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DH Comet retirement, 1980.

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  • Mr Creosote
    Better get a bucket...
    • Aug 2005
    • 1399

    DH Comet retirement, 1980.

    I was on the last passenger-carrying flight of the Comet in 1980, and I was wondering if anyone here has any recollections or info to share? It was a special enthusiasts' Dan Air flight DA8874 from Gatwick on Remembrance Sunday (I nearly missed it because I was caught in the crowds at the Cenotaph that morning) and we made low passes over Heathrow, Brize Norton and Lyneham. Still remember the steep climb-out the Avons gave it. The aircraft, G-BDIW, is now preserved in Germany.
    Terms & Conditions Apply.
  • FLY.BUY
    Clear-Water-Islands
    • Jun 2004
    • 1302

    #2
    Ahh the Comet, lovely machine, that's one of the reasons I go to. bruntingthorpe every year to see the Comet do the fast taxy runs. It still lives and breaths albeit in a limited capacity.

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    • charliehunt
      Nearly there!
      • Oct 2012
      • 11459

      #3
      Several memorable flights to Med destinations in the late 60s/early 70s - I have a great fondness for the aircraft which promised so much but delivered so little through circumstances well rehearsed here and elsewhere.
      Charlie

      Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

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      • farnboroughrob
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Dec 2008
        • 617

        #4
        I remember seeing it as a 10 year old quite low over Reading on the LHR-Brize leg. It was the only time I saw a civil Comet fly as it did not make it to LGW until 1982. Saw the Boscombe and Farnborough Comets fly and do remember some Dan-dair ones at Lasham. Think us airliner enthusiasts owe DA alot for keeping aircraft going beyond their years and then preserving some of them. Wonder what they would be flying today if they had stuck to not buying new aircraft, and not gone bust???

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        • FLY.BUY
          Clear-Water-Islands
          • Jun 2004
          • 1302

          #5
          Originally posted by farnboroughrob View Post
          I Wonder what they would be flying today if they had stuck to not buying new aircraft, and not gone bust???
          My money would be on Boeing 757's

          Comment

          • Maple 01
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • May 2004
            • 449

            #6
            or 0/400s
            Krlewska Moc Powietrza nie jest lot cyrku.....

            Comment

            • Scouse
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Mar 2006
              • 856

              #7
              First jet I ever flew on, Gatwick-Rome-Tel Aviv in September 1972 (G-ARJL, formerly Olympic Airways and then BEA Airtours). My main recollection now is how much noisier the cabin was when aft of the jet pipes.

              Comment

              • dairwin
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Jan 2008
                • 325

                #8
                Originally posted by Mr Creosote View Post
                I was on the last passenger-carrying flight of the Comet in 1980, and I was wondering if anyone here has any recollections or info to share? It was a special enthusiasts' Dan Air flight DA8874 from Gatwick on Remembrance Sunday (I nearly missed it because I was caught in the crowds at the Cenotaph that morning) and we made low passes over Heathrow, Brize Norton and Lyneham. Still remember the steep climb-out the Avons gave it. The aircraft, G-BDIW, is now preserved in Germany.
                I was on one of the last DanAir passenger/demo flights from Gatwick in 1980. It was an organised school outing. I think it cost 6 per ticket? But our flight included a low pass over Eastleigh (or was it Hurn) and then a swing south and back to Gatwick. All got a tour of the flight deck. I sat opposite a classmate who was in a rear facing seat and promptly puked over himself.

                DAI

                Comment

                • Albanian Bob
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Jan 2015
                  • 52

                  #9
                  Yes, I was there. Seat 19E, still have the ticket. Also have a certificate to prove it, signed by all the flight crew. Captain's name was Kelly, can't read half the rest. Like Mr Creosote I remember the rather rapid climb to height. A stewardess in front of me remarked that they called the Comet "The pocket rocket". I have a vague memeory that there was a low cloud base that day and I saw more of the cloud than the ground. I also did a similar flight on the VC10 when that retired, but seem to recall that BA then flew another one for staff/VIPs later, so it wasn't the "last" flight.

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                  • Jur
                    Jur
                    40+ years in ATC
                    • Aug 2003
                    • 407

                    #10
                    G-BDIW in Hermeskeil Germany

                    Jur

                    Comment

                    • Archer
                      Innocent bystander
                      • Nov 2003
                      • 1719

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Albanian Bob View Post
                      Yes, I was there. Seat 19E, still have the ticket. Also have a certificate to prove it, signed by all the flight crew. Captain's name was Kelly, can't read half the rest.
                      I just finished Graham Simons' book about the Comet and the last flight is mentioned in there with the following crew: Captain John Kelly, Captain Simon Searle as co-pilot, Flight Engineer Gordon Moores.
                      A Little VC10derness - A Tribute to the Vickers VC10 - www.VC10.net

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                      • mike1275
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Mar 2012
                        • 88

                        #12
                        I'm the custodian of one of the last remaining parts of G-BDIT, the G-BDI* Comets were all ex RAF Comet C4's from 216sqn. G-BDIT ended it's days at Blackbushe with the intention of turning it into a caf, that never materialised and it's last bit of limelight was as a prop for the Madness video for Wings of a Dove.

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                        • Oxcart
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Nov 2007
                          • 2092

                          #13
                          Ex-RAF? Does that explain the rearward facing seats as previously mentioned?
                          Give a man a fish and eat for a day. Give a man a fishing rod and he'll eat for a lifetime. Give a man religion and he'll die praying for a fish!

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                          • mike1275
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Mar 2012
                            • 88

                            #14
                            They had a standard cabin fit out but had some face to face seating particularly by the wing exits, Tridents also had face to face seating but had a table between the rows.

                            /http://www.airplane-pictures.net/pho...-106-comet-4c/

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                            • Mr Creosote
                              Better get a bucket...
                              • Aug 2005
                              • 1399

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Albanian Bob View Post
                              Yes, I was there. Seat 19E, still have the ticket. Also have a certificate to prove it, signed by all the flight crew. Captain's name was Kelly, can't read half the rest. Like Mr Creosote I remember the rather rapid climb to height. A stewardess in front of me remarked that they called the Comet "The pocket rocket". I have a vague memeory that there was a low cloud base that day and I saw more of the cloud than the ground. I also did a similar flight on the VC10 when that retired, but seem to recall that BA then flew another one for staff/VIPs later, so it wasn't the "last" flight.
                              Sorry Bob, only just seen this reply. I think you and I must have been on both the same Comet and VC-10 flights. If memory serves, the Comet flight was originally advertised by Ian Allen Travel, but someone else took over when they initially couldn't sell all the available tickets. Must go in the loft and dig my ticket out; who knows, I might even have been sat next to you. Thanks again for the reply.
                              Terms & Conditions Apply.

                              Comment

                              • mike currill
                                Big pistons rule
                                • Jul 2003
                                • 8791

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Oxcart View Post
                                Ex-RAF? Does that explain the rearward facing seats as previously mentioned?
                                Probably.The RAF seem to favour that idea as no aircraft yet has been known to reverse into a mountain.
                                The mind once expanded by a new idea never returns to its original size.

                                Comment

                                • TonyT
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Oct 2006
                                  • 9023

                                  #17
                                  I much prefer the concept of sitting at the back and being able to see everyone seated in front of me dying first. Besides the VC10 wasn't that comfortable when climbing out as you felt yourself leaning fwd.

                                  Memories of the Comet was being sent out to help do a compass swing at Brize on the Boscombe one, I had to tow the power set around the compass bay plugged into the running comet for about 3 hours plus.

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