The pre-war luxury aircraft that no one wanted

Advanced for its time, the 1935 Heston Phoenix carried five people in luxury on only 205hp, and had a retractable undercarriage. Mike Hooks discovers why the Phoenix failed to rise

The story of the Phoenix began some years before its 1935 appearance. In 1929, Flt Lt Nicholas Comper left the RAF and founded the Comper Aircraft Company at Hooton Park near Liverpool. He had designed several light aircraft while working as a lecturer in charge of the Cranwell Engineering laboratory, but the first type to enter production was the Swift single-seater, which appeared in 1930. It was very successful and 41 production aircraft followed, including a number for export. A single example of the low-wing Comper Streak was built, but the writing was on the wall for the company and increasing financial problems led to the resignation of the entire board of directors.

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