Oxford Diecast 1/72nd scale 72COM005 de Havilland DH88 Comet CS-AAJ Salazar Portugal. Buy online now at Flying Tigers.
The supremely elegant DH88 Comet was to become one of the most famous aircraft in history. It was born of de Havilland’s determination to field a winning British entry in 1934’s epic 12,000 mile ‘MacRobertson International Air Race’ from England to Australia. Within nine months the de Havilland team created and tested a high-speed twin-engine wooden monoplane with exceptionally long range, designed to minimise the fuel stops en route. Contributing to high cruising speed were the Comet’s thin tapered wing, low frontal area, and the then innovative use of a retractable undercarriage and variable-pitch propellers. Three Comets were ordered privately for the race, the black and gold G-ACSP Black Magic (flown by Jim and Amy Mollison), the green G-ACSR (Owen Cathcart-Jones and Ken Waller), and the red G-ACSS Grosvenor House of C.W.A. Scott and Tom Campbell Black. Dawn on 20 October 1934 saw the 20 starters depart RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk. Black Magic arrived first in Baghdad after a non-stop flight, ahead of the field. Thereafter it was Grosvenor House which landed first in Melbourne to win the £10,000 Speed Race prize after 65 hours 24 minutes in the air. G-ACSR arrived fourth but immediately set off for England to create an out-and-home record. The achievements of the racing Comets were supplemented by remarkable long distance flights in following years, and construction of two more examples. Most extraordinary were the exploits of G-ACSS in the hands of Flg.Off. A.E.Clouston. An out-and-back London to Cape Town record was set in 1937, followed in 1938 by London to New Zealand and a return flight of 26,450 miles in under 11 days. Today this most historic of all British civil aircraft is preserved in airworthy condition at the Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire, UK. This 1/72nd scale replica of ‘Black Magic’ is decorated in the dramatic black and gold of the original and has the added feature of a retractable and extended undercarriage. It proudly carries the Union Flag on either side of the tail fin with the number 63 in gold.
Black Magic was sold to Portugal for a projected flight from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. Re-registered CS-AAJ and renamed Salazar it made various flights from London to Lisbon, setting a time of 5 hr, 17 min in July 1937. It was re-discovered in a dilapidated state in Portugal in 1979 and is currently undergoing restoration in Derby, England.