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  • Derby Airfield,
  • Egginton,
  • DE65 6GU
  • Tel: +44 (0) 1283 733803

Latest News

G-ACSP “Black Magic” Planking Bottom Surface - 28/05/2019

Volunteers at The Amy Johnson Workshop at Derby Aero Club have started on the bottom surface planking for DH88 Comet “Black Magic”  G-ACSP.  It will be a double diagonal pattern.

“Black Magic” G-ACSP nears wing planking stage! - 25/02/2019

The seemingly endless yet engaging jobs of finishing the central blocking, stringers, noggins and ribs is nearly done for “Black Magic” G-ACSP so that very soon the first layer of planking on the under surface can commence. All materials have been sourced and sliced for this, with the first planks planned for fitting


First Fitting of Top Planking and Undercarriage Retraction System G-RCSR - 25/02/2019

Much progress to report for G-RCSR, the tribute replica DH88 Comet for G-ACSR built in flying condition to de Havilland plans. After the last reported wing turn over, some of the top planking has been done leaving space for the undercarriage retract system to be fitted and trialled. The main mechanism requires many parts, all bespoke made to plan. The wing has been raised to a higher height by tractor lift onto a new table jig so that the full undercarriage can swing down and up again. As well the cockpit Perspex has arrived for trial fitting and the engines build is making steady progress.

November 2017 Wing Turn Over Day G-RCSR - 29/07/2018

Some Images of the G-RCSR wing ready in the jigs for turning over.

The process is very simple.

A new jig is built on top of the base one.

Note : The bottom surface is inverted and has the two undercarriage and engine frames fitted.  The bottom surface double planking is complete.




A view of the whole wing with the two jigs.

The wing is entirely supported in the middle.

It is able to do this due to the double diagonal planking.




The Happy Team on completion after the work is done.

The wing is both light enough and strong with the complete planking to be man handled.

The only caution was to mind the wing tips which are only in single thin plywood.



The wing is literally turned over.

It first goes over to 90 degrees laying flat on both of the jigs.

The wing is then pushed upright onto the new jig.

The wing now stands in flying position with the planked bottom surface downwards and the undercarriage hanging down.



The wing is now pushed up horizontally







Finally the whole wing assembly is pushed back into the working position.







What the wing looks like from the top ready for varnishing internally.

The next job is all the internal fittings.

Then all the top diagonal and central planking.




A wingtip from the top.

Job done. The whole wing, all 44 feet, in the new position.

The old bottom jig, now on top, will be removed.





New Aquisition – The “Galleria Comet” July 2018 - 29/07/2018

In July 2018, the Comet Racer Project has acquired the 7/8th Scale DH88 Model that formerly was hung until 2006 in the Galleria Shopping Centre in Hatfield.  Acknowledgements are due to the Galleria, the DH Museum, Sywell Aviation Museum and Derby Aero Club for ensuring its survival over the last 12 years.  Many thanks to Ben Brown and his team at the Sywell Aviation Museum for their help in making the move possible from their storage space to Derby Aero Club.  Please Note :  This is NOT a flying machine, it did not fly and never did.  It is robustly and very well made but has been roughly handled when it was taken down so needs much work.   The intention is restore it to the original condition and colour as a display piece and as an inspirational project for volunteers.  To keep from any confusion that this is one of the original five DH88 Comets (It is NOT!) it will always be referred to as the “Galleria Comet” and any information about it, would be most welcome.



Comet Racer Project Facebook Group 900+ members - 29/07/2018

As at July 2018, our Facebook Comet Racer Project Group has 900 plus members providing an active and alert community on “All Things DH88 Comet” which gives a broad theme to explore, such  as the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race, with locations and events in that race, all the aircraft types of that time relevant to the Race, the continuing news on the build progress of G-ACSP “Black Magic and sister replica G-RCSR, both to flying condition and much more.  This Group has learnt of many new facts about these iconic machines with original photographs being found and has run a successful campaign to correct many of the promoted errors on the Internet and will continue to do so.  Please feel free to ask for membership and join from the usual points on the Internet.  You would be made welcome!

G-RCSR Progress July 2017 - 29/07/2018

Nose ConeThis July 2017 News update report covers the progress on the build of the sister project to “Black Magic” G-ACSP at DerbyNose Cone 2 Aero Club, namely G-RCSR a fully flying Comet replica built as a homage to the original record setting G-ACSR the Green Comet. ( These photos from the nearby workshop)   Mick Sharpe of Western Coachworks in Derby has constructed the basics of the nose cone, seen here angled photo and fitted on the fuselage.   In addition, as can be seen, painting of the upper front cover of the fuselage along with most of the empennage (tail sections), has been carried out in racing green and has come out pretty well but will need more coats reports builder Ken Fern seen here holding the rudder for which a supporter has promisedPainting 3 sign painting Race Number and Union Jack as in the original.  The most exciting stage of wing planking is now in full swing with the 60 degree angled cross planking on the bottom surface.  These next photos show the stages of progress in this work which requires great accuracy.  This first layer has to be planed down before the next opposite layer goes on top.  This stressed skin gives immense strength when complete with the slight gap left infilled with a ply skin.

Planking 3  Planking 1 Planking 2

More Support (and Glue) from TS Resins - 16/02/2017

Following their first donation of glue product last year, Kevin Bardsley and Paul de Wolf of TS Resins of MoTS Resins Kevin and Paul Donation 2nd Feb 2017 (2)ld, North Wales have popped in again with some more donations of their excellent glues.  With the recent cold weather their better hardener, that will work at lower temperatures, is welcome for our use in what can be cold workshops.    Their support for this project goes beyond their generous donation, they have a real passion for aircraft and a great interest in seeing how the restoration work is progressing.  We thank them very much.   TS Resins, Alyn Works, Denbigh Road, Mold, Flintshire, CH7 1BF     kevin.bardsley@tsresins.co.uk 01352 757657.

Update on Sister Project : G-RCSR Replica Build January 2017 - 31/01/2017

Ken Build 2017 2The third of the three original DH88 Comets built for the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race was G-ACSR (The Green Comet), which is now being built as a replica registered as G-RCSR to have as close a registration as possible.  The original Comet was sold to the French Government in 1936 as F-ANPY in addition to a brand new Comet F-ANPZ, both now lost and presumably destroyed.  Ken Fern, who is part of the DH88 Comet “Black Magic” restoration group started this sister build as part of the long term dream of seeing three Comets flying together for the first time since 1934.


Ken Fern and Spars

G-RCSR is now in a new workshop close to Derby Aero Club and is progressing well with the fuselage completed, cockpit canopy and some fittings built and whole wing joined with much of the metal work fitted.  Wood for the wing planking has been sourced.  Ken Fern is funding this project himself with donations from family and friends, plus the help, support and encouragement of the Black Magic Project.  Ken is always keen to hear from anyone interested in supporting this project and shares his news on the Comet Racer Project Facebook Group.

Comet Racer Project 2016 Summary - 06/01/2017

drilled-blocks-jan-2017-1The Comet Racer Project, the restoration to flying condition of the De Havilland DH88 Comet G-ACSP “Black Magic” at Derby Aero Club, continues to progress successfully.  The year has been described as the year of metalwork, remarkably for an all wood aircraft!  With the completion of the whole 44ft wingspan, spars with ribs and centre joined, the vital part of preparing for the two undercarriage and engine mount sections fittings nears completion.  All bespoke metalwork, unique to each wing was fabricated through cutting, folding and welding, offered up and adjusted, bolt depths calculated, then finally fitted.  the spacer blocks were made and on the first days of 2017 initially drilled (See Photo).  The key significance of this work cannot be overlooked, the undercarriage and engines must all be in the correct lines.  In addition, this work once done, cannot be returned to when the wing is finally covered.  Much other work has also progressed, the cockpit begins to look much fuller with control fitting starting as with the tail skid assembly.

The Comet Racer Project has been most encouraged by the ongoing interest and support, from the beneficial and inspirational links to the Shuttleworth Collection G-ACSS “Grosvenor House”, donations from sponsors and visitors to the workshop, website interest and particularly the Facebook Comet Racer Group which, in less than a year, has more than 500 supporters, many of whom have contributed significant information on all the five original Comets.    Two further report sections will be added later this year on the Facebook Group and also the well advanced sister project by Ken Fern to build the DH88 “Green Comet” G-RCSR (In homage to G-ACSR, F-ANPY).  Thanks to all who have supported the Comet Racer Project.

Comet Racer Project Group - Aircraft Restoration - Derby Aero Club & Flying School, Derby Airfield, Egginton, DE65 6GU - Telephone: +44 (0) 1283 733803

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