The Comet Racers Uncovered

The story of the iconic winner of the greatest air race ever at a pivotal moment in aviation history has never been fully told, those of its stablemates even less so. Only five de Havilland DH 88 Comets were ever built. With one restored to flying condition and another on the way, the ever-growing community of enthusiasts have, bit by bit, been unearthing the astonishing truth. This 48-page book focuses on the new, the arcane, and the cultural heritage of perhaps the most beautiful aeroplanes ever made. It is packed with facts and profusely illustrated with rare and informative photographs.

Large format, 48 pages. Monochrome interior, colour illustrations on back cover. ISBN 9-781716-095429.

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"Always interested in ... this beautiful art deco masterpiece" — Nick Stroud, Editor, The Aviation Historian

"This is a book written by an acknowledged authority on this subject which includes the great Mildenhall - Melbourne Air Race of 1934. Although only five original machines were built by de Havilland, specifically for the Great Air Race, the Comet Racers have achieved nothing short of cult status. With only one surviving flying example, the race winner 'Grosvenor House', there are replicas and re-builds to be found. Inextricably involved in the Comet story is the great British pioneer aviatrix Amy Johnson, and her husband Jim Mollison. Through painstaking research and careful study, Inchbald has brought the DH.88 Comet story bang up to date. No-one with an interest in the subject should be without this essential book." — Stuart P Evans


  • The Comet Breed: Overview, from their genesis to their makers, restorers and engines.
  • Amy Johnson’s Black Magic: The first Comet and its lives as racer Portuguese trailblazer and slow climb back towards the light.
  • The Lady in Red: The triumph, the RAF, the rebuild by Essex Aero in new guise, the return to the red dress and second rebuild.
  • The Mail Planes: The green racer turned mail plane, its French alter ego and stablemate.
  • The Lost Boomerang: The Comet that didn't come back, despite its name.
  • Facts and Figures: Builds, liveries, flights, people.
  • Derivatives and Replicas: Aircraft and projects inspired by the Comet.
  • Copies and Models: An icon of the era doesn't have to be able to fly.
  • Colour liveries and details (cover): Invaluable detail for recognition and reproduction.

Corrections and omissions

  • Copyrights page: Front cover, lower image of the Airepair replica in Black Magic livery. Copyright not known.
  • p.3, col 2: Bernard Rubin, not Arthur.
  • p.27, col 1: Jean Batten, not Joan.
  • p.39, para 5, line 2: Thought not though.
  • p.46: Sharp and Scott's entries in the wrong order.
  • Back cover: H608 was later applied to G-ACSR/FANPY, not to F-ANPZ.
Front cover Back cover

Updated 24 April 2021