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The De Havilland Comet and No Highway in the Sky Doug Cairns Lysle A. Wood Distinguished Professor Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

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Presentation on theme: "The De Havilland Comet and No Highway in the Sky Doug Cairns Lysle A. Wood Distinguished Professor Mechanical and Industrial Engineering."— Presentation transcript:

1 The De Havilland Comet and No Highway in the Sky Doug Cairns Lysle A. Wood Distinguished Professor Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

2 The De Havilland Comet The World’s First Jetliner

3 The De Havilland Comet BOAC British Overseas Airways Corporation Now British Airways

4 The De Havilland Comet

5 Comet 1Comet 2Comet 3Comet 4 Cockpit crew4 (2 pilots, flight engineer and radio operator/navigator) [182] [182] Passengers36–44 [16] [16] 36–44 [138] [138] 58–76 [142] [142] 56–81 [183] [183] Length93 ft (28 m) [136] [136] 96 ft 1 in (29.29 m) [136] [136] 111 ft 6 in (33.99 m) [142] [142] 111 ft 6 in (33.99 m) [184] [184] Wingspan115 ft (35 m) [184][185] [184][185] Tail height29 ft 6 in (8.99 m) [184] [184] Wing area 2,015 sq ft (187.2 m 2 ) [136] [136] 2,015 sq ft (187.2 m 2 ) [136] [136] 2,015 sq ft (187.2 m 2 ) [136] [136] 2,121 sq ft (197.0 m 2 ) [184] [184] AirfoilNACA 63A116 modNACA 63A116 mod root, NACA 63A112 mod tip [186] [186] Maximum takeoff weightMaximum takeoff weight (MTOW) 110,000 lb (50,000 kg) [136] [136] 120,000 lb (54,000 kg) [136] [136] 150,000 lb (68,000 kg) [136] [136] 156,000 lb (71,000 kg) [184] [184] Operating range (typical performance) 1,500 mi (1,300 nmi; 2,400 km) [69]minmikm [69] 2,600 mi (2,300 nmi; 4,200 km) [185]minmikm [185] 2,700 mi (2,300 nmi; 4,300 km) [187]minmikm [187] 3,225 mi (2,802 nmi; 5,190 km) [182]minmikm [182] Cruising speed 740 km/h (400 kn; 460 mph) [136] [136] 790 km/h (430 kn; 490 mph) [185] [185] 840 km/h (450 kn; 520 mph) [185] [185] 840 km/h (450 kn; 520 mph) [188] [188] Cruise altitude 42,000 ft (13,000 m) [136] [136] 42,000 ft (13,000 m) [185] [185] 45,000 ft (14,000 m) [185] [185] 42,000 ft (13,000 m) [182] [182] Powerplants (x 4) Halford H.2 GhostHalford H.2 Ghost 50 turbojets: 5,000 lbf (22,000 N) [136]lbfN [136] Rolls-Royce AvonRolls-Royce Avon Mk 503/504 turbojets: 7,000 lbf (31,000 N) [136]lbf N [136] Rolls-Royce AvonRolls-Royce Avon Mk 502/521 turbojets: 10,000 lbf (44,000 N) [142]lbf N [142] Rolls-Royce AvonRolls-Royce Avon Mk 524 turbojets: 10,500 lbf (47,000 NlbfN

6 Early Hull Losses (2) Early hull losses blamed on pilot error or weather Investigations and re-designs allowed Boeing 707 to enter the market….the rest is history.

7 Metal Fatigue Metals get tired—odd but true. It is called metal fatigue and is the reason why even a child can break a steel coat hanger with little difficulty: the back and forth motion induces small changes in the microstructure – cracks leading to catastrophic failure. The work was largely ignored by engineers but not by the novelist Nevil Shute, who wrote No Highway in 1948 about an aircraft disaster caused by metal fatigue; the subsequent film starred Jimmy Stewart. A few years later, reality caught up with fiction when the Comet aircraft did actually start to fall out of the sky, and it was only then that the science was taken seriously. (First published by Griffith in 1921.)

8 The De Havilland Comet High Strength, Low Fatigue Life Aluminum

9 Neville Shute’s No Highway in the Sky

10 Nevil Shute’s No Highway in the Sky Prediction to Comet Disaster Coincidence? (You Decide) –Nevil Shute worked and was accomplished British aerospace engineer –Comet – Reindeer (the name of the aircraft model in the movie) Nevil Shute’s “other books” –On the Beach (the end of humanity from nuclear war) –A Town Like Alice (about Alice Springs, Australia) No Highway in the Sky was required viewing for all engineers working in Damage Tolerance for the FAA

11 Commercial Jet Fleet Safety Record Structural Reliability is a Given; One cannot argue with the results Structural Failures are now VERY RARE; Don’t Let this Movie Scare You.


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