Crew recall the first transatlantic jet engine flight, in 1958

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The Comet 4 was delivered to BOAC on the 30th of September 1958 and flew across the Atlantic on the 4th of October, which was quite a surprise to some people, not least because it was so fast. “The Comet 4 was a firm favourite with pilots, as it was nice to fly and the design meant it was quite easy to make smooth landings,” said Captain Hugh Dibley FRAeS, a former Comet 4 navigator. “It also had great passenger appeal due to its beautiful appearance and take-off performance.”

Peggy Thorne, one of the original cabin crew members of BOAC’s de Havilland Comet 4 aircraft in 1950

One of the original cabin crew members, Peggy Thorne, 91, joined BOAC in 1950. Nearly 60 years later, Peggy recalls the inaugural: “It was so exciting to be the first – it was wonderful. There were all sorts of dignitaries on board, press and the chairman of BOAC. It was a thrilling experience. We served customers madeira biscuits and coffee when they came on board, followed by cocktails and canapes, and then a five-course lunch with wines. Petit Fours followed and then there was Afternoon Tea! Our customers loved it – they ate and drank from when they got on board until the time they got off”

One of the original cabin crew members, Peggy Thorne, 91, joined BOAC in 1950 and was hand-picked to serve customers on the first flight. Here her successors at BA serve her in 2018

Captain Hugh Dibley FRAeS, a former BOAC Comet 4 Navigator and later Boeing pilot. Photo: Nick Morrish/British Airways

Back in 1958, Comet 4 could fly just 48 customers every day from London. In 1958 a ticket to travel on the Comet cost the equivalent of £8,000. Today, a return flight costs from £292

Captain Hugh Dibley FRAeS, a former BOAC Comet 4 Navigator and later Boeing pilot

Captain Hugh Dibley FRAeS, a former BOAC Comet 4 Navigator who later became a Boeing pilot. Photo: Nick Morrish/British Airways

BOAC passengers boarding the first transatlantic jet engine flight on 4 October, 1958

BOAC, British Airways’ predecessor, operated the first transatlantic jet engine flight on 4 October, 1958, beating arch-rival Pan Am to become the first to do so. The de Havilland Comet 4 aircraft reduced the flight time between London and New York to seven hours – significantly less than the 18-20 hours it took on the Boeing Stratocruiser

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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