A Design Destined for Disaster – The de Haviland Comet

Course Number: ED-2004
Credit: 2 PDH
Subject Matter Expert: James S. Bluma, P.E.
Price: $59.90 Purchase using Reward Tokens. Details
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Overview

In A Design Destined for Disaster – The de Haviland Comet, you'll learn ...

  • The misconceptions regarding the Comet window geometry as the cause of the mid-flight breakup of three new Comet 1 jetliners within one year
  • The real root cause of the catastrophic failures
  • Mistakes made by de Haviland Engineers when performing the pressure cabin testing to establish the safe-life rating of the aircraft
  • Fatigue resistance phenomena which de Haviland Engineers had introduced into their fuselage testing, but did not understand at the time

Overview

PDHengineer Course Preview

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Credit: 2 PDH

Length: 29 pages

Aircraft technology was advancing rapidly during the 2nd World War and by 1945 The Cabinet of The United Kingdom developed a highly secret plan to apply some of these latest technologies to beat the United States in the development and introduction of an advanced turbo-jet powered airliner which would give Britain a lasting foothold for dominance in a commercial market expected to burgeon after the war.

British aircraft manufacturer de Haviland was chosen for the project because it had demonstrated capabilities with turbo-jet engines when de Haviland produced Great Britain’s first jet fighter aircraft and its engine in 1943.

Though some of de Haviland's prior aircraft designs had shown both engineering creativity and ingenuity, the company had never built a sizeable all-metal aircraft before the Comet. This lack of experience with successful designs on which to base the Comet would make the development of this aircraft's structure a mostly experimental process which relied heavily on testing of unproven designs.

Due in part to material science phenomena not fully understood at the time, the testing performed by de Haviland on the pressure cabin was severely flawed. This defective testing gave engineers a false sense of security about the Comet airframe’s longevity in actual service. Between May, 1953 and April, 1954, three (3) Comet aircraft broke up in mid-flight in separate incidents, killing all of the passengers and crew on board. This course examines the causes of these disasters and the lessons learned by the aircraft industry.

 

Specific Knowledge or Skill Obtained

This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • How the Comet chapter in aviation history would significantly accelerate airliner safety by introducing fail-safe and damage-tolerance designs in airliners subsequently built by other manufacturers
  • Advanced aircraft systems developed by de Haviland for the Comet project which are still in use today
  • How the pressure cabin structure of the Comet differed from other airliner designs that were very successful
  • Various turbojet engine technologies successfully applied before more advanced materials became available

Certificate of Completion

You will be able to immediately print a certificate of completion after passing a multiple-choice quiz consisting of 15 questions. PDH credits are not awarded until the course is completed and quiz is passed.

Board Acceptance
This course is applicable to professional engineers in:
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PDHengineer Course Preview

Preview a portion of this course before purchasing it.

Credit: 2 PDH

Length: 29 pages

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