shiny red comet in the daylight sky will have aviation enthusiasts at EAA
AirVenture 2009 admiring an exquisite replica of a historic airplane: the
de Havilland DH. 88 Comet Racer.
The replica, owned by Tom Wathen, will
arrive at AirVenture to be put on static display near the Red Barn in the
Vintage aircraft parking area. With a top speed of 235 mph at 10,000 ft,
this marvelous replica can be celebrated during the week of the World's
Greatest Aviation Celebration.
The original Comets, and Wathen's replica
built by Bill Turner, are built on all-wood frames and are powered by two
Gipsy Queen 6-cylinder, 225 hp engines. It took two years of meticulous
engineering to complete the Comet designed after the original named "Grosvenor
House." Bill Turner was the first to bring it to Oshkosh in 1993.
This replica is a flyable artifact of Aviation's Golden Age, admired by
thousands for its sleek, clean appearance.
In 1934, Geoffrey de Havilland completed
three Comets to participate in a race from England to Australia, as part
of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Australian State of
Victoria. Grosvenor House won the race effortlessly and the aircraft was
later upgraded to a Mosquito Bomber for WWII.
An original, priceless Comet has been
restored and remains in England.