091139 - DE HAVILLAND AND HATFIELD 1936 - 1993
By Philip Birtles
With the approach of the Second World War, the de Havilland Aerodrome at Hatfield went through a major expansion, concentrating on Mosquito production as well as pioneering the development of jet engines that led to the Vampire jet fighter.
Early commercial aircraft were the Dove and Heron, but the major pioneering programme was the Comet, the world’s first commercial jet airliner. The DH.108 tailless research aircraft based on the Vampire fuselage was used to investigate the effects of the speed of sound, exceeding Mach 1 on 9 September 1948.
The de Havilland jet airliner developed through the Trident, which was the first aircraft capable of automatic landing with passengers in all weathers, leading to the BAe 146 Whisper Jet, Britain’s most successful jet airliner. In addition to developing turbojet engines, the Engine Company also developed rocket engines.
The Propeller Company developed air-to-air guided missiles and the Blue Streak stage 1 booster space rocket. Other types developed were the Sea Vixen naval strike fighter and the DH 125 business jet.
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