If you have ever wondered why commercial passengers planes have round windows, Channel 4 recently aired “A Great British Air Disaster,” an excellent documentary chronicling the rise and fall of the De Havilland Comet and by default, the fall of British aviation and manufacturing.
The De Havilland Comet was conceived during World War II as the world’s first passenger jet airliner and it was an instant hit with the public when it came into service in 1952. However and in the space of just four months in 1954, two aircraft blew up in mid-air killing all aboard. The ensuing investigation into what caused the crashes led to the birth of modern aircraft crash investigations, round windows becoming standard on all aircraft to prevent metal fatigue and ultimately to the rise of Boeing.
Both the Guardian and the Telegraph have reviews of “A Great British Air Disaster” and if you missed it the first time, its scheduled to air again on Friday, March 1, at 1:10 am and 2:10 am. If you don’t want to wait up that late, you might want to keep an eye on YouTube as someone is bound to upload the documentary on there.
However, it appears that the full episode of “Seconds From Disaster – Comet Air Crash,” another documentary dating from 2006 about the De Havilland Comet crashes, is posted on YouTube and is well worth watching: