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.
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