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Comet! The World's First Jet Airliner (Paperback)

Aviation Photographic Books Colour Books

By Graham Simons
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781526726773
Published: 22nd October 2018


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This new volume from the respected and well-regarded aviation historian and author Graham M. Simons is sure to appeal to all aviation enthusiasts, including as it does a wide array of historical sources and archival information drawn together into one consolidated and definitive volume.

Extensively illustrated throughout, the book features details lifted directly from enquiry and salvage reports. It offers a unique insight into the failures and tragedies that blighted the early days of the Comet's development, laying down lessons that were ultimately to benefit later designs. As part of his research into the book, the author interviewed John Cunningham, the Comet test pilot who was the first to experience flight at the helm of this iconic craft. He was also given access to materials belonging to Harry Povey, the DeHavilland Production Manager. Insights gained from these two sources add a deep level of authenticity to the narrative and a more personalised account of the proceedings.

Attention is also paid to the derivative Nimrod design, and the book includes details drawn from an interview conducted with the aircraft commander of the last ever Nimrod operational flight. Interviews of this kind are supplemented by the author’s own narrative, setting personal experience within historical context and exploring the themes and topics that the interviews evoke.

Simons' work is a masterpiece of the most diligent research and extraordinary detail and surely represents the definitive study of the Comet, right from the first meeting of the Brabazon Committee in 1942 up to the debacle and scrapping of Nimrod in 2010.
This is a terrific book. Very strongly recommended.

Royal Aeronautical Society

A solid book of such scope that you'll probably consult it for a lot more than just Comet material.

Speed Readers

The author has researched diligently, written in a convincing and entertaining manner, and the work has been lavishly illustrated throughout with drawings, sketches and photograph. This is an outstanding account of the life of the Comet. British readers will be saddened by the story because of its outcome, but all readers will find inspiration and achievement in the tale.

Firetrench reviews
 Graham Simons

About Graham Simons

English professional aviation writer, publisher and historian Graham M Simons is one of the founders of the world famous aviation museum at Duxford near Cambridge where his interest was piqued watching the making of the ‘Battle of Britain’ film there in the late 1960’s and from the days when you could go ‘aircraft spotting’ at London Heathrow and other airports.

From this, and with an engineering background, he progressed to membership of a number of aviation societies, including sitting on the British Aviation Preservation Council, eventually taking the position of Engineering Director with one group. Here he was responsible for overseeing the restoration of a De Havilland DH89 Dragon Rapide airliner to flying condition and placing this aircraft - with official approval — in the colours and markings of the first aircraft of what was then the Kings Flight. It was during this period that he was contacted by Ian Allen Ltd to write the first ever history of this classic De Havilland type.

Other titles rapidly followed and with a growing number of contacts in both the military and airliners, Graham turned professional in 1987, combining his love of writing with his skills in production to create and publish aviation histories focussed on a variety of subjects.

He is the author of Howard Hughes and the Spruce Goose, Comet! The World’s First Jet Airliner, The Airbus A380: A History, and De Havilland Enterprises: A History, amongst many others published by Pen and Sword Books.

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