The most outstanding quality of the Comet is that it has been designed as a moderate sized aircraft and not as a big aircraft.
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Background: The most outstanding quality of the Comet is that it has been designed as a moderate sized aircraft and not as a big aircraft.
Big aircraft, such as the Boeing 707 and the Do 8 have great advantages on those routes where the number of people travelling by air every day is very high: such as, for instance, the routes across North America and from North America to Europe.
On most routes in Europe however the number of passengers varies between 50 and 200 per day and these passengers are shared between many operators so that for any one service the numbers are low. The smaller aircraft like the Comet make it possible for the airline to provide a frequent service and yet have sufficient passengers per service to avoid running into financial difficulties.
Looked at from another point of view, if on a given route two operators have each obtained the same number of passengers per flight, the operator of the Comet will get better financial results than the operator of the larger aircraft.
Of course the advantage of operating a smaller aircraft would vanish if the Comet was not as comfortable as the large aircraft. But the Comet has been designed to provide four-engined comfort and if anything it is easier to give individual attention to the passengers' needs on the Comet just because there are less passengers. The larger aircraft are perhaps 50 kilometers per hour faster than the Comet: but on the relatively short stages in Europe and the Middle East this disadvantage in speed will scarcely be noticed. Between Athens and Rome there would be little more than 5 minutes difference in travel time between the Boeing 707 and the Comet.
The larger aircraft have special problems to face. They need longer runways than are at present available at most European airports and they are very noisy on take-off. Even though the Comet carries 87 passengers it only requires 1420 meters at sea level to take off. The runway at Athens airport is 2600 meters long. This aircraft meets statutory climb requirements our of airfields at heights up to 2400 meters. Again, after tests carried out by the Port of New York Authority the Comet 4 was judged to be quieter on the take off than large propeller aircraft due to the noise suppressors that are fitted to the engines.
The Comet 4 has been operating schedules services since October of last year when BOAC started the world's first transatlantic jet service. It is an aircraft that has been under continual flying development for 9 years. When the transatlantic service started last autumn the Comet had already 50,000 hours of flying experience behind it including 30,000 hours of airline operation; since that time it has been flying daily in both directions across the North Atlantic and more recently has been going to Hong-Kong and Tokyo 5 times per week. Thanks to these many years of civil flying, far more years than any other civil jet air aircraft, the Comet has been introduced into regular service with complete smoothness. BOAC has ordered 19 of those aircraft, Aerolineas Argentinas 6 and East African Airways 4.
The aircraft visiting Athens to-day is the Comet 43 of which BEA has already ordered 6. They will come into scheduled operation on April the 1st next year.
The Comet 4B has been especially designed for the much shorter sector distances in Europe. It is at its best on routes which have stages from 2,000 miles in length down to as little as 300.
The main differences between the Comet 48 and the Comet 4 is that the wing span is shortened by 2 meters so that at the lower height at which it flies it can cruise at 850 kilometers per hour at a height of 4,400 meters compared to the Comet 4 which cruises at 1000 kilometers per hour at a height of 11,000 meters. The fuselage is 2 meters longer to enable it to carry more passengers instead of the fuel that it no longer needs on these shorter distances. For the same reason the wing nacelle fuel tanks have been suppressed.
BEA carries more passengers inside Europe (nearly 3,000,000 a year) than any other airline. The Comet 4B was designed in conjunction with BEA to be the cost efficient aircraft services within Europe and in the Middle East.
No. of passengers ... 87 mixed class (first & tourist)
Engines ... ... ... Four Rolls-Royce Avon RA 29
Static Thrust ... 4760 kg. each
Span ... ... ... 32, 9 m.
Length ... ... ... 36 m.
Height ... ... ... 8,7 m.
Wing area ... ... ... 191,3 m.
Total tankage ... ... 7,890 Imp Gal. 35, 868 litres
Maximum A.U.W. ... ... 70,760 kg.
Capacity Payload ... ... 10,200 kg.
Maximum still air stage length with full payload and reserve fuel ... 3,610 km.
Normal cruising speed ... 853 km./hr.
Average Cruising altitude ... 7,200 m.