The Comet That Fell to Earth, by Robin Bray

The Comet That Fell to Earth, by Robin Bray

Book published by Hayloft in 2015, 414 pages. Hardback - c.17.5cm by 25cm (N8108X1)

From the rear side cover: The de Havilland Comet 1 was the first commercial, jet-propelled, passenger aeroplane and entered airline service in 1952. It was the great hope of the British aviation industry to seize for itself some of the growing airliner business from the Americans. This hope was dashed after a series of crashes culminating in two mid-air disintegrations over the Mediterranean in 1954. The reason for these two crashes is well known and prompted a world-wide change in airliner design and testing but it remains a fascinating story.

In 2002 a television documentary was broadcast which implied that the defects that caused the crashes were known to the manufacturer and the authorities but that they had allowed it to continue in service for reasons of national prestige and commercial expediency. This rekindled the author’s interest in the Comet disasters and eventually led to this book which refutes the allegations made in the programme. The book provides a detailed description of the Comet 1’s short career and the investigation and public inquiry that followed its final grounding. It also includes an account of experimental work carried out on the remaining Comets after the inquiry and the appearance of further evidence that changed some of the ideas about the mechanism of the first disintegration. A computer analysis of the stress pattern around a Comet window carried out for the book shows the areas of maximum stress that led to its failure.

Condition of the book is generally very good. The covers are clean and bright, the spine is tight and intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.