Flying into Wroughton – thirty years on

Earlier this week I was at our site at Wroughton, Wiltshire, where I met a very special visitor. Joe Wright, together with his family, came to see one of our aircraft, a De Havilland Comet 4B jet. But it wasn’t the first time Joe saw our Comet at Wroughton – he was the very pilot who flew it in, thirty years ago! I was thrilled to meet him and talk about his experience.

Captain Joe Wright, 18 November 2009

Captain Joe Wright, 18 November 2009

The final flight of the Dan-Air-owned Comet 4B number G-APYD was also the last ever flight of this particular type of aircraft, as by the late seventies they had reached the end of their working life. We jumped at the opportunity of buying one (at a knock-down price), and on 1 November 1979 Captain Wright took its controls for the last time to bring it from London Gatwick to Wroughton. The co-pilot, Bryn Wayt, now runs the Dan-Air Staff Association, and tells the story here.

De Havilland Comet 4B jet at Science Museum Wroughton (Science Museum / Science & Society)

De Havilland Comet 4B jet at Science Museum Wroughton (Science Museum / Science & Society)

Thirty years on, the Comet forms a key part of the National Aeronautical Collection alongside such iconic craft as the Douglas DC-3 and the Boeing 247D, which I mentioned in a previous post.

2 thoughts on “Flying into Wroughton – thirty years on

  1. Bryn Wayt

    Joe emailed me about his visit to your fine museum – and what a grand day he had seeing his aircraft. I can hardle believe 30 years have passed since we flew “YD” into your airfield. Time flies alright! I retired from all flying in April 1998 from BA (after the they bought DA for a song). The other deH Comet that some of the DA chaps/”hosties” looked after was “DB” up at DUXFORD. When it was outside we used to ‘man’ the aircraft and explain first-hand to visitors what it was like to fly Comets. Now “DB” is inside and in BOAC colours – a paint job which caused lots of upset within DA circles, as the old contract/lease agreed by both parites stated the machine was to be kept in DA livery and be available for public viewing. Both of these conditions have since melted. Nothing lasts forever, as they say! I’m pleased to see “XYD” in such fine shape – her fuselage looks in far better condition than mine! Ha Ha. Hope this finds you well David.

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  2. Marcus de Mowbray

    One of my earliest memories is of crawling around the cabin of an airliner and looking up at all the people in their seats. We lived in Montevideo, and were returning there from a holiday in England in a Comet. I was far too young to know much about flying, but later we moved to Washington DC and myself and my brother flew there every school holiday, mostly Boeing 707s and DC8s, but my favourite by far were the Vickers Super VC 10s which we sometimes went on.

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