THE aircraft that won the 1934 Mildenhall to Australia air race may fly again.
The last surviving De Havilland DH88 Comet, named Grosvenor House, was one of three built for the MacRobertson Air Race and was first to arrive in Australia in October 1934. It was the leading edge in aviation technology and was faster and more advanced than the RAF’s last biplane fighter, the Gladiator, which entered service in 1935.
Skills learned on the wooden Comet enabled De Havilland to create the wartime Mosquito.
Grosvenor House has been at the Shuttleworth Collection near Bigglsewade since 1993 and last flew in 2002 but suffered an undercarriage collapse.
Tony Podmore, of the Shuttleworth Trust, said: “She was one of the first aircraft with retractable undercarriage and the steel used was nowhere near up to the mark. We’re building a new undercarriage of much higher grade steel. We’re going to keep it in airworthy condition but when we get to fly it is anyone’s guess.
“We’ve so many more pressing projects to complete first.”
The trust owns examples of aircraft from the first 100 years of aviation which fly regularly in summer. Its first air show this year is on May 6.