Remember the Comet?

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Airways Aero Club which was formed in 1948 to provide private flying training for the employees of British European Airways (BEA) and British Overseas Aircraft Corporation (BOAC). To mark this milestone, British Airways Flying Club (BAFC), the modern incarnation of AAC, commissioned Mick Allen Aircraft Resprays to apply a commemorative paint scheme to one of its current aircraft fleet.

The aircraft chosen was G-BSSX a 1988 Piper Cherokee Warrior II that previously carried the club’s current union flag based Chatham Dockyard colour scheme originally applied to BA Concordes, and in addition it was decided to reregister it with the highly appropriate letters G-SIXT.

The intention was to replicate as near as possible the colour schemes worn by BOAC and BEA Comet 4 aircraft in 1960, applying the BOAC colours to the left hand side of the Warrior and the BEA colours to the right hand side. Some concessions had to be made to conform to present day practice, including the CAA requirement to carry a 12 inch registration on the fuselage sides.

Considerable research was necessary to identify the correct colours that were used by each airline on their Comet fleets, and also to establish the correct positioning of the various insignia and logos. The BOAC Comets had bare metal lower surfaces and wings, but as this would be impractical on the Warrior these areas were sprayed silver and then lacquered to give a gloss effect. The BEA Comets had similar lower fuselages but had large red areas on the upper and lower wings, and this was replicated on the Warrior including the placing of the BEA logo on the underside of the right hand wing. Details of the iconic BOAC Speedbird logo were traced on the internet and a local graphics company generated a mask so that this could be sprayed on the left hand side of the tail fin. Warrior decals were placed as near as possible in the areas where the Comet name was applied on the original airliners.

The Warrior was subjected to our established respray procedure which entails chemically removing all old paint back to bare metal, thoroughly cleaning the airframe, applying etch and base primers, and flatting down the latter before the application of the finish coats.

The project was completed on 28th March and the aircraft flown back to the BAFC base at Wycombe Air Park the same day.