DH88 Comet

The Collection’s exhibit

This DH88 won the 1934 England to Australia Air Race in 70 hours and 54 minutes.

After the DH88’s success, G-ACSS was evaluated by the RAF with the serial number K5084 and appeared as such in the 1936 Hendon Pageant. It suffered several accidents in the hands of the RAF and was eventually sold as scrap. However, it was rescued when bought by F Tasker and restored at Essex Aero Ltd at Gravesend. Renamed ‘The Orphan’ it gained fourth place in the England-Damascus Air Race of 1937.

After this G-ACSS was renamed yet again and as ‘The Burberry’ set a new record for the out-and-back times to the Cape, and also set a record when it travelled from England to New Zealand and home again in only ten days, twenty-one hours and twenty-two minutes.

After these record breaking flights G-ACSS was abandoned at Gravesend and spent WWII stored there. De Havilland apprentices statically restored it for the 1951 Festival of Great Britain, where it was displayed hanging from the roof. It was given to the Shuttleworth Collection in 1965 and a restoration to flying condition was begun. About fifty organisations supported the project and restoration was carried out first at RAE Farnborough and then at the British Aerospace works at Hatfield. This culminated in the first flight in forty-nine years on Sunday 17th May 1987.

Following the closure of Hatfield in 1994 the aircraft returned to Old Warden where, initially, the runway was too short to allow safe operation. The runway was lengthened by 1999 but then, in 2002, the Comet suffered undercarriage failure when landing after its first test flight and research showed that as originally designed the legs were liable to failure under certain conditions. Subsequently modifications to the structure were approved and implemented and the aircraft flew again. After successful test flights on 1st August 2014 it is now a regular performer at Shuttleworth air displays.

shuttleworth_discovery_sqsmall It is one of the four aircraft featured in the Shuttleworth Discovery app

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