Saturday, July 27, 2013

Happy birthday, Geoffrey de Havilland

It is the birthday of British aviation pioneer Sir Geoffrey de Havilland (1882), whose contributions to aircraft design led to several medals from the British Empire and knighthood in 1944. De Havilland both designed and tested his own aircraft. De Havilland-designed airplanes became the mainstay of the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. His Airco DH-2 proved to be superior to the German Fokker E fighter planes. the Airco DH-4, a single-engine bomber that could fly to 23,500 feet, was considered the best designed bomber during World War I. De Havilland's all-wood Mosquito fighter-bomber was one of the most celebrated planes of World War II. It could even outfly the renowned British Spitfire. After the war, De Havilland designed the world's first commercial jet airliner, the Comet. It went into service in 1949. De Havilland's autobiography is Sky Fever (1979).

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