The first British swept-wing jet. The first British tailless jet. The first British jet through the sound barrier. The de Havilland DH108 was at the forefront of research into the unknown in the early years of transonic flight and symbolised the danger, excitement and sense of national pride in an aviation industry reaching outwards after the deprivations of war. It was a courageous design flown by courageous men, three of whom paid with their lives. This is the illustrated story of that aircraft and the men who flew it into new territories of speed, of the risks taken and the price paid in the pioneering age of high speed flight.
Brian Rivas grew up in Hampshire in the 1940s and 50s and developed what was to become a lifelong interest in aviation, particularly the early British jet age and test pilots. A journalist in the county for 25 years, latterly as editor of The Andover Advertiser, he was originator and co-author of John Derry -The Story of Britain’s First Supersonic Pilot, now in its second edition. Brian has lived in Somerset since 1990 where he and his partner, former newspaper manager Alison Holmes, turned a love of music into a hi-fi consultancy and from where he has continued to pursue his aviation.