On its way to becoming the first jet airliner to circumnavigate the globe, this De Havilland Comet 3 visited Vancouver International Airport in December 1955. Local filmmaker Alfred E. Booth captured its arrival. Booth’s film collection is held by the BC Archives at the RBCM; the Comet footage was identified within a reel of unrelated film, described here. [Video of Booth’s raw footage has been edited to create this clip.]
Earlier versions of the Comet had a disastrous susceptibility to metal fatigue, due to fuselage cracks that started at the corners of the large square windows used on those versions. The fatigue cracks were exacerbated by the craft’s repeated pressurization for high-altitude flights. In early 1954, two Comets came apart in mid-air, with the loss of all souls on board. The Comet 3, which featured smaller oval windows and other improvements, was sent on its round-the-world promotional trip to reassure the public of the jetliner’s safety. But the accidents had permanently damaged the plane’s reputation, and it was soon supplanted by other jetliner designs, especially the Boeing 707 and the Douglas DC-8.