The supremely elegant DH88 Comet was to become one of the most famous aircraft in history. It was born of de Havilland's determination to field a winning British entry in 1934's epic 12,000 mile 'MacRobertson International Air Race' from England to Australia. Within nine months the de Havilland team created and tested a high-speed twin-engine wooden monoplane with exceptionally long range, designed to minimise the fuel stops en route. Contributing to high cruising speed were the Comet's thin tapered wing, low frontal area, and the then innovative use of a retractable undercarriage and variable-pitch propellers.
Dawn on 20 October 1934 saw the 20 starters depart RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk. Black Magic arrived first in Baghdad after a non-stop flight, ahead of the field. Thereafter it was Grosvenor House which landed first in Melbourne to win the £10,000 Speed Race prize after 65 hours 24 minutes in the air. G-ACSR arrived fourth but immediately set off for England to create an out-and-home record.
The achievements of the racing Comets were supplemented by remarkable long distance flights in following years, and construction of two more examples. Most extraordinary were the exploits of G-ACSS in the hands of Flg.Off. A.E.Clouston. An out-and-back London to Cape Town record was set in 1937, followed in 1938 by London to New Zealand and return – a flight of 26,450 miles in under 11 days. Today this most historic of all British civil aircraft is preserved in airworthy condition at the Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire, UK.
This 1:72 scale replica of 'Black Magic' is decorated in the dramatic black and gold of the original and has the added feature of a retractable and extended undercarriage. It proudly carries the Union Flag on either side of the tail fin with the number 63 in gold.
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