De Havilland Comet: The airliner that changed aviation forever

On Sir Geoffrey de Havilland’s 67th birthday in 1949, the aircraft that propelled the world into the jet age took to the skies for the first time. Key Aero examines the history of the revolutionary DH.106 Comet 

Shortly after the conclusion of the Second World War, the UK government formed the Brabazon Committee, which was tasked with examining the country’s future airliner needs.

Key Collection
The de Havilland Comet was the world's first commercial jetliner. Key Collection

One of its main recommendations was for the development of a pressurised, transatlantic mail-carrying aircraft that could fly a one-ton payload at cruising speeds close to 400mph. 

Alistair Hodgson, the curator of the de Havilland Aircraft Museum explains what it was like to fly on the Comet in this video. 

Aerospace firm de Havilland was keen to fulfil this requirement but chose to challenge the widely held view at the time that jet engines were too unreliable and fuel-hungry for such a role.  

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