De Havilland DH106 Comet 4 G-APDC - 1961

This photo shows De Havilland DH106 Comet 4 G-APDC (cn 6404) of the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) at Melbourne/Essendon in 1961. There may have been a problem as the DCA Airport Fire Service Land Rover Light Rescue Tender is in attendance (see also below).

G-APDC was delivered to BOAC in September 1958 and subsequently used for a number of firsts:

  • On 4 October 1958 BOAC opened the first jet service across the North Atlantic, from London to New York, using G-APDC to operate the first westbound service under Capt. R E Millichap. The aircraft had to refuel at Gander due to headwinds, but beat Pan Am and the Boeing 707 into trans-Atlantic service by three weeks.
  • On 19 December 1958 G-APDC inaugurated BOAC jet services to Canada, operating London-Montreal.
  • On 21 January 1959 G-APDC operated a proving flight to Tokyo.

G-APDC was the third of 16 Comet 4s delivered to BOAC in 1958-59. The Comet was the world's first passenger jet, the prototype flying in 1949 and the first Comets entering BOAC service in May 1952. However, in 1954 two in-flight break-ups forced an extensive investigation of the Comet structure, which found a problem with fatigue cracking.

The first significant, re-designed Comet production model was the Comet 4, which was a lengthened and re-engined version capable of seating up to 81 passengers and with longer range, higher speed and higher weights.

For a time in 1963 G-APDC was operated by BOAC for Air Ceylon, carrying the latter's titles but retaining its British registration. Following BOAC service, G-APDC was sold to Malaysian Airways in October 1965 where it was re-registered 9M-AOC. After the merger of Malaysian Airways and Singapore Airlines in December 1966 it was re-registered 9V-BAT. It was subsequently sold to Dan Air in August 1969 and scrapped in April 1975.


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< Click on the icon at left to download or listen to Comet pre-takeoff checks (4.2 MB .mp3 file). This recording comes from an LP record for children called The Story of Flying. It is undated but thought to be from around 1962.

Alternatively, try this 2.3 MB .m4a file >

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Above: An air mail cover flown on the inaugural Comet 4 Sydney-London service. This one was posted in Darwin, dated 3 November 1959.

Below: A promotional card issued by BOAC for the new Comet 4 service.


(Photo: Alan Fraser/Maurice Austin collection - Cover: Phil Vabre collection - Card: CAHS collection)

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