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How many Comets were there? The facts and fictions!

Visitors to the Comet Workshop at Derby Aero Club and our growing Comet Racer Project Group on Facebook provide lots of information about G-ACSP “Black Magic” under restoration.  From time to time we have new stories about the DH88 Comets that are a mixture of fiction and misunderstanding.  So here is an attempt at the definitive facts as known which may serve as a good reference and answer some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs).  Hope this helps clear up any misinformation!

FAQ : “I thought there was another DH Comet passenger jet?”

Answer :  Yes, confusingly but Note this is the restoration of DH88 Comet of 1934 not the Jet Liner DH106 Comet of 1949.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs : “How many Comets were there, what happened to them and which Comets and Copies now exist?”

Answer :  There were only Five DH88 Comets but they had their various names and registrations (15?) in their time, which leads to some confusion as to how many there were, so here are the facts :-

There were the three DH88 Comet original builds in 1934, two of which still exist  :-

G- ACSP “Black Magic” / CS-AAJ “Salazar” – Now at Derby Aero Club under restoration.

G-ACSS  “The Red One” Grosvenor House / K5084 / “The Orphan” / “The Burberry” / “Australian Anniversary” –  now fully restored to flying condition at the Shuttleworth Collection

G-ACSR  “The Green One” / Reine Astrid / F-ANPY / Cité d’Angoulême IV – Disappeared Etampes France 1940 Lost

Then two more DH88 Comet later builds :-

F-ANPZ / E-109 – Disappeared Istres France c 1939 Lost

G-ADEF   “Boomerang”  – Crashed and destroyed in the Sudan 1935 Lost

FAQ :  So apart from the two originals, “Black Magic” and “Grosvenor House” what other “Comets” exist?

Answer : There are several DH88 Copies and Replicas, none of which are original DH88 Comets.

“G-RCSR The Green Comet Replica” :  Being built as a flying aircraft  by Ken Fern near Derby as a tribute flying replica to G-ACSR, the registration being chosen as being as near to the original.

“Film Comet  G-ACSS  Red Comet” – built  by a team lead by Frank Mangano at Airepair Essendon, in Australia, for the 1990 film The Great Air Race.  Now being restored with original trailer kit at DH Museum.  Owner Ralph Steiner.

“Film Comet G-ACSP  Black Comet”– built by Ashley Briggs for 1990 film The Great Air Race : Builder reports fallen to pieces.

“G-ACSS replica : USA Comet N88XD” : An airworthy full-scale replica of the DH.88 Comet was built in 1993 by Bill Turner of Repeat Aircraft at Flabob airport in Rubidoux Ca.  It was built for Thomas W. Wathen of Santa Barbara, California, USA.  N88XD flies wearing the full colours and registration of G-ACSS “Grosvenor House”.

“Comet Replica : New Zealand Comet” : Under construction by the Croydon Aircraft Company at Old Mandeville Airfield, near Gore, New Zealand.  This is the same replica DH 88 being built by George Lemay during the 1990’s in Alberta Canada before being moved to NZ.

“7/8th Comet Galleria Replica at Sywell” :  A non flying Model built for display by Acorn Scenery Feltham.  It was painted in ‘Grosvenor House’ scheme.  This was commissioned by the then owners of the Galleria Shopping Centre in Hatfield and remained on show, suspended from the roof, for over 20 years.  In 2006 it was removed by the new owners and passed to another Museum from where it was brought to Sywell and awaits proposed restoration as “The Burberry”.

“The Comet Hotel Model” :  This small scale model of G-ACSS sits on a column designed by renowned war artist Eric Kennington outside the Comet Hotel in Hatfield, now a Ramade Hotel, and was erected in 1936.

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