50th Anniversary of Transatlantic Jet Travel

50 years ago, on 4 October 1958, the world’s first passenger jet service was opened by BOAC, with two de Havilland Comet 4s.

G-APDB had made an earlier crossing, in preparation for the event. On October 2, it flew from London to New York carrying top brass and representatives from the world's press. On October 4, G-APDB set out from New York Idlewild (now JFK), while G-APDC flew in the opposite direction, from London Airport (Heathrow) to New York. As they passed each other over the Atlantic, they exchanged messages. London to New York took 10 hours 13 minutes, including refuelling in Newfoundland. New York to London took a record-breaking 6 hours 12 minutes.

G-APDB is the only complete Comet 4 remaining in the world. Having flown 36,268 hours, it was presented to the Duxford Aviation Society in 1974, by its third owners, Dan Air. It was recently repainted in BOAC colours.

GMM-P (04/10/2008)
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