Blighted by design shortcomings, the de Havilland Comet 1’s flying career was tragically short-lived, but the jetliner enjoyed limited success in Canada. Charles Kennedy recounts its remarkable story.
There’s little doubt the de Havilland DH.106 Comet 1 revolutionised the aviation industry. As the world’s first pressurised commercial jet-powered airliner, it was the source of enormous national pride when it entered service with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) in May 1952. The inaugural flight, from London to Johannesburg via Rome, Beirut, Khartoum and Livingstone, ushered in a new era of passenger travel and led to carriers beating a path to de Havilland’s door eager to join the jet age.