Steve Holland’s Comet

The DeHavilland Comet was built in 1934 to enter the England – Australia air race for the MacRobertson Trophy and £10000 prize money. The race was held to celebrate the centenary of the state of Victoria. Three comets were entered into the race and G-ACSS, Grosvenor House won. In total, five comets were built. The maximum all-up weight was 5550lb and speed with a full load was 225 miles an hour at sea level.

Steve’s model is of Grosvenor House. The full-size is in the Shuttleworth Collection. It has been restored to flying condition and flew on May 17th 1987. The restoration took 13 years and cost approximately £7m.

G-ACSS Records

This plane was successful in achieving several shortest-time records:

October 20-23, 1934 C.W.A. Scott and T.Campwell Black went from Mildenhall, England to Melbourne, Australia (11000 miles) in 70 hrs 55 min.
November 14-16, 1937 A.E. Clouston and Mrs Kirby-Green went from London to Cape Town (7091 miles) in 45 hrs 6 min.
November 18-20, 1937 The return trip was completed in 57 hrs 23 min.
March 15-20, 1938 A.E. Clouston and V. Ricketts went from London to New Zealand (13179 miles) in 104 hrs 20 min.
March 20-26, 1938 The return trip was completed in 140 hrs 12 min. Here the times to and from Sydney, Australia en route to New Zealand were also confirmed as records.

The Model

Specification:

  • Span: 22ft
  • Length: 14 ft 6in
  • Height: 5ft
  • Engines: two Zenoah Z74 twins with trumpets. Each has a 1 1/2 litre tank.
  • Props: Menz 26×8 turning at 6300rpm.
  • Weight: 150 lb
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The model took over three years to build. Balsa wood was used whenever possible together with plywood and hardwood spars. The tail, fin, elevator and rudder are all balsa wood. This meant that only 7lb of lead was needed in the nose.

There is two degrees of washout on each wing starting at the nacelle and tapering to the wingtip.

The model is coated in a nylon/dope finish. Seven coats of non-shrinking dope were used on the front and two at the rear.

Spinners were 8″ alloy and supplied by Richard Rawle. Silencers were non standard stainless steel ones from Zenoah. The pilot was from AH designs. The wheels are caravan jockey wheels and the oleo legs were supplied by Alan Drew.

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Electrical System

There are separate RX, 3302 servos and 4.8 V battery for each aileron. These produce 9Kg. The other surfaces use a standard large model approach of two of everything. One receiver controls the left elevator, right throttle and flaps. The other controls right elevator, left throttle, rudder and retracts. The servos are 3303’s on 6V giving 14Kg pull.

The model has had over 100 flights.

Landing at the Cosford 2001 show.

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