DE HAVILLAND VAMPIRE T11
Entering service in April 1946, the de Havilland Vampire was the RAF’s second jet fighter aircraft,
About the aircraft
With some notable “first” achievements of its own, including the first RAF fighter with a top speed exceeding 800km/h (500mph), the first jet to land and take-off from an aircraft carrier in December 1945 and, in July 1948, the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The Fighter and Fighter/Bomber versions were singleseat but the Night Fighter and Trainer aircraft (as displayed here today) were twin-seat. The Vampire was adapted for Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm use as the Sea Vampire and was widely exported.
Jet aerobatic teams
In July 1947, 54 Squadron RAF formed the world’s first jet aerobatic team when three Vampires displayed at the Grand International Aeronautical Gala in Belgium. Another first came at the 1950 Farnborough Air Show when 54 Squadron displayed using the now familiar red, white and blue smoke. There were many other RAF display teams in the UK, and overseas, who flew Vampires during the 1950s, and some of the many export customers including Australia, Canada and Italy, also flew Vampires in aerobatic teams. Although by 1960 the Vampire was being replaced in RAF service by the Jet Provost, the Central Flying School (CFS) formed a four aircraft team of Vampires called “Pelican Red”.
The people behind the design
Ronald Eric Bishop, CBE, FRAeS, (1903-1989), was the chief designer of the Vampire. He also designed the de Havilland Mosquito, which was one of the most famous aircraft of the Second World War, known as “the Wooden Wonder”, due to its innovative construction from plywood and balsa wood.
||10.54m (34ft 7in)
||4 x 20mm cannon
||15 November 1950