After two Comet jetliners plunged into the Mediterranean Sea in 1954, doubts were cast over the survival of de Havilland. This article looks at the manufacturer, its aircraft and Ken Ellis explains how the company came back from the brink
There had been aircraft crashes and accidents before, but that was only to be expected; de Havilland’s Comet was a new concept, being the first-ever jetliner. Attitudes began to change, though, on January 10, 1954, when British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) Comet 1 G-ALYP disappeared off Elba, Italy, with the loss of all 35 on board.
This was tragedy enough, but 88 days later another, G-ALYY, plunged into the sea off Naples and 21 people perished.