The Race Begins - de Havilland DH.88 Comet

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MacRobertson Air Race Aircraft Aviation Art Print Painting by Artist Chris French FGAvA



6:30 a.m. 20th October 1934. de Havilland DH.88 Comet 'Black Magic' piloted by Jim and Amy (nee Johnson) Mollison is first to leave the start line at Mildenhall airfield, UK at the beginning of the MacRobertson air race. Sponsored by wealthy Australian industrialist Macpherson Robertson, twenty aircraft set off from the Suffolk airfield bound for Melbourne, Australia.


Twelve aircraft completed the whole journey, the race being won by Charles Scott and Tom Campbell Black in the red DH.88 Comet 'Grosvenor House'. They crossed the finishing line at Flemington racecourse at 3:34 p.m. on 23rd October, a record time in the air of 70 hours, 54 minutes, 18 seconds. This aircraft is preserved in flying condition at Old Warden as part of the Shuttleworth Collection.


The race attracted huge numbers of people, keen to see the aircraft depart.

To quote from 'Mildenhall to Melbourne' by Stuart McKay, “Nobody had realized that public interest in the start of the Race, timed for a dawn take-off, would encourage an estimated 60,000 spectators into the country lanes of Suffolk.” 

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