Comet cal­cu­la­tions

Pilot - - SPECIAL FEATURE - Ian Whit­tle FRAES

If you are able, please con­vey to Pat Malone my con­grat­u­la­tions on the ex­cep­tional qual­ity of his ar­ti­cle ‘Slide rules and slid­ing from sight’ that ap­peared in the Jan­uary 2015 is­sue of Pi­lot. Yes... I know I am about a year and a half late in writ­ing this, but my sen­ti­ments are nev­er­the­less heart­felt and I sus­pect he may be pleased to know his ef­forts do not go un­no­ticed.

In the ar­ti­cle, amongst other per­son­al­i­ties, he men­tioned my fa­ther, Frank Whit­tle, who would have been equally im­pressed with what was writ­ten.

Pat might also be in­ter­ested to know that, in my fa­ther’s 1949 diary, there is men­tion of his fears that the square win­dow aper­tures of the Mk 1 Comet may not have had the nec­es­sary in­tegrity to sup­port the stresses in­her­ent in a highly pres­surised fuse­lage. The dif­fer­en­tial pres­sure in flight would rise to 8.5-9.0lb per square inch ev­ery time the air­craft climbed to its nor­mal cruis­ing al­ti­tute. He there­fore pro­posed a ‘tem­po­rary fix’ wherein there would be a lat­tice of stain­less steel wire from the frame across the out­side of the pres­sure-bear­ing pan­els of the win­dows. His idea was not taken up by de Hav­il­land al­though it was tried on the pro­to­type Vick­ers Vis­count.

Al­though it prob­a­bly would not have saved the Comet from the dis­as­trous air­frame fail­ures, it is in­ter­est­ing to know about the timely con­cern.

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