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Comet 4C in Middle East Airlines colours, shown in X-Plane 9.70.
Guy Montagu-Pollock

Evolution

When my father retired, we travelled to museums to rediscover his career at de Havilland. The Mosquito is infamous, but I had not appreciated the the scale and breadth of their operations in the 1950s. I decided that the Comet was their greatest post-War achievement: there was no precedent, and the problems that had to be solved were staggering. Every airliner designed after it benefitted from de Havilland's research and experience.

As my fascination with the Comet grew, I looked for a model I could “fly” on my computer. If I had owned a PC, I would have used David Maltby’s superb Comet 4 for Microsoft Flight Simulator and that would have been that. Instead, I had an Apple Mac and X-Plane, by Laminar Research. When I discovered there was no Comet for X-Plane, I decided to make one. How hard could it be?

The flight model was straight forward: I had the correct dimensions, weights and aerofoils, and X-Plane made a very reasonable job of it "out of the box". The only real disappointment was engine thrust at high altitude. This was fixed with a Rolls-Royce Avon plugin by David Plunkett.

The exterior started as a Plane Maker model in X-Plane v8. It looked awful. X-Plane 9 was a colossal leap forward, enabling complex geometry to be created outside Plane Maker and attached to

the aircraft file. The snag was that I had no previous experience of 3D graphics and had to learn from scratch.

The interior absorbed more of my time than anything else. Again, X-Plane 9 allowed a “virtual cockpit” to be made using attached object files. I spent 2 years steeping myself in de Havilland manuals, visiting real cockpits and learning new graphic techniques.

Finally, with more experience, I revised the external model and textures. Screen shots on this page show the difference between the earliest work in 2007 and 2011.

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A very much earlier iteration in 2007.