Electras: an under-fuselage radome taken from a CP-107 Argus, an astrodome that used to be a Sabre canopy, and bulging observation windows. Observers would take hour-long turns in the upper ‘bubble’.

The Curtiss Model 54 Tanager demonstrates a short, steep take-off, showing how it could clear the ‘obstacle’ at left. VIA PHILIP JARRETT Feature Premium

The competition that tried to make flying safer

In the inter-war aviation industry’s efforts to improve the safety of commercial aeroplanes, a one-off contest in the USA sought to play its part — but it wasn’t without trouble and controversy

A lovely air-to-air shot of M.E.A. Comet 4C, OD-ADR. Key Collection Feature Premium

How the de Havilland Comet thrust MEA into the Jet Age

In early 1961 Middle East Airlines (MEA) introduced into service its first jet in the Comet 4C. The January 13 issue ‘The Aeroplane and Astronautics’ reported on how the airline had prepared for a new era

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First impressions of Comet flying

Before the Comet entered service four of ‘The Aeroplane’s’ staff had flown in the jet and gave their thoughts in the May 2, 1952 edition on what this new form of travel was like compared with propeller-driven airliners

A presentation in front of the two Comets at Hatfield. From left to right: A&AEE public relations officer Sqn Ldr John Taylor, DH88 project co-ordinator Ron Paine, BAe Hatfield general manager Tony Saint, A&AEE Mission Systems Division superintendant Brian Close, and pilots Stewart Waring and Sqn Ldr Mic Edwards. ADRIAN M. BALCH Feature Premium

Meeting of the Comets

Only once did the two Comets, DH88 and DH106, fly together — and it was 30 years ago this year

Having achieved what some considered impossible, Comet 4 XV814 approaches to land back at Farnborough in August 1992 after its global circumnavigation. VIA ROGER BEAZLEY Feature Premium

Round the World in a Comet in 1992

Some said it couldn’t be done — that this old aircraft would fail somewhere along the way. However, the Defence Research Agency’s Comet 4 XV814 defied the doubters and, in the summer of 1992, made it round the world. The then head of experimental flying at Farnborough recalled a memorable trip in the May 2016 issue of ‘Aeroplane’

RESEARCH – AND DEVELOPMENT – During the early days of the Comet’s design history, consideration was given to the claims of the tailless, swept-back layout. Some valuable practical experience in this direction was obtained with the D.H.108 which was specially built for research into this problem. Here is the Comet on the day of its first flight, with the D.H.108. Feature Premium

Comet creator – insights from de Havilland’s chief designer

The man who designed the revolutionary Comet jetliner, R E Bishop, wrote this exclusive article for ‘The Aeroplane’ which was published the same day as the aircraft’s first commercial service on May 2, 1952