Sir Geoffrey de Havilland – father of the first passenger jet (1882)

Sir Geoffrey de Havilland – father of the first passenger jet (1882)

On July 27, 1882, Geoffrey de Havilland, a British early aircraft designer, entrepreneur and pilot, was born. Already in his twenties he began work on the construction of his first spacecraft, just a few years after the first flight of the famous Wright brothers. In 1920, he founded a company called De Havilland Aircraft Company Limited, which began producing biplane passenger and military aircraft. During World War II, the company produced successful De Havilland DH 98 Mosquito military aircraft, which were characterized by multiple functionality. De Havilland became especially famous for its first jet passenger aircraft (De Havilland Comet, which entered commercial use in 1952).

Unfortunately, Geoffrey de Havilland and his company were accompanied by severe tragedies. As many as two of his sons were killed as test pilots, one in a De Havilland DH 98 Mosquito aircraft and the other in an experimental De Havilland DH 108 Swallow jet. Furthermore, the aforementioned De Havilland Comet passenger jets, despite being the pride of British industry and technology, soon became infamous as they experienced as many as three catastrophic crashes in the first two years of their commercial use with a high death toll. Geoffrey de Havilland retired in 1955, and interestingly, he occasionally flew airplanes until he was as old as 70 years old. He died in the English city of Watford in 1965, at the age of 83.

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