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dominicm

de Havilland DH.88 COMET G-ACSS 'Grosvenor House' twin engine racer

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Posted (edited)

Steve Holland flies his exceptional scratch built scale replica of the DH.88 Comet G-ACSS 'Grosvenor House' that won the famous 1934 England-Australia MacRobertson Air Race from the United Kingdom to Australia. This model is powered by 2 Zenoah 74s. and in total it cost Steve £5000 in materials to build it.

The de Havilland DH.88 Comet is a British two-seat, twin-engined aircraft built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company. It was developed specifically to participate in the 1934 England-Australia MacRobertson Air Race from the United Kingdom to Australia. Development of the DH.88 Comet was initiated at the behest of British aviation pioneer Geoffrey de Havilland, along with the support of de Havilland's board, being keen to garner prestige from producing the victorious aircraft as well as to gain from the research involved in producing it. The Comet was designed by A. E. Hagg around the specific requirements of the race; Hagg produced an innovative design in the form of a stressed-skin cantilever monoplane, complete with an enclosed cockpit, retractable undercarriage, landing flaps, and variable-pitch propellers.

Three Comets were produced for the race, all for private owners at the discounted price of £5,000 per aircraft. The aircraft underwent a rapid development cycle, performing its maiden flight only six weeks prior to the race. Comet G-ACSS Grosvenor House emerged as the winner. Two further examples were later built. The Comet went on to establish a multitude of aviation records, both during the race and in its aftermath, as well as participating in further races. Several examples were bought and evaluated by national governments, typically as mail planes. Two Comets, G-ACSS and G-ACSP, survived into preservation, while a number of full-scale replicas have also been constructed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2jljXCqotw

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Edited by dominicm
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I saw a full-sized version of the Comet under restoration at Mandeville, South Island. It was so sleek and streamlined I initially thought it was a jet. That little airfield has a museum with NZ's first aeroplane, plus an amazing old wooden hangar full of wooden aircraft undergoing restoration.

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I saw this aeroplane at RAF Mildenhall , UK around the 1984 mark , it was resplendent in the characteristic all over red colour scheme . I believe it now lives at Old Warden Airfields in Bedfordshire and still flies regularly .

I have attached a photo from Mildenhall .

IMG_0007.jpg

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I think this one is in the Flying museum near Royston in England. The name escapes me at the moment but well worth a visit if you are ever in the UK.

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6 hours ago, Yenn said:

I think this one is in the Flying museum near Royston in England. The name escapes me at the moment but well worth a visit if you are ever in the UK.

It would be the Shuttleworth Collection at the Old Warden Airfield as mentioned in my previous post .

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A beautiful speed machine.

It is easy to see its child the Mosquito in its genes.

 

I guess taxiing would have been a case of hope nothing is in the way. The massive circular airfields that were still common might have helped.

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The mosquito was built of wood as there was a shortage of aluminium and  used load carrying skins of Plywood. I don't think much of it had fabric . Fabric was still used on some parts of all metal airframes Rudder flaps ailerons etc. The rear of the Hurricane was fabric covered. Makes repair easier. Nev

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I believe the entire plywood skin of the mossie was covered in doped fabric.

 

I had a good look inside a Hurricane when it was being restored at Scone. What a complicated structure: steel tubing covered by timber frames with longitudinal wood laths to support the fabric. The nearby Spitfire fuselage was tiny and simple in construction by comparison- but you could see why the Hurricane could take more battle damage.

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The Spitfire was not produced in large numbers and was complex (expensive) to build and repair. The Hurricane did the bulk of the hard work.  Nev

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1 hour ago, facthunter said:

The Spitfire was not produced in large numbers and was complex (expensive) to build and repair. The Hurricane did the bulk of the hard work.  Nev

Agreed Nev, it was not designed to be easily mass-produced, but over 20,000 of them were built- a significant number.

Willy Messerschmitt's Bf 109 was designed for easy mass-production. Almost 34,000 were built. With a single casting connecting wing, engine, undercarriage and fuselage, they were easier to move around the factory and airfield until the wings were quickly bolted on. An engine could be replaced in 12 minutes.

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Yes,  the Mossie was covered in canvas over the plywood. Mainly to protect the ply and ensure a smooth surface.

 

It took far less hours to build one then the smaller and slower fighters.

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 Its for surface finish and durability. (The doped canvass.) They didn't do well in the tropics with the wood and the rot. They were built here often with furniture manufacturers making a packet of money out of the process. The "War is Hell" doesn't apply to all.. Nev

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