De Havilland and Hatfield 1936-1993

Philip Birtles

At Hatfield Aerodrome de Havilland created the WW2 Mosquito, the first multi role combat aircraft. De Havilland companies pioneered turbojet development, leading to the Comet, the world's first commercial jet airliner. De Havilland developed guided missiles and the Blue Streak rocket. The DH 108 was the first aircraft exceed Mach 1 outside the USA.
Date Published :
September 2020
Publisher :
Fonthill Media
Illustration :
215 black & white
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781781557631
Pages : 224
Dimensions : 9.21 X 6.14 inches
Stock Status : In stock


With the approach of WW2 the de Havilland Aerodrome at Hatfield went through a major expansion, concentrating on Mosquito production and development. The Company also pioneered the production and development of jet engines led by Major Frank Halford, leading to the Vampire jet fighter. Early commercial aircraft were the Dove and Heron, but the major pioneering program was the Comet, the world’s first commercial jet airliner, which first flew on 27 July 1949 and entered service with BOAC on 2 May 1952. The DH.108 tailless research aircraft based on the Vampire fuselage was used to investigate the effects of the speed of sound, exceeding Mach 1 on 9 September 1948. The de Havilland jet airliner developed through the Trident, which was the first aircraft capable of automatic landing with passengers in all weathers, leading to the BAe 146 Whisper Jet, Britain’s most successful jet airliner. In addition to developing turbojet engines, the Engine Company also developed rocket engines. The Propeller Company developed air-to-air guided missiles and the Blue Streak stage 1 booster space rocket. Other types developed by de Havilland at Hatfield were the Sea Vixen naval strike fighter and the DH 125 Business Jet.

About The Author

Philip Birtles joined the de Havilland Aeronautical School as an engineering apprentice in September 1957. Following training, he joined John Cunningham— the chief test pilot as PA. Philip was then appointed deputy PR Manager at Hawker Siddeley Aviation, before moving to BAe Dynamics Group at Stevenage as PR Manager. A return was made to Hatfield with responsibility for customer acceptances for the BAe.146 airliner, until the factory closed in early 1994. Philip has written some 40 books on aerospace, his first one being published in 1980 and has been involved with the de Havilland Aircraft Museum for over 40 years.


Foreword; 1 Leading Up to War; 2 Second World War: Mosquito; 3 Second World War: Vampire and Hornet; 4 Second World War: Supporting the War Effort; 5 Post-War Feederliner Developments; 6 Jet and Rocket Development; 7 Jet Fighter Developments; 8 Comet: The World’s First Jet Airliner; 9 de Havilland Propellers; 10 Blue Streak; 11 DH 110 and Sea Vixen; 12 Comet 4; 13 DH 121 Trident and DH 125 Business Jet; 14 Airbus Wing: Centre of Excellence; 15 Bae 146: Britain’s Most Successful Jet Airliner; Further Reading.


" excellent account of the consolidation of the British aviation industry and the disappearance, over time, of some of the great names in British aviation."

- Air Power History

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