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WH480. Flown by the Officer
Commanding No. 41 Squadron
when based at RAF Biggin Hill
in the early 1950s. It remained
on this squadron for the whole
of its active life being sold for
scrap in January 1958.
Drawings by David Howley
I By Tony Buttler AMRAeS
n the early evening of 15 May 1941 the
English countryside experienced for the
first time the distinct whining sound of
an aircraft flying under power provided by a
jet engine. This was the maiden flight of
Britain's first jet aircraft, a research machine
called the Gloster E.28/39 designed to
explore and advance the theory and practica-
bility of jet flight. The engine was the brain-
child of Frank Whittle and its development
is one of the most celebrated of all aviation
stories. Despite thoughts of fitting guns to
the little E.28/39, it was never going to be
suitable as a combat aircraft; for that a dif-
ferent aeroplane was needed and the design
of this, what was to become the Meteor, was
already underway.
The Gloster Meteor holds the distinction of
being the first British jet fighter to fly, to
enter squadron service and to go into com-
bat. It entered service in 1944 but, like the
Spitfire, no-one could have predicted at that
stag_e how it would serve so successfully for
so long and in so many versions. For a pio-
neer aircraft the Meteor was to prove highly
profitable in the export market, something
not every 'first of type' manages to achieve.
The fi rst Meteor prototype, but not the first to fly,
was OG202 shown here as the Yatesbury Gate
Guard, a role It performed from March 1958.
When first flown it lacked the tall/fin bullet fair-
Ing or 'acorn'. (A.W. Hall)
It took Frank Whittle years of effort to get
his jet propulsion system accepted by both
the aircraft industry and Ministry. However,
once construction of the E.28/39 was under-
way, it was soon realised that the develop-
ment of a twin engine single seat fighter util-
ising this new power source would be high-
ly desirable and Specification F.9/40 and
OR.86 were produced in mid-November
1940 to cover it. This stated that the 'salient
advantage of this system of propulsion is the
possibility of speeds, particularly at high
altitudes, which would not be possible to
obtain by the orthodox arrangement of
engine and airscrew'. Top speed at 30,000ft
(9,144m) was not to be less than 430mph
Meteor F.Mk.J EE275 Is seen In Germany In April
1945 as YQ:Q of No. 616 Squadron. One of the
first colour pictures taken of an operational
Meteor (RAF Museum)
By the end of 1940 Gloster had instruc-
tions to proceed at all speed with the com-
pletion of the twin-engine fighter and its
design had to take precedence over all other
work. Sir Henry Tizard attached great
importance to it, despite the concept of a jet
fighter being unproven, but he felt that it
should be possible to achieve practical suc-
cess in time to influence the war.
Unfortunately it was not possible to judge
how much power would be available from
Whittle's engine. At 1,400Jb (6.2kN) thrust,
the aircraft's all-round performance as an
interceptor would only just be as effective as
the Spitfire Mk.III whereas 1,800lb (8kN)
offered a possible 470mph (756km/h) at
30,000ft (9, 144m) and a better ceiling.
Gloster examined fitting six 20mm Hispano
cannon but preferred four, regarding the last
pair as overload. By mid-January 1941 the
cockpit, fuselage and fuU wing mock-up
were all well underway.
On 21 May, six days after the E.28/39' s
landmark frrst flight, Hawker Siddeley' s
Frank Spriggs wrote (to J.S. Buchanan at the
Ministry of Aircraft Production [MAP])
' There is little doubt that the development of
the Gloster Whittle project as a military type
is absolutely essential and in view of the
very satisfactory progress of the [E.28/39]
test machine, such development should be
regarded as star priority' . ln June 300
F.9/40s were to be ordered (confirmed on 8
August) but the aircraft's planned Whittle
W.2 engine was showing signs of surging
and running too hot at high revolutions.
By September, the F.9/40 was unofficially
Above and left: Two views of short-lived proto-
type DG204/G with underslung MetroVick F.2
axial engines In what was possibly the most
attractive form of nacelle seen on any Meteor.
Venue probably Cheltenham as the date is July
1943; the first taxiing trials did not begin until 3
August. Note the lack of tail 'acorn' fairing -this
was the original Meteor tail. (Eric Morgan)
called ' Thunderbolt'. In February 1942 it
was agreed the type should be referred to as
the 'Gloster F.9/40' instead of using unau-
thorised names which now also included
' Meteor' . Gloster was loath to suggest a
name since the frrrn felt that the secrecy of
the project would be better safeguarded if it
was referred to by the specification number.
However, Meteor did become the agreed
choice in the early summer of 1942.
Frank Whittle's career is well documented
but the Meteor's designer, George Carter, is
less well known. Carter's achievement in
producing both E.28/39 and Meteor to take a
brand new type of engine with relatively lit-
tle trouble has been underestimated. Quite
rightly, Whittle got the publicity for devel-
oping the jet, but his excellent working rela-
tionship with Carter was vital. Carter joined
Sopwith as Chief Draughtsman in 1916 and
then became Chief Designer for Hawker, his
products including the Heron and Hombill
fighters. He was succeeded by Sydney
Camm but in 1927 designed the Crusader
seaplane for Shorts. After periods at de
Havilland and Avro he became Gloster's
Chief Designer in 1937 and his first design
was the F.9/37 piston fighter; the E.28/39
and the Meteor followed. Carter' s efforts on
jet aircraft were recognised with the award
of a CBE and in 1948 he became Gloster's
Technical Director. R.W. Walker assumed
full responsibility for the F.9/40 from 19
July 1943 so that Carter could prepare new
DG202 preserved in the form t hat It was first
flown complete with 'Guard' serial DG202/G.
~ d
~ r
~ d
~ d
: a
Gloster Meteor camouflage and markings
Black White Yellow
CJ - - Light
Ale Grey
R.Red R.Biue Aluminium Dk.Green
Drawings by David Howley
- ---
Sea Grey
Dk.Sea Extra Dk. PRU
Grey Sea Grey Blue
Gloster Meteor prototype DG202/G
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.J EE239:YQ-Q of No. 616
Squadron, 2 TAF Lubeck, Germany, June 1945.
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.J EE337:051-FD navalised version for 778
Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, at RNAS Ford in the early 1950s.
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4 VT328:L of No. 263 Squadron, RAF
Wattisham in 1950.
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4 VT293:KR-K of No. 226 Operational
Conversion Unit, RAF Stradishall, June 1950.
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4 EF-22:GE-A of No. 349
Squadron, Belgian Air Force in the earl y 1950s.
No. 349 Squadron badges
on nose a n ~ d nacelles
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4 478 of 723 Esk (formerly the 3rd
Air Flotilla) Royal Danish Air Force in 1951.
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4 1610 of the
Egyptian Air Force in the late 1950s.
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4 C-038 of the Argentinian Air
Force in 1961. Special markings for La Fiesta del Trigo
at Leones, Cordoba province.
left: Meteor F.Mk.1 and F.Mk.3 aircraft of No. 616
Squadron seen immediately after the war in
1945 when based at Lubeck, Germany. The
closest aircraft, YQ:D, Is Mk.1 EE219 while YQ:H
behind Is Mk.3 EE235. (via A.W.Hall)
Twelve prototype F.9/40s were ordered in
February 1941 serialed DG202 to DG213;
this was cut to seven by late 1942 but the
total reached eight when it was decided to
complete DG209 for a Rolls-Royce
W.2B/37 trial installation (the centre section
ofDG210 was also finished but cancelled on
choosing not to use it as a second MetroVick
F.2 airframe). The first examples were
hand-constructed in the Hucclecote experi-
mental shop except for the third built in
Gloster's Cheltenham shop. During the war
all prototypes and production aircraft had
the suffix 'G' added to their serials which
signified 'Guard'. At the start of 1942, a
maiden flight was expected in May and
orders were given forbidding the use of
Whittle type engines on dusty aerodromes.
Work on the F.9/40 airframes proceeded rel-
atively smoothly apart from some sub-con-
tractors falling behind thus forcing Gloster
to make four rather than two front fuselages
and centre sections.
The Whittle engine was repeatedly held up
by sub-contractors, technical problems and
left: F.Mk.1 EE227 was probably the most pho-
tographed of early Meteors and is seen here as
YQ:Y of No. 616 Squadron in 1944. It then went
to RAE Farnborough for stability experiments
without the fin upper section above the tail. In
February 1945 it flew as the Trent Meteor.
{A.W.Hall/ MAP)
left: The first production F.Mk.1 was EE210 and
on 18 February 1944 it arrived at Muroc AFB on
loan to the Americans. Seen In USAAF mark-
Ings, It returned to Britain In Aprll1945. Note the
later type of jet pipe and tall 'acorn' are In place.
(MAP I Roger lindsay) lower left: Official pho-
tograph of F.Mk.1 EE223 which affords a good
view of the short nacelles, early style jet pipe
and original canopy. This machine never joined
a squadron spending Its enti re relatively short
career with the manufacturer, Boscombe Down
and then Rolls-Royce before being scrapped In
June 1946. (MAP)
politics, troubles which prevented any flight.
By mid-June Rover-built W.2Bs were
installed in DG202 and ground running fol-
lowed on the 29th but these units had insuf-
ficient power to fl y; the second prototype
was ten to twelve weeks behind (complete as
far as possible without engines by mid-
September), the third was under construc-
tion but the fourth barely started. Gloster's
performance in building five prototypes in
just over two years (the first in 18 months)
was highly praised at the Ministry, particu-
larly since detailed information on the
engines was not made available for well
over a year.
Besides Whittle's engine, developed by his
firm Power Jets with assistance from Rover
and then Rolls-Royce, two other jet propul-
sion engines also appeared: one designed by
Frank Halford and built by de Havilland, the
other from Metropolitan-Vickers to the gen-
eral designs of the Royal Aircraft
Establishment (RAE) which featured an
axial compressor (the others had centrifugal
compressors). Halford's engine was similar
to Whittle' s apart from a single-sided
impeller instead of the double entry type
employed by Power Jets. It was intended to
modify some F.9/40 airframes to fit these
left and below: EE227 modified In 1945 as the
turbo-prop Trent Meteor. The ground view
shows the f i ve-blade propeller, lengthened
undercarriage, early canopy and tall fin lets. The
air-to-air shot shows the anti -spin parachute
housi ng well beyond the fin trailing edge. In
1946-47 it flew with very short cropped blades
that looked somewhat out of proportion to the
airframe; It returned to F.Mk.1 form In October
1948 and was scrapped at the end of the year.
(Eric Morgan and MAP)
Meteor F.Mk.3 EE354 coded XL:H of No. 1335
Conversion Unit leads a group of three Meteors
at Molesworth in 1946. The CU later moved to
Bentwaters to become No. 226 OCU. (IWM)
Installation of the Metro Vick F.2 (later the
Beryl) was difficult and the simplest solu-
tion was to sling the engine under the wing
spars which meant practically no spar
redesign was necessary. This meant the
landing gear had to be extended and gave an
80lb (36kg) weight penalty, problems with
pitching moment and a rise in drag. The de
Havilland (DH) H.) gave less problems but,
being somewhat larger in diameter than the
W.2B, needed lengthened spars for the cen-
EE211 flew with extended nose nacelles from
November 1944 and additional rear extensions
were added In March 1945 together with W21700
engines to complete the first long nacelles. (Eric
tre section and a wider nacelle so increasing
the span. These engines were not Likely to
be ready until late 1942 or early 1943 but
delays with Rover-built W.2Bs resulted in
near cancellation of the whole programme.
When it became clear that the H.l was pro-
ceeding well, a decision was taken on 26
September 1942 to give the H.l precedence
over the F.2 and push it forward with high
priority, a move that ensured the first Meteor
to fly was actually the H.l prototype
The first brochure for an H.l F.9/40, or
Meteor Mk.2, was written in November.
Each engine gave 2,500lb ( 11.1 kN) thrust
and so predicted top speeds were higher than
for the W.2B - 470mph (756km/h) at sea
level and 490mph (788km/h) at 30,000ft
(9,144m) for what was in all respects a fully
operational machine. Fully developed, the
H.l was expected to give 3,000lb (l3.3kN)
thrust so offering speeds in excess of
500mph (805km/h) and exceptional rates of
climb to high altitude which made Gloster
declare that this would be a formidable
fighter proposition.
Some at the Ministry felt the Meteor was a
serious waste of effort and a that large num-
ber of highly-skilled staff could be better
employed on alternative types like the
Merlin 61 Mosquito. R.S. Sorley, Assistant
Chief of the Air Staff, wrote on 26 October
that the first Meteor with W.2B would be
disappointing due to lack of thrust, the H. l
would be quite good and the third (fully
developed Whittle engines) a superior type
but on service entry surpassed at high alti-
tude by the Westland Welkin. He concluded
that the Meteor 'will do no more than serve
as a useful high speed type for a very short
Below: Mk.3 EE307 seen at Flnnlngley In 1947 as
RAW:O of No. 616 Squadron having already
served with Nos. 74 and 263 Squadrons.

Vari ant
Prot otype F.9/40
F. Mk.1
NF. Mk.11
NF.Mk.1 2
NF. Mk.14
British Meteor Production
and planned production list
(All examples built by Gloster unless stated)
No. built Serial s Remarks
1 rebuild
DG202 to DG209
EE210 to EE229
From F.9/40 DG207
EE230 to EE254, EE269 to EE318, EE331 to EE369,
EE384 to EE429, EE444 to EE493;
Mk.3 EE360 converted as prototype, Civil G-AIDC (Gloster Aircraft),
EE517 to EE554, EE568 to EE599, RA365 to RA398, RA413 to
RA457, RA473 to RA493, VT102 to VT150, VT168 to VT199,
VT213 to VT247, VT256 to VT294, VT303 to VT347, VW255 to
VW304, VW308 to VW317, VW780 to VW791, VZ386 to VZ429
(built by Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft) VZ436 & VZ437 (AWA built)
(50 transferred to Argentina, 27 to Netherlands, 2 to Belgium and
7 to Egypt; some before reaching RAF Squadrons);
DG210 to DG213 cancelled
Used as prototype;
Mk.4 VT347 Converted as prototype;
Civil G-AKPK rebuilt from civil Mk.4 G-AIDC (Gloster Aircraft);
G-ANSO rebuilt from modified Mk.8 G-7-1 , EE530 and EE573 rebuilt
from Mk.4, VW410 to VW459, VW470 to VW489, VZ629 to VZ649,
WA590 to WA639, WA649 to WA698, WA707 to WA743, WF766
to WF795, WF813 to WF862, WF875 to WF883, WG935 to W<3950,
WG961 to WG999, WH112 to WH136, WH164 to WH209, WH215
to WH248, WL332 to WL381 , WL397 to WL436, WL453 to WL488,
WN309 to WN321 , WS103 to to WS117, WS140 to WS151, XF273
to XF279 (9 transferred to Australia, 20 to Belgium, 10 to Brazil, 3 to
Egypt, 12 to France, 3 to Israel, 42 to Netherlands, 2 to Syria; some
before reaching RAF Squadrons);
Mk.4 VT150 converted as prototype, Gloster private venture G-AMCJ
ground attack development (later G-7-1), VZ438 to VZ485, VZ493
to VZ517, VZ518 to VZ532 (AWA built), VZ540 to VZ569 (AWA built),
WA755 to WA794 (AWA built), WA808 to WA812 (AWA built), WA813
to WA857, WA867 to WA909, WA920 to WA964, WA965 to WA969
(AWA builtl , WA981 to WA999 (AWA built), WB105 to WB112
(AWA built , WE852 to WE891 (AWA built), WE895 to WE902 (AWA built),
WE903 to WE939, WE942 to WE976, WF639 to WF662 (AWA built),
WF677 to WF688 (AWA built), WF689 to WF716, WF736 to WF760,
WH249 to WH263 (AWA built), WH272 to WH320 (AWA built), WH342
to WH386 (AWA built), WH395 to WH426 (AWA built), WH442 to
WH484 (AWA built), WH498 to WH513 (AWA built), WK647 to
WK696, WK707 to WK756 (AWA built), WK783 to WK827, WK849
to WK893, WK906 to WK934 (AWA built), WK935 to WK955, WK966
to WK994, WL 104 to WL 143, WL158 to WL 191 (94 transferred to
Australia, 28 to Belgium, 12 to Egypt, 5 to Netherlands, 7 to Syria.
At least another 5 converted to U.Mk.21 drones for Australia,
a number of Australian Mk.8s also converted to U.Mk.21A drones);
VW360 to VW371 , VZ577 to VZ611 , WB113 to WB125, WB133 to WB143,
WH533 to WH557, WL255 to WL265, WX962 to WX981 (12 transferred to
Ecuador, 7 to Israel, 2 to Syria);
VS968 to VS987, VW376 to VW379, VZ620, WB153 to WB181, WH569 to WH573;
All AWA built except Mk.7 VW413 converted as prototype, WA546, WA547,
WB543, WD585 to WD634, WD640 to WD689, WD696 to WD745, WD751 to
WD800, WM143 to WM192, WM221 to WM270, WM292 to WM302, WM368 to
WM403 (all last two batches except WM292-295 & WM372-374 delivered direct
to France or Denmark; total transfers 1 to Australia, 24 to Belgium, 20 to Denmark,
41 to France);
All AWA built, Mk.11 WD687 converted as prototype, WD790 (ex-Mk.11),
WS590 to WS639, WS658 to WS700, WS715 to WS721 ;
All AWA built, WM308 to WM341 , WM362 to WM367 (6 transferred to Egypt,
2 to France, 6 to Israel, 6 to Syria);
All AWA built, Mk.11 WM261 converted as prototype, WS722 to WS760,
WS774 to WS812, WS827 to WS848 (2 transferred to France);
U.Mk.15 Conversions c90 by
from Mk.4s Includes EE521 , EE524, RA367, RA371, RA373, RA375, RA387, RA397, RA398,
RA415, RA417, RA420, RA421 , RA430, RA432, RA433, RA438, RA439, RA441,
RA442, RA454, RA457, RA473, RA479, VT104 to VT107, VT110, VT112,
VT113, VT118, VT130, VT135, VT139, VT142, VT168, VT175, VT177,
VT179, VT184, VT187, VT191, VT192, VT196, VT197, VT219, VT220,
VT222, VT226, VT230, VT243, VT256, VT259, VT262, VT268, VT270,
VT282, VT286, VT289, VT291 , VT294, VT310, VT316, VT319, VT329,
Continued at foot of next page
One of the two F.Mk.Js converted Into Sea
Meteors Is seen on the deck of the carrier HMS
Illustrious In 1949. (S. Woollard via A. W. Hall)
while, but it will provide a jet propelled air-
craft on which to gain experience' . In fact
the fighter's future was uncertain since, with
the W.2B, it would be outclassed, except
possibly in speed, by orthodox fighters.
However, jet fighters were seen essentially
as ' interceptors' thanks to a superior rate of
climb and, with no propeller, they could
always outdive a regular type.
By January 1943 work had begun at
Gloster on a fighter to E.S/42 with a single
H. l , a project in many ways based on the
original E.28/39. Delays getting the Meteor
into the air from hold-ups to engine deliver-
ies by Rover, plus availability of the 3,000lb
(13.3kN) thrust H.l , helped the push for an
alternative and on 19 January N.E. Rowe,
Director of Technical Development, wrote
that he wanted the E.5/42 to fly ' at the earli-
est possible moment' and ' in the event of
conflict between the Meteor and E.S/42, the
latter was to have priority'. Three E.5/42
serials were allocated in January but, despite
being seen as a more desirable aircraft all
round, the project faded away to be replaced
by a larger single jet fighter, the Gloster
E.l/44 Ace. This flew in prototype form
only from 1948 but was to effect the Meteor
programme as the second aircraft featured a
new high set tailplane which proved highly
successful and was adopted for the F.Mk.8.
It was well into 1943 before suitable W.2B
flight engines were available so the first
flight-ready prototype was indeed the H. I
DG206, two engines having been delivered
by 12 January but derated to 2,000lb (8.9kN)
thrust for early runs. RAF Cranwell was
chosen as the flight venue and DG206 was
Meteor production list Continued from previous page
Variant No. built Serials
taken there by road on 12 February in great
secrecy. The size of the aircraft's centre sec-
tion meant that on several occasions tele-
graph poles had to be moved out of the way.
On 3 March 1943 test pilot Michael Daunt
began taxi trials and on 5 March he lifted the
prototype off the ground for a first flight that
lasted a mere 3.5 minutes because a violent
side-to-side yawing was experienced caused
by an unbalanced rudder, a problem that was
fortunately easily cured.
Lack of security meant DG206 was moved
to Newmarket for its next flight, on 17 April,
but there were problems here too, not least
that the testing of this vital secret project had
to be stopped for the fortnightly race meet-
ing. Meteor production capacity was con-
sidered in early 1942, a problem being the
production demands on Gloster for the
Typhoon, and it was realised that the fighter
would be seriously held up unless a large
aerodrome was available as a flight test loca-
tion. After several venues were rejected, the
F.Mk.J Sea Meteor EE337 sports naval livery
after being transferred to the Royal Navy In
March 1952 where It j oined No. 778 Squadron.
(A.W. Hall/MAP)
VT330, VT332, VT334, VT338, VVV258, VVV266, VVV273, VVV275, VVV276, VVV280,
VVV285, VVV293, VVV299, VVV303, VVV308, VVV781 , VVV791 , VZ386, VZ389, VZ401 ,
VZ403, VZ407, VZ414, VZ415, VZ417;
(later D.Mk.16)
Conversi ons
c100 by
from Mk.Ss Includes VZ445, VZ485, VZ506, VZ508, VZ514, VZ551 , WA756, WA775 (prototype),
WA842, WA982, WA991 , WE867, WE872, WE915, WE932, WE934, WE960, WE962, WF706,
WF707, WF711 , WF716, WF743, WF751 , WF755, WF756, WH258, WH284,
WH286 (last conversion), WH309, WH315, WH320, WH344, WH349, WH359,
WH365, WH369, WH372, WH373, WH376, WH381 , WH420, WH453, WH460,
WH499, WH500, WH505, WH506, WH509, WK648, WK693, WK709, WK710, WK717,
WK729, WK738, WK743, WK745 to WK747, WK783, WK784, WK789, WK790,
WK793, WK795, WK797, WK799, WKSOO, WK807, WK812, WK852, WK855, WK857, WK867, WK877, WK883,
WK885, WK911, WK925, WK926, WK932, WK941 , WK942, WK949,
WK971 , WK980, WK989, WK993, WK994, WL110, WL124, WL127, WL134, WL160,
WL 162, WL 163 (many more Mk.Bs used for Mk.16 spares);
40+ by
Royal Navy,
from Mk.11s Includes WD585, WD591 , WD592, WD606, WD610, WD612, WD623, WD629, WD630,
WD641, WD643, WD645 to WD647, WD649, WD652, WD657, WD678, WD679,
WD702, WD706, WD711 , WD767 (prototype), WD780, WD785,WM147, WM148, WM151 ,
WM159, WM160, WM167, WM181 , WM223, WM224, WM230, WM234, WM242,
WM245, WM246, WM255, WM260, WM270, WM292, WM293.
/ &ry
1 In
choice settled on Morton Valance, a satellite
aerodrome 12 miles (19.3km) from
Gloster' s works.
Keeping the existence of jet aircraft secret
was not easy; apart from service personnel
seeing aeroplanes with no propellers there
was always that distinct noise for the public
to hear. MAP requested that on no account
should there be any publication in the British
Press relating to the development, produc-
tion or flight of jet aircraft. The earliest jet
flights were all made at secure British air-
fields but once the de Havilland Vampire
was ready to join Gloster's machines in the
air, it became impossible to conceal that all
of these aircraft were flying and the airfield
restriction was lifted. The first disclosure of
Allied jet work was released to the national
press on 6 January 1944.
DG202 and DG205 (W.2B/23s) got air-
borne at Barford St John, again piloted by
Daunt who found these units had a poor per-
formance in take-off and climb. DG202 was
ready to fly on 14 June but completion of an
elevator tab modification took rather longer
than expected. The programme was picking
Below: Meteor Mk.3 EE420 parked on what
appears to be rather rough terrain while serving
as RAA:B of No. 500 Squadron. (A.W. Hall)
Above right: F.Mk.3 EE246 with a prototype ' P'
letter signifying its use as an experimental test
aircraft, possibly for M.L. Aviation. Not e the
faired over gun ports and extended canopy.
up momentum and the following proto-
type/engine combinations were flown in
1943/44: DG202- Rover W.2B/23 (24 July),
DG203 - Power Jets W.2/500 (9 ovember),
DG204 - MetroVick F.2 (13 November),
DG205- Rover W.2B/23 (12 June), DG206
-de Havilland H. l (5 March) and DG208 -
Rover W.2B/23 (20 January 1944). DG202
went to Rolls-Royce for engine test flying in
autumn 1943 and later performed trials on
HMS Pretoria Castle; it is today preserved at
Air-to-air view of Meteor Mk.3 EE317 as XL:Y of
No. 226 OCU. (A.W. Hall)
Teething troubles included engine surge
and aileron instability at high altitude, the
latter a new phenomenon never before expe-
rienced on other aircraft. Previous aero-
planes bad suffered from light ailerons at
high speed and low level; on the F.9/40 the
ailerons became progressively heavy at low
level with speed (as expected) but above
Badge of No.74 Squadron
on nacelle of WL380
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 WF722:Y, Target Towing Flight,
RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, November 1965.
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 WL380 of No. 74 Squadron, RAF
Horsham St. Faith, February 1958.
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 WA612:S of No. 111 Squadron, RAF
Wattisham in the early 1960s. This aircraft was used as a 'hack',
by the Hunter equipped 'Black Arrows' aerobatic team.
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 VZ637:P of No. 502 Squadron,
RAuxAF, RAF Aldergrove, in the mid-1950s. No. 502 was a
Vampire equipped unit.
~ x
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 WG949:Z of No. 603 Squadron,
RAuxAF, RAF Turnhouse in 1957. Used as a 'hack' by this
Vampire equipped
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 VW439:R of No. 607 Squadron
RAuxAF, RAF Ouston, 1956.
15,000ft ( 4,572m) they became light at all
speeds and showed dangerous tendencies
above Mach 0.65. Overbalance caused the
control column to try and slip out of the
pilot's hands, a particularly unpleasant expe-
rience, but attempts to modify the ailerons
brought difficulties elsewhere. Not until
flat-sided ailerons were fitted well into 1944
was the instability cured and another prob-
lem of aileron fl utter was removed by
replacing the external mass balance with
three smaller balances inside the wing.
Surging was experienced on the W.2B pro-
totypes but the W.2/500 was found to be
surge free and ideal for solving the control
problems. However, when DG203 was
preparing for its second flight the port
impeller disintegrated and wrecked the
engine. W.2/700s were substituted which
offered 1,7001b (7.5kN) thrust and, when
flown in October 1944, allowed DG203 to
reach 464mph (747km/h) at 20,000ft
(6,096m). There was little opportunity to
assess the 2,0001b (8.9kN) F.2 axial as the
prototype, DG204, after a maiden flight
from Farnborough, crashed on I April 1944
Two historical photographs:- Benny Lynch sits
In the rear cockpit of EE416, Marti n-Baker's Mk.3
test aircraft, before carrying out the first live
ejection using a Martin-Baker seat over
Chalgrove on 24 July 1946; the second view
(below) shows the moment he left the aircraft.
(Both Marti n-Baker)
EE457 was one of the last production Meteor
F.Mk.3s and sports extended nacelles. Lack of
squadron markings suggests the picture was
taken during service wit h the manufacturer.
when it broke up during an aerobatic
manoeuvre. Just over three hours of flight
were accumulated with altitude never above
6,000ft (1,829m) but a reduction of exces-
sive idling thrust was one problem to deal
with. Flight tests did show that top speed
was about 25mph (40km/h) down on esti-
mates at the high end of the speed range and
rate of climb was 15 per cent less, but profile
drag from the underslung nacetles was more
than predicted. DG205 was also destroyed
in a crash on 27 April.
The Rolls-Royce W.2B/23 (Rolls taking
over the role of Rover before the first F.9/40
flight) became the B.23 and was named the
Weiland I in October 1943. For its first
F.9/40 flight it was cleared for 1,400lb
(6.2kN) thrust but the figure was soon
increased to 1,600lb (7.1kN). A hundred
were produced to power Meteor F.Mk.1 pro-
duction aircraft.
An ' acorn' or bullet-shaped fairing fitted
over the intersection of fin and tailplane was
introduced on DG205 in August 1943 to
improve an irritating longitudinal fault. It
was forbidden to fully open the throttles on
early Meteors in under ten seconds but by
May 1944 work was underway to clear
instantaneous operation. That month speed
limits were set for the aircraft at 400 knots
(461mph/74lkm/h) below 15,000ft
(4,572m) and Mach 0.7 above. The aircraft
needed extra outer wing riveting and new
ailerons to help clear it for higher speed
dives; the yiew out was excellent for
approach and landing and all flight condi-
tions but rearward view with the early
canopy was poor. Manufacturer's tests
found the stall to be gentle but without warn-
ing and compressibility problems appeared
at Mach 0.75 and 20,000ft (6,096m).
The greater power of the derated H.1
engine over the W.2B/23 was offset by the
higher drag of the fat nacelles and to see
which was faster, test pilots Daunt (in
DG205) and John Grierson (in DG206) flew
together at 7 ,500ft (2,286m) between
Barford St John and Brockworth with full
power applied for five minutes. The aircraft
held station neck-and-neck throughout for
identical speeds; previous measurements
that found the W.2B/23 was lO to 15mph (16
to 24km/h) faster were nullified by the now
poor surface condition of DG205. Early
measurements had shown DG206's H.l
gave 1,8501b (8.2kN) thrust at 8,950rpm,
DG205's W.2B I ,745lb (7.8kN) on the
bench at 17, 150rpm; the H.1 was designed
Meteor EE416 In service as Martin-Baker's first
ejection seat trials aircraft - Note plugged gun
ports, new rear cockpit and repaint job for the
fuselage only, camouflage remains on much of
the wings. (Martin-Baker)
to rotate at a much lower speed which was
helpful in reducing demands on the bearings.
A&AEE Boscombe Down pilots got their
hands on DG205 and DG208 for preliminary
handling appraisal in early March 1944.
Taxying was found to be normal though the
throttle response was slower than on con-
ventional aircraft and take-off was easy
without any tendency to swing but initial
climb was poor. It was concluded that the
aircraft was easy to fly and the comparative
quiet and freedom from vibration compared
to piston aircraft were pleasing qualities but
control harmonisation needed improvement.
By April 1943 the F.Mk.l production order
had been temporarily cut from 300 to 20
machines by delay and doubts whether the
programme would go the distance, and this
was the total fmally built as further orders
moved to later marks. The first production
aircraft, EE2l 0, was flown by Michael
Daunt on 12 January 1944 and, apart from a
1,7001b (7.6kN) W.2B/23 Weiland I engine,
was in all respects a duplicate of DG202.
The series covered EE2l 0 to EE229 with the
first examples all going to RAE or A&AEE,
but most eventually joined No. 616
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 WA672:6T-H of No. 608 Squadron
RAuxAF, RAF Ouston in the early 1950s.
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 WA718:X of No. 611 Squadron,
RAuxAF, RAF Woodvale in the 1950s.
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 WL349:Z of No. 229
Operational Conversion Unit, RAF Chivenor. This air-
craft retained its No.28 Squadron markings whilst serv-
ing on the OCU in 1973.
Nose markings
and unij badge
on WA672.
Squadron from 12 July onwards. EE215
was the first Meteor with guns.
To prepare the Meteor for service, it was
agreed in February 1943 to form a special jet
aircraft test flight at Famborough called the
Intensive Flying Development Flight. The
first examples were delivered in June 1944
and the Meteor Mk 1 was cleared for Service
use on 17 July at a maximum permissible
all-up-weight of 11,925lb (5,409kg),
400mph (644km/h) maximum up to 15,000ft
(4,572m) and 450mph (724m/h) up to
8,000ft (2,438m) in calm air. From the han-
dling aspect the Mk.l was mediocre but,
although top speed was no improvement on
current piston fighters, it was available at
sea level when piston maximum was nor-
mally at height. A speed of over 500mph
(805kmlh) was, however, possible in a steep
dive and, thanks to cockpit pressurisation,
regular operation at over 40,000ft ( 12, 192m)
was available.
EE215 had reheat fitted to its Wellands in
the second half of 1944 which improved
maximum speed by about 50mph (80kmlh)
but the extra weight and drag pushed speed
below normal F.Mk. l levels during 'dry'
running. It also became the first two-seat
Meteor when the armament and ammunition
were removed for an observer's seat.
Standard Meteor F.Mk.3 EE401, which had
squadron service with both Nos. 74 and 222
Squadrons and based at both Exeter and West
Mailing before joining 206 AFS. It ended its fly-
ing career in a mid-air collision over
Cambri dgeshire In September 1952. (Eric
Early Meteors were Mach number limited
to about 0.75 due to the onset of severe
shock stalling over the engine nacelle w h ~ h
caused intense buffet. RAE tunnel tests
showed how airflow breakaway around each
nacelle could be postponed by increasing the
length at both front and rear so aHowing the
machine to reach higher Mach numbers.
EE211 flew with extended nose nacelles in
November 1944 and with additional rear
extensions from March 1945, together with
more powerful W2/700 engines of 2,000lb
(8.9kN) thrust, and the results were encour-
aging. At sea level the improved nacelles
improved top speed by about 60mph
(97km/h). W2/700 thrust levels were still
An historic view of another Meteor F.Mk.3 as
EE397 closes in on Flight Refuelling's Lancaster
tanker on 6 August 1949. The nose probe and
the tanker's drogue are seen clearly as are the
upper airbrakes. (Cobham)
insufficient to generate high enough Mach
numbers on the level and so any high speed
research still necessitated taking the
machine into a dive, a far from acceptable
situation, but tests did show a reduction in
After de HaviHand's H.l was flown in
DG206, DG207 was earmarked as the
F.Mk.2 prototype with the H.1 b, later called
the Goblin, but in September 1943 its con-
struction was rated low priority only. The
production life of the Meteor was expected
to be short and it was planned to utilise both
W.2B/23 and H.l but thrust increases were
urgently needed to counter an expected
introduction of jet aircraft by Germany.
Though appearing the inferior engine in the
short term, the H.1 was expected to give the
better long term thrust improvements. R.S.
Sorley said there was 'Little doubt that a
replacement aircraft will be necessary' from
Gloster during 1945 with a performance far
above anything the Meteor could achieve
through development.
John Grierson fmally flew DG207 for the
frrst time on 24 July 1945 but the follow-on
Goblin engined production was dropped and
it remained the sole F.Mk.2; it did, however,
introduce an all-new windscreen and hood
after close study of a captured Focke-Wulf
Fw 190 and this became standard for the
The final prototype DG209 was built to
test the Rolls-Royce W.2B/37, the original
Derwent engine, and when it flew on 18
April 1944 it was the frrst Meteor to fly with
more than 2,0001b (8.9k:N) thrust per unit
which gave a higher speed than any installa-
tion so far. Maximum level speed trials with
EE223 in February and March 1945 showed
the W.2B/37 at 16,850rpm and II ,9001b
(5,398kg) all-up-weight gave 465mph
(748krn/h) at 16,000ft (4,877m) with a com-
bat level speed over the height range sea
level to 25,000ft (7,620m) between 458 and
465mph (737 to 748krn/h).
The F.Mk.3 was the first version built in
numbers and it was to introduce the
W.2B/37 Derwent I. However, engine
development could not keep pace with air-
frame manufacture and, in the interim, the
frrst 15 had W.2B/23C Wellands with the
frrst, EE230, flying in early September
1944. Derwent Is of 2,0001b (8.9k:N) thrust
were fitted to EE245 onwards and all had
short nacelles bar the last fifteen which
introduced the long version; this being retro-
fitted to some earlier aircraft. The majority
of early F.Mk.3s went to No. 616 Squadron
but No. 504 became the second Meteor
operator in April 1945. The F.Mk.3 at last
introduced a performance superior to piston-
engined fighters and this was even better
Eric Greenwood, Gloster chief test pilot, flying
the High Speed F.Mk.3 EE454 Britannia In 1945.
(Eric Morgan)
when 2,4001b (10.7k:N) Derwent IVs were
fitted in selected aircraft.
An early research programme saw EE445
fitted with boundary layer suction by
Armstrong Whitworth (AWA). It's new
outer wings, designed by A.A. Griffith, were
thicker than normal due to the suction piping
- the surfaces were perforated and ducted to
the engine compressors which then sucked
away, through the holes, the air boundary
layer that sticks to the wing's surface and
adds drag. The idea was to preserve a clean
airflow, Rolls-Royce adapting the Derwent 1
with this system as the Derwent 3 which
then blew this air out through slot over the
ailerons to improve lift and control. The
ailerons stretched near the entire span of the
new wing. First flight by AWA test pilot
Eric Franklin came on 21 January 1947 and
AWJ.;s assessment lasted until August 1948.
Overall the results were disappointing as the
increase in Lift did not reach predictions but
the boundary layer suction data benefited the
AW.52 research aircraft.
F.Mk. 1 EE227 became the first aircraft in
the world to fly with a propeller driven by a
gas turbine when it was converted by Rolls-
Royce Hucknall to test the RB.50 Trent pro-
peller-turbine, known today as a turboprop.
The Trent added a propeller and reduction
gear to a Derwent to give I ,OOOib (4.4k:N) of
thrust plus 800hp (597kW) shaft horse
power, testing having been undertaken in
May 1944. In March 1945 a complete unit
with an airscrew was hanger tested for the
first time, the blade diameter being restrict-
ed by the Meteor's undercarriage which was
a little longer than standard. Guns and
ammunition were replaced by ballast but it
Excellent view of Meteor F.Mk.4 RA444 as A6:B
of No. 257 Squadron. Note the squadron badge
on the nose. (MoD)
: in
y a
1 of
It it
Above: The High Speed Flight's Mk.4 EE549
complete with Gloster high speed surface finish
which Included fairing over the gun ports. With
the f irm's private venture T.Mk.7 G-AKPK
behind, thi s picture was probably taken at
Gloster's. This was the aircraft that reached
616mph (991km/h). (A.W.Haii/MAP) Right: EE360
began life as an F.Mk.J but was converted to the
F.Mk.4 prototype by Installing Rolls-Royce
Derwent Vs. The aircraft makes an Interesting
mix with the ori ginal tall unit but brand new
large nacelles and it flew In this form on 15
August 1945. The 'G', for Guard, Is still In use
after the serial number. (Eric Morgan)
proved impossible to get EE227's weight
under 13,865lb (6,289kg). After first flight,
the leading half of the tailplane had two
small fins placed near the tips to correct
directional instability from the increased
torque of the propellers.
The first flight was made by Eric
Greenwood at Church Broughton on 20
September 1945 and had the shortest take-
off yet seen by a Meteor. Initial climb was
good and the timed climb to service ceiling
matched a Meteor powered by 2,200lb
(9.8k:N) Derwent 2s. Top speed was
440mph (708k:m/h) at 1 O,OOOft (3,048m)
and, compared to pure jet engines, fuel con-
sumption was very low and the throttle
could be slammed fully open without trou-
ble. Landing speed was higher than normal
but this was a by-product of the extra
weight. In fully frne pitch the airscrews
acted like giant airbrakes resulting in nose-
down pitch and the original diameter of 7ft
llin (2.4m) was cut to 4ft 10.5in (1.5m)
with pitch range drastically reduced; the
Trent now producing 1,400lb (6.2kN) thrust
and 350hp (26l kW). Much data had been
gathered and applied to the immensely suc-
cessful Dart turboprop that followed.
A new engine called the Nene was now
developed by Rolls-Royce and, to fit Meteor
nacelles, a 85.5 per cent scaled down version
of 3,5001b (15.6kN) thrust called the
Derwent V was also designed with a maiden
bench run on 7 June 1945 (the Nene itself
was too big to fit in production quantity).
EE360 received Derwent Vs to become the
F.Mk.4 prototype and was flown by Eric
Greenwood at Moreton Valance on 15
August 1945. Thanks to the big increase in
thrust he was soon clocking 570mph
(917k:m/h) at lO,OOOft (3,048m); compared
to earlier marks this was a real hot rod with
terrific acceleration compared to before. A
lOOgal (455lit) ventral tank was fitted to the
Mk.4 and wings tanks came later. Full har-
monisation of the controls was now accom-
plished allowing the Mk.4 to give good han-
Left: Gloster's private venture Mk.4 G-AIDC In
spri ng 1947 pai nted In carmine with Ivory letter-
Ing. After crashing this aircraft was rebuilt as
the Meteor T.Mk.7 prototype G-AKPK. (A.W. Hall)
Gloster Meteor Technical
Data and Performance
F.Mk.1 -Two 1 ,6001b !7 .1 kNl static thrust Rolls-Royce W.2B/23 Weiland I turbojets,
F.Mk.2 - Two 2,0001b 8.9kN de Havilland/Halford H.1,
F.Mk.3 - Two 2,0001b 8.9kN RR W.2B/23C Weiland or two 2,0001b (8.9kN) Derwent I or two 2,4001b
(10.7kN) RR Derwent IV,
F.Mk.4 -Two 3,500fb (15.6kN) RR Derwent V,
T.Mk.7, F.Mk.S, FR.Mk.9 and PR.Mk.10- Two 3,5001b (15.6kN) RR Derwent 8,
NF.Mks.11 and 13- Two 3,7001b (16.4kN) RR Derwent 8,
NF.Mk.12 and 14 - Two 3,8001b (16.9kN) RR Derwent 9.
Maximum Level Speed:
F.Mk.1- 411mph (661km/h) at sea level, 446mph (718kmlh) at 30,000ft (9,144m),
F.Mk.3 - (2,4001b Derwent IV) - sea level 486mph (782km/h), 493mph (793km/h) at 30,000ft,
F.Mk.4 - sea level 583mph (938km/h), 570mph (917km/h) at 30,000ft,
F.Mk.4 - (Short Span) - sea level 590mph (949km/h),
T.Mk.7 - sea level 585mph (941km/h), 540mph (869km/h) at 30,000ft,
F.Mk.S and FR.Mk.9 - sea level 592mph (926km/h), 550mph (885km/h) at 30,000ft,
PR.Mk.10- 575mph (925km/h) at 10,000ft (3,048m),
NF.Mk.11 -sea level 580mph (933km/h), 547mph (880km/h) at 30,000ft,
NF.Mk.14- 585mph (941km/h) at 10,000ft.
Sea Level Rate of Climb:
F.Mk.1- 2,155ft/min (657m/min), F.Mk.3 - 3,980ft/min (1,213m/min), F.Mk.4 - 7,900ft/min
2,408m/minl, F.Mk.4 (Short Span)- 7,350ft/min (2,240m/min), T.Mk.7 - 7,600ft/min
2,316m/min , F.Mk.S and FR.Mk.9 - 7,000ft/min (2,134m/min), PR.Mk.10- 6,500ft/min
1,981 m/min , NF.Mk.11 - 4,800ft/min (1 ,463m/min), NF.Mk.14 - 5,800ft/min (1, 768m/min).
F.Mk.1 - 43,000ft (13,106m), F.Mk.3 (2,4001b Derwent IV)- 46,000ft (14,021m), F.Mk.4 (Short Span)
- 44,500ft (13,564m), T.Mk.7 - 45,000ft (13,716m), F.Mk.S and FR.Mk.9 - 44,000ft
(13,411m), PR.Mk.10 - 47,500ft (14,478m), NF.Mks.11 and 12 - 40,000ft (12,192m),
NF.Mk.14- 43,000ft (13,107m).
Cruise Range (nonnal load):
F.Mk.1 - 530 miles (853km), F.Mk.3 - 504 miles (811km), F.Mk.4 - 510 miles (821km), F.Mk.4 (exter-
nal tanks)- 713 miles (1,147km), F.Mk.S- 520 miles (837km), NF.Mk.11 - 860 miles
(1 ,384km), NF.Mk.14- 875 miles (1 ,408km).
Gross Weight (without external tanks):
F.Mk.1- 11,7751b (5,341kg), F.Mk.2 -13,7501b (6,237kg), F.Mk.3 (2,4001b Derwent IV)- 13,3421b
(6,052kg), F.Mk.4- 13,9001b (6,305kg), F.Mk.4 (Short Span)- 15,1751b (6,883kg),
T.Mk.7-14,2301b (6,455kg), F.Mk.S- 15,7001b (7,122kg), FR.Mk.9 - 15,7701b (7,153kg),
PR.Mk.10- 15,4001b (6,985kg), NF.Mk.11 - 16,5421b (7,503kg), NF.Mk.12 - 17,2231b
(7,812kg), NF.Mk.13 - 17,3331b (7,862kg), NF.Mk.14 - 17,2871b (7,841kg).
(Span, Length, Gross Wing Area in that order):
F.Mk.1 and F.Mk.3 - 43.0ft (13.1m), 41 .4ft (12.6m), 374sq.ft (34.8sq.m),
F.Mk.2- 44.25ft (13.5m), 41.4ft (12.6m), 374sq.ft,
F.Mk.4- 43.0ft (13.1m), 41 .0ft (12.5m), 374sq.ft,
F.Mk.4 (Short Span)- 37.2ft (11.3m), 41 .0ft (12.5m), 350sq.ft (32.6sq.m),
T.Mk.7- 37.2ft (11.3m), 43.5ft (13.3m), 350sq.ft,
F.Mk.S and FR.Mk.9 - 37.2ft (11.3m), 44.6ft (13.6m), 350sq.ft,
PR.Mk.10 - 43.0ft (13.1m), 44.25ft (13.5m), 374sq.ft,
NF.Mks.11 and 13- 43.0ft (13.1m), 48.5ft (14.8m), 374sq.ft,
NF.Mk.12 - 43.0ft (13.1m), 49.9ft (15.2m), 374sq.ft,
NF.Mk.14- 43.0ft (1 3.1m), 49.9ft (15.2m), 374sq.ft.
All Fighter Marks - Four 20mm cannon (in nose of day fighter, in wings of night fighter),
F.Mk.3, F.Mk.4, F.Mk.S and FR.Mk.9- Two 1,0001b (454kg) bombs or 16 x 901b (41kg)
rocket projectiles under wings,
T.Mk.7 and PR.Mk.10 - None carried.
Formation of Meteor F.Mk.4s from No. 66
Squadron - top to bottom Is VT139 (LZ:D),
VW273 (LZ:E}, VT138 (LZ:F) and [probably)
VT131 (LZ:G). The squadron was based at
Duxford at that time. (A.W. Hall/ MAP)
dling through most of the flight envelope
and the extra power took the machine
towards top speed fairly swiftly. Slight nose
pitch-up warned of the onset of compress-
ibility and the design dive speed was
600mpb (965km/h).
Despite the extra speed of the F.Mk.4, the
strength factor of the wing centre section
.was unlikely to take the increased perfor-
mance since several Meteors bad already
been lost from wing break up in high speed
dives. Rate of roll was also insufficient and
after some production machines had the nor-
mal wing, a new cropped version Sft 1 Oin
(1.8m) shorter was substituted on EE525
which improved roll by 80deg./second and
provided strength for the carriage of under-
Top left: Meteor F.Mk.4 VT134:Q-A probably
belonging to No.205 AFS but also served with
Nos. 266, 43, 92 and 64 Squadrons as well as
226 OCU. Picture taken at Blackbushe 1953-54.
(Roger Lindsay) Left: Meteor F.Mk.4 VT276:SW-
N of No. 43 Squadron. Note the nose badge and
cannon fire exhaust stains around gun ports.
o. 66
;ed at
t nose
! was
nt and
t lOin
td and
1d with
well as
Ige and
, ports.
wing ordnance. Despite higher resultant
take-off and landing speeds, it became the
new standard and the 'Clipped Wing
F.Mk.4' had specification F.ll/46 written for
it in November 1946 and served extensively
with the RAF as well as being the first
Meteor exported in quantity; nearly 700
Mk.4s were built followed by large numbers
ofMk.7s and Mk.8s. Meteor production fig-
ures were impressive and the peak day tight-
er figures for Hucclecote came during the
period 194 7 to 1949 when over 200
machines a year were manufactured.
On 28 July 1941 Colonel Lyon, Major
Brandt and Mr. Shoults of the US
Government visited Gloster to examine the
progress made with jet aircraft. By mid-
1943 America was producing a jet fighter of
its own, the Bell XP-59 Airacomet, and in
the middle of the year it was agreed to
exchange a Meteor for an XP-59 under
Lend-Lease. The XP-59 reached
Farnborough in September and the follow-
ing February the first F.Mk.l , EE210, was
shipped to Muroc Field in return. On 14
April 1944 John Grierson bad the honour of
flying the frrst British-built military aircraft
to be flown in America. By this time the
RAF was ready to put its frrst jet fighter into
The squadron chosen to receive it was o.
616 Royal Auxiliary Air Force at Culmhead
(but based soon after at Manston) which had
a mix of Meteors and Spitfires until the lat-
ter were withdrawn at the end of August
1944. The simplicity of jet flight was imme-
diately apparent when all 32 616 pilots went
solo in the first week. The squadron had to
break new ground in two areas, firstly adapt-
ing from conventional aeroplanes to jet
propulsion and then its first war target was
to be a novel unguided aeroplane of very
small size. The jet's first contribution to the
war effort came on 4 August when Fig. Off.
Dean destroyed a V.l flying bomb in the first
ever jet-versus-jet combat. This was effect-
The yellow crosses on a blue background Iden-
t ify Meteor F.Mk.4 VW261 as being part of No.
609 Squadron RAuxAF when based at Church
Fenton In 1951. The squadron badge appears on
the foreward part of the engine cowling.
Left: Meteor F.Mk.4 coded DL:W of No.92
Squadron when based at Duxford. (Ake Hall)
Centre left: A group of No. 63 Squadron Meteor
F.Mk.4s with VT242 In the foreground. The
squadron Insignia either side of the roundel was
yellow and black chequers. Lower left: Meteor
F.Mk.4 RA493 Is thought to belong to No.205
AFS who had Meteors between 1951 and 1953
and which carried two letter codes.
ed by using the wing tip of EE216 to flip the
V. I on its back, a characteristically British
improvisation after the guns had jammed.
Minutes later another 616 pilot, Fig. Off.
Rogers, downed a second V.l with his
Hispano cannon. No. 616' s final score was
13 V. Is destroyed.
Servicing the Meteor was expected to be
difficult but proved relatively trouble free
and much less bother than a Spitfire.
However the new type did cause a little con-
fusion when one was attacked and damaged
in error by a Spitfire, the pilot thinking it
was a Messerschmitt 262; the jet landed
safely. John Grierson wrote in 1945 that the
fundamental characteristics of the jet fighter
at this time compared to a conventional type
were 'the ability to make a quicker get-away
without warming up; a flatter and slower
climb; greater speed in level flight; greater
speed in a dive; slower acceleration from
speeds below about 300mph; faster acceler-
ation from speeds above about 300mph;
endurance more variable with operational
height but in most circumstances less. All
these factors combined to make it necessary
to evolve entirely new tactics for the suc-
cessful operation of jet-propelled fighters
and it fell to the lot of No. 616 Squadron to
break this new ground'. Factors like using
air brakes to slow down quickly had to be
learnt for the ftrst time as a clean Meteor had
no draggy propellers to help deceleration
and so speed was lost slowly.
The threat of the Messerschmitt 262 jet
fighter was a particular worry to the USAAF
and so the Meteor was used to help develop
some defensive tactics. A flight of No. 616
Meteor T.Mk.7 WF816 was In use with No. 23
Squadron when based at Leuchars and flying
Javelins from 1957 to 1960. It was kept In
immaculate condition and had both ventral and
wing tanks fitted. (MAP)
f No.92
ke Hall}
1 Meteor
1d. The
nd 1953
flip the
\g. Off.
ith his
ore was
:d to be
)\e free
tie con-
1king it
that the
t fighter
nal type
m from
!SS. All

the sue-
Idron to
le using
1d to be
teor had
262 jet
No. 616
h No. 23
nd flying
kept in
ntral and
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 WA725:Y of RAF Leuchars Station Flight
having both Nos.43 and 151 Squadron markings on each side of
the roundel. Used for target towing work.
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 WS103:709-VL of 702 Squadron and
Station Flight at RNAS Yeovilton in the 1960s.
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 (Hybrid) VW411 of the Experimental Flying
Department, RAE Bedford in 1962-64. Also frequently used by other
RAE stations. Has both the RAE crest (left) and (right) Netherlands
Navy 322 Squadron badges.

Small Asterisk
nose marking
on WL419
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7't2 WL419 of Martin Baker Ltd,
Chalgrove. Used for ejection seat trials.
the Fighter School ,
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 SE-DCC of Svensk Flygtjanst AB,
Stockholm. Ex-G-7-1 demonstrator G-ANSO of Gloster
Belgian Air Force
Fighter School
badge on ED:B
Top left: Meteor T.Mk.7 WH231 as ai rcraft ' 8' of
t he Empire Test Pilots' School. Top right: Also at
Famborough, XF274 serving as an asymmetric
rolling test aircraft at RAE until written off In
February 1975. Above left: T.Mk.7 VW443 as de
Havilland Firestreak air-to-air missile camera
ship; note the unusual nose camera port. (MAP)
Above right: WG979 became No. 64 Squadron's
two-seat trainer and conversi on aircraft. It
adopted the squadron fuselage markings and
the badge on the lower fin. (APN)
Meteors operating from Debden acted as
262s against a force of over a hundred
Fortresses and Liberators complete with a
fighter screen of 40 Mustangs and
Thunderbolts. The trial began on I 0
October 1944, lasted a week and some use-
ful lessons were learnt. Diving from 2,000ft
(61 Om) above the formation, the Meteors
could attack at 450mph (724km/h) and be
away before the escort could engage; even in
a dog-fight the Meteor could look after itself
so long as speed was kept high. The only
real counter was to station the escort 5,000ft
( 1,524m) above the bombers and try and
catch the jets in a near vertical dive, a diffi-
cult manoeuvre calling for absolute preci-
sion in timing.
F.Mk.3s began to replace Mk. l s in
December 1944 and when a fl ight of No.
616 aircraft moved to Belgium in January
1945 to join the 2nd Tactical Air Force it
became the first Allied unit to operate jets in
mainland Europe. There was no opportuni-
ty for jet-to-jet combat as pilots were not
allowed to go beyond Eindhoven to prevent
any possibility of one falling into German or
Russian hands but the Meteors were bombed
at their Melsbroeck base by Arado 234 jet
bombers on 19 March. Numerous
'Rhubarb' sweeps were made against ground
Two Meteor T.Mk.7s with hybrid noses. Top
right: WL405 (served with Hemswell Station
Flight, the Jet Conversion Unit, Wittering Stat ion
Fli ght, No. 231 OCU, No. 1 Group
Communications Fli ght, Bomber Command
Communications Squadron and RAE
Famborough), seen with the hybrid PR nose fit.
t ed. Right: WA690, probably at Boscombe Down
as a Comet Is visible behind, also has a hybrid
FR.Mk.9 nose (MAP)
targets from 16 April and some Meteors fly-
ing over mainland Europe were painted
white to facilitate identification. At face
value the Meteor's contribution to the war
was minimal, what was valuable was the
experience gained.
After the war Fighter Command's switch
to jets continued and in 1946 Nos. 56, 74
and 245 Squadrons formed the first jet fight-
er wing at Bentwaters; a second followed at
Boxted with Nos. 222, 234 and 263
Squadrons. Over the next three years many
squadrons, both front-line and Auxiliary Air
Force, received either Mk.3 or Mk.4
Despite a revolutionary powerplant, the
Meteor was built conventionally. Airframe
aerodynamics were pure piston era and the
controls were manually operated when later
and faster types would by necessity need
powered controls. Thickness/chord ratio for
long span Meteors was 12 per cent at the
root, 9 per cent at the tip, for short span
mt, the
and the
ten later
.ty need
ratio for
1t at the
ort span
Four T.Mk.7s from No. 203 AFS (Advanced
Flying School) Driffield, WL413, WF881, WF776
and WL361, perform formation aerobatics. (via
Mk.4, 7, 8 and 9 aircraft the tip figure rose to
10.4 per cent; most of the following relates
to the F.Mk.4.
The Meteor wing had two spars and
stressed-skin covering, the rear spar having
extra depth to take the jet pipes in a feature
known as a 'banjo'. Six main ribs were used
in the wing centre section with both spars
and ribs made in stainless steel. The all-
metal ailerons were internally mass-bal-
anced and used long-chord mechanically
operated servo balance-tabs. Split flaps
were hydraulically operated and there were
slotted airbrakes on both upper and lower
surfaces between the nacelles and fuselage.
All-metal stressed-skin was also employed
for the fuselage which comprised three main
units - front section with the nose wheel,
centre with wing centre section, nacelles and
main landing gear, and rear fuselage com-
plete with tail unit. The fuselage was built
around four steel and light alloy formers and
rolled stringers. The tail was all-metal two-
spar stressed-skin and the fin was integrated
with the fuselage. Both rudders and eleva-
tors were all-metal and mass-balanced, with
adjustable trim-tabs on the elevators.
A tricycle undercarriage was fitted, still a
novel feature at this time, and the main legs
compressed on retraction to cut storage vol-
ume. A single 325gal (1,4781it) fuel tank
was housed in the centre fuselage with a one
180gal (8181it) external drop tank available
to fit under the fuselage and two more of
I OOgal (455lit) under the outer wings. The
cockpit was fully pressurised, Westland's
pressurisation experience with the high alti-
tude Welkin having been made available.
The F.Mk.3 introduced to production the
fully transparent hood with a 'blown' centre
section sliding on runners rather than the
hinged variety of the prototypes and Mk.l.
Four 20mm Hispano cannon were placed in
pairs either side of the cockpit; the original
six gun scheme had two more beneath the
cockpit. Under the wings were attachment
points for two l ,OOOib (454kg) bombs or
eight 901b (4l kg) rocket projectiles.
The T.Mk.7 trainer development of the
Mk.4 had a lengthened forward fuselage to
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.S WE947:L of No. 1 Squadron when based at
RAF Tangmere In 1951.
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.S WK974:A of No. 19 Squadron when based at
RAF Church Fenton in the late 1950s.
accommodate tandem cockpits with full dual
controls but there was no armament or bomb
carrying capacity. Its heavily framed canopy
was quite distinctive.
Many refinements were incorporated into
the F.Mk.8 which was a progressive devel-
opment of the Mk.4. A 30in (76cm) exten-
sion was made to the forward fuselage and a
single piece sliding canopy introduced, but
the biggest visible change was seen around
the tail which now had the form used on the
E.l/44 prototype. The tips of the tailplane
were squared off and the fin and rudder
sported straight leading and trailing edges,
the under keel surface or tail skid was
absent, and a Martin-Baker ejection seat was
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.S WA794:X of No. 43 Squadron when based at
RAF Leuchars in the ~ y 1950s.
Squadron badge
of No. 19 Squadron
on the nacelle of
,,.-.. - ; . -
- .. ,..,--. . ~
-----::- - ..
Above and left: Two views of Meteor T.Mk.7
WF791 as part of the RAF Historic Flight
' Vintage Pair' - the close-up was taken at
Coltishall on 7 May 1976 while the air-to-air also
shows the team's Vampire T.Mk.11.
fitted as standard equipment.
The Meteor arrived during a period of big
advances in aviation technology. Piston
powered fighters had begun to suffer the
effects of compressibility (the scientific tenn
for the 'sound barrier') during high speed
dives with some pilots unable to recover
before hitting the ground and the potential
extra speed of jet aircraft threatened to exac-
Below: Meteor T.Mk.7 WA662:K seen at RAE
Llanbedr in the 1970s; NF.Mk.14 WS832:W Is
parked behind and a Jlndivlk pilotless drone to
the left. (RAE Llanbedr)
1ken at
-air also
of big
Ier the
fie term
1 speed
to exac-
at RAE
132:W Is
drone to
erbate the problem. A build up of com-
pressed air ahead of an aircraft from about
Mach 0.7 onwards gave symptoms of stiff-
ening controls with buffet or violent shaking
and a strong tendency to either pitch up
which would rip the machine apart, or enter
an ever steeper dive that was extremely dif-
ficult to pull out of. Pilots were approaching
and entering a transonic condition where
some air passing over the aircraft became
supersonic and produced localised and pow-
erful pressure or shock waves which caused
the buffeting. The phenomenon was not yet
clearly understood but had to be overcome.
The diving of Meteor prototypes to high
speeds began in 1943 and compressibility
was evident immediately. The buffet experi-
enced in dives could be very uncomfortable
and quite destructive to the airframe ranging
from the removal of rivets to structural dam-
age. Work on finding the limits before onset
of compressibility continued for some years
and on 9 July 1946 Roland Beamont estab-
lished that an F.Mk.4 could enter the condi-
tion in a shallow descent at low level; for the
speed record attempt (below), he fixed Mach
0.79 as the new boundary for reasonable
control. At Mach 0.83 to 0.84 there would
be powerful pitch-down with the elevators
giving no help at all, so a dive would have to
be ridden out until, below 15,000ft
(4,572m), the nose could be slowly lifted as
Top right: Rebuilt in 1959 as a T.Mk.1112 hybrid
with FR.Mk.9 nose, VW411, originally the fourth
production T.Mk.7, spent its whole career at
establishments such as A&AEE and RAE. Right:
Meteor T.Mk.7 WL403:0-K was serving with the
Central Flying School when this picture was
taken. (A.W.Hall)
Mach number dropped with loss in altitude
(Mach number is reduced in the thicker air at
low level).
Experiments at English Electric in 194 7/48
established the Meteor's absolute limits of
compressibility from sea level right up to its
operating ceiling, probably the first time this
had been investigated for any aircraft type.
Test aircraft was Mk.4 EE545 and the results
had long term benefits for English Electric's
Above and left: Royal Navy Meteor T.Mk.7
WS103 seen as VL-709 of the Yeovllton Station
Flight In the late 1960s. Painted black overall
with dayglo nose, tail and wing tips.
own supersonic programmes. The Meteor,
however, was always subsonic and its nasty
response to a high Mach number, termed by
pilots as 'getting on the Mach', helped fuel
the menace attached to the sound barrier.
With a ventral tank, shock wave formation
began well below Mach 0.8 and a Meteor
would lurch randomly from side to side with
the stick needing two hands to hold it any-
where near centre, a direct contrast to the
limp controls experienced in a stall, here the
pilot almost had to fight the aircraft.
Throttling back did not help and opening the
airbrakes could be disastrous. The Mk.8
with a ventral tank did give a warning when
approaching critical Mach number in the
form of a progressive nose-up change of
After the pedestrian performance of early
Meteors the powerful Derwent 5 brought an
opportunity to make an attempt on the World
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8 WH378:N of No. 54 Squadron when
based at RAF Odiham in the early 1950s.
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8 WK803:V of No. 56 Squadron when
based at RAF Waterbeach in 1953. This aircraft took part in the
Coronation flypast.
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8 WZ464:H of No. 63 Squadron, RAF
Waterbeach in the mid-1950s.
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8 WF654:R of No.64 Squadron when
based at RAF Duxford, 1957.
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8 WK681:H of No. 65 Squadron
aerobatic team when based at RAF Duxford in December
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8 WK738:M of No. 66 Squadron
when based at RAF Acklington in 1953. This aircraft was
used by the squadron's officer commanding who added
extra squadron colours to the tail unit.
No.54 Squadron
badge appeared
on the nacelle of
Overseas Meteor Acquisition,
Serial and Unit List
(Serials quoted allocated on delivery; in several cases aircraft were later reserialled)
Australia, New Zealand and South Africa (1 each) all ex-RAF.
Argentina (100) serials 1-001 to 1-100, first 50 ex-RAF, rest new-build by Gloster; operated by
Squadrons and Groups within Nos. 6 and 7 Air Brigades (initial service with Nos. 4 and 6 Interceptor
Regiments. Survivors renumbered C-001 to C-1 00 in 1959 (I = interceptor, C = fighter)
Belgium (48) serials EF-1 to EF-48 Gloster built; operated by Nos. 349 and 350 Squadrons of No. 1
Denmark (20) serials 461 to 480 Gloster built; operated by 3rd Air Flotilla (from 1950 No. 723
Squadron) and Operational Conversion Unit.
Egypt (12) serials 1401 to 1412 built by Gloster.
France (2) ex-RAF,
Netherlands (65) serials 1-21 to 1-86 of which 1-55 to 1-81 ex-RAF, rest Gloster new-build; operated by
Nos. 322, 323, 326 and 327 Squadrons, and the Fighter School.
Australia (9) ex-RAF, serials A77-2, A77-4 and A77-701 to A77-707.
Belgium (43) serials ED-1 to ED-43. three new-build by Gloster, rest ex-RAF or Belgian Mk.4s rebuilt
by Avions Fairey; operated by all squadrons of Nos. 1, 7, 9 and 13 Wings, and by the Fighter School.
Brazil (10) serials 4300 to 4309 ex-RAF transferred before reaching squadron service.
Denmark (9) serials 261 to 269; operated the Flying SchooiJConversion Unit.
Egypt (6) serials 1400, 1413, 1414, 1439 to 1441, first three Gloster new-build, rest ex-RAF.
France (14) serials 91 and 92 new-build (ex-Syrian order), F-BEAR and F.1 to F.11 ex-RAF; operat-
ed by Squadrons of 30 Wing (30 ECN) plus 346 EICN Training Squadron.
Israel (6) serials include 2162 to 2165 and 4X-FNB, mix new-build and ex-RAF.
Netherlands (45) serials 1-1 to 1-20, 1-301 to 1-325 of which most ex-RAF, rest new-build; operated by
several squadrons; 10 later transferred to the Naval Air Service as 131 to 140.
Sweden (3) operated as civilian registered target tugs.
Syria (2) new-build diverted to France, later replaced by two ex-RAF, serials 91 and 92.
Australia (94) all ex-RAF serialed randomly between A77-11 and A77-982 (A77-851 to A77-883 con-
tinuous); served with No. 77 Squadron and later 78 Wing. Some converted to U.Mk.21Adrones.
Belgium (240) serials EG-1 to EG-145 new-build by Fokker, EG-146 to EG-150 ex-RAF via Fokker,
EG-151 to EG-180 built by Avions Fairey from Fokker-manufactured parts, EG-201 to EG-223 ex-
RAF, EG-224 to EG-260 built by Avions Fairey from Gloster-manufactured parts; operated by Nos. 4,
10, 11, 349 and 350 Squadrons within No. 1 Fighter Wing, No. 24 Squadron in No. 5 Wing, Nos. 7, 8
and 9 Squadrons of No. 7 Wing, Nos. 22 and 26 Squadrons of No. 9 Wing and Nos. 25, 29 and 33
Squadrons of No. 13 Wing, plus Target Towing Flights after conversion to target tugs.
Brazil (61) serials 4400 to 4460 all Gloster new-build except 4455 to 4459 ex-Egyptian AF and 4460
built from spares; operated by Nos. 1 and 2 Squadrons of the 1st Fighter Aviation Group and No. 1
Squadron of the 14th Aviation Group .
Denmark (20) serials 48f to 500 built by Gloster; flown by No. 724 Squadron.
Egypt (12) serials 1415 to 1426 all ex-RAF.
Israel (11) serials 2166 to 2169 and 2172 to 2178 (2176 and 2178 ex-Egyptian).
Netherlands (160) serials 1-90 to 1-94 ex-RAF, 1-101 to 1-255 Fokker new-build; operated by Nos. 322,
323, 324, 325, 326, 327 and 328 Squadrons.
Syria (19) serials 101 to 112 new-build by Gloster and 413 to 419 ex-RAF.
Ecuador (12) serials 701 to 712 ex-RAF.
Israel (7) serials 211 to 217 ex-RAF.
Syria (2) serials 480 and 481 ex-RAF.
Australia (1) serial A77-3 ex-RAF.
Belgium (24) serials EN-1 to EN-24, ex-RAF; operated by Nos. 10 and 11 Squadrons of No.1 Fighter
Denmark (20) serials 501 to 520 built by Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft; operated by No. 723 Squadron
(504, 508, 512 and 517 to 519 later converted to TI.Mk.20 standard by AWA).
France (41) serials NF11-1 to NF11-41, ex-RAF; most operated by Squadrons of No. 30 Wing but first
9 by the CEV (Flight Test Centre).
Egypt (6) serials 1427 to 1432 ex-RAF.
France (2) serials 364 & 365 ex-RAF and used by CEV.
Israel (6) serials 4X-FNA to 4X-FNF ex-RAF.
Syria (6) serials 471 to 476 ex-RAF.
France (2) serials NF14-747 and NF14-796 ex-RAF.
U.Mk.21 and U.Mk.21A:
Australia (c30) Ex-RAF Mk.8s (Mk.21) and RAAF Mk.8s (Mk.21A) converted by Flight Refuelling or
with kits supplied by FRL; operated by Nos. 1 and 2 Air Trials Units.
Air Speed Record. Development of the
Derwent went so smoothly that it became
possible to clear it with an emergency rating
of around 4,000lb (17.7kN), ideal for an
attempt, and when Gloster presented the
idea with Rolls-Royce agreement to the
Ministry of Aircraft Production, Air
Marshall Sorley (now Controller of
Research and Development) gave his bless-
ing. A High Speed Committee was formed
and two production F.Mk.3s, EE454 and
EE455, selected for modification with
Derwent engines and long nacelles.
EE454 was named Britannia and on 7
November 1945 achieved an average just
above 606mph (975kmlh) when flown along
a three kilometre course around Herne Bay
by Gp Capt H.J. Wilson. Gloster chief test
pilot Eric Greenwood flew EE455 over the
same course to an average 603mph
(970km/h); his mount was painted bright
yellow and dubbed Yellow Peril or Forever
Amber. This was a great moment for a
Britain only just beginning to recover from
the war as the World Air Speed Record had
been in Germany's hands since 1939; in
addition, the limit was taken beyond the ten
miles a minute mark for the first time.
In July 1946 a High Speed Flight was
formed at Tangmere to try and improve the
figure. ln command was Gp Capt E.M.
Donaldson with Sqn Ldrs Neville Duke and
W.A. (Bill) Waterton the other pilots. Two
standard F.Mk.4 aircraft, EE549 and EE550,
were made available and the chosen course
was a three kilometre strip off the coast
between Littlehampton and Worthing only
about 30 miles (48km) from where the
Supermarine S.6B famously secured the
Schneider Trophy for Britain in 1931 and
later established a World Air Speed Record
of 407mph (655km!h). AVM Boothman
from the 1931 team, now Assistant Chief of
the Air Staff, flew a practice Meteor along
the course at over 600mph (965km!h) and
reported that the machine was much easier
to fly than the Schneider seaplanes.
Preparing EE549 and EE550 as 'Star'
Meteors involved removing the radio masts
from the rear fuselage with the apertures
faired over, replacing the guns and ammuni-
tion by ballast and fuel with the gun ports
faired over and fitting an aluminium hood
with glass ports instead of the usual canopy
after worries that air friction overheating
might cause distortion. The air brakes were
fixed closed and Gloster's high speed sur-
face finish filled in all rivet boles and hol-
lows and waxed and polished the whole
painted surface. The Derwent engines were
cleared to 15,200rpm for a maximum
4,300lb (19.lkN) thrust; normal Derwents
delivered 3,500\b ( 15.6kN) at 14,700rpm.
To establish parameters for the attempt and
clear the aircraft under test conditions,
EE549 was flown over the Severn estuary by
Wg.Cdr. Roland Beamont who reached
almost 632mph ( l ,Ol 7km!h) on 9 July.
On 7 September 1946 Donaldson achieved
an average 616mph (99lkm/h) with a high-
est run at 622mph ( l ,00 l km/b) and Waterton
an average 614mph (988km/h) with one run
of 62lmph (999km!h); all were on the level
Meteor T.7 WL364 served with Nos.202, 208 and
21 0 Advanced Flying Schools and the Central
Flying School. (Eric Morgan)

WL419 has served Martin-Baker through the
1980s and 1990s. The ground ejection view
(below right) shows the punishment the rear
cockpit has to take when a seat is fired while the
air-to-air shot (above) reveals the bum marks on
the fuselage. (Both Martin-Baker)
and Donaldson never went above 650ft
( 198m). 616mph was approved as the
record and represented the limit to which the
Meteor could go but it was realised if the air
temperature had been 30deg.C instead of
14deg.C, it should have been possible to
average 620mph (998kmfh). Previously, on
14 August, EE549 had recorded a true air
speed of 626mph (I ,007km/h) at 3,000ft
(914m) for three minutes. Securing the
World Record twice with a production type
aircraft, not a specialised design, was a great
achievement and the second instance came
just as an American team reached 608mph
(978km/h) at Muroc with a P-84 Thunderjet.
EE549 later set a new Paris to London
average of 520mph (837km/h), and then Le
Bourget to Croydon in January 1947 at
618.4mph (995kmfh) (on this occasion both
start and finish were timed on high speed
overhead passes). Today this aeroplane is
preserved at Tangmere. 'Bill' Waterton took
the I OOkm closed-circuit record on 6
February 1948 flying F.Mk.4 VT103 at an
average 542mph (872km/h) and several
more European city-to-city records fell to
Meteors, all giving massive publicity to the
aircraft and much assistance in Gloster's
efforts to sell it abroad. The High Speed
Flight also undertook considerable intensive
development flying to prepare the Mk.4 for
RAF service.
The Meteor FR.Mk.5 was designed to
Sqn. Ldr. John Fifield OBE OFC AFC ejecting
from T.Mk.71f2 WA634 at runway level and a
speed of 90 knots to record the first live ejection
under these conditions, at Chalgrove on 3
September 1955. (Martin-Baker)
replace photo reconnaissance Spitfires and
F.Mk.4 VT347 was converted as a proto-
type, the work involving installation of both
vertical and oblique cameras in a new nose
but with full gun armament retained; the
camera nose could be supplied as a complete
unit for fitting to standard Mk.4s. VT347's
maiden flight in this fom1 was made on 15
July 1949 but the machine broke up and
crashed killing test pilot Rodney Dryland.
Fai lure of side skins around the centre fuse-
lage fuel tank bay was the cause and the
resultant modifications meant the FR.Mk.5
was substituted by the FR.Mk.9.
The F.Mk.6 was an early 1946 proposal
with Derwent 7s in long nacelles, Mk.4 short
span wings and the E.l/44 tail, but further
refinements led to the F.Mk.8, the ultimate
single seat Meteor, and prevented the Mk.6
from being built.
As will be seen, the Meteor was to be a big
success in the export market, much of which
stemmed from some European demonstra-
tion tours by the manufacturer. In 1947
Gloster took a short-span F.Mk.4 from the
production line, removed the guns, painted it
crimson red (carmine) and registered it with
civi l markings as G-AIDC, a private venture
(PV) aircraft. A tour began in mid-April and
proved a triumph, marred only by the crash
landing of G-AIDC in Belgium after which
it was brought home and rebuilt as the
T.Mk.7 prototype G-AKPK.
The stimulus for a conversion Meteor
came when Gloster received an overseas
order for Mk.4s from Argentina. Pilot train-
ing was also requested and the firm found
that teaching students with instructors sitting
on the outside of the aircraft was, to say the
least, far from ideal; a two seater would
clearly be invaluable for Meteor operators.
As rebuilt, G-AKPK was first flown by Bill
Watcrton from Moreton Valance on 19
March 1948 and Ministry interest was also
forthcoming. Another successful tour using
G-AKPK as demonstrator followed from
mid-May 1948, this time taking in some
Mediterranean countries.
Design and construction of the two seat
dual-control version of the Meteor F.Mk.4
d a
n 3
n 15
! the
: a big
m the
nted it
it with
ril and

as the
Jt train-
1 found
;; sitting
say the

I by Bill
on 19
;vas also
ur using
::d from
in some
two seat
r f.Mk.4
VZ503 was an early F.Mk.S production aircraft
and this view shows the smaller wing to good
effect. (MoD)
(to OR.238) was covered by specification
T.l /47 of 16 May 1947 which confirmed that
no provision for guns, rockets or bombs was
required (the Navy adopted the Mk.7 to
T.l/47 Issue 2 of January 1952). Orders
arrived in August for 70 machines. Despite
being based on the Mk.4, some of the
T.Mk.7s recieved the E.l/44 F.Mk.8 type tail
and were known as T.Mk.71f2s while it was
found the longer nose improved directional
stabili ty. Thrust initially came from
Derwent Vs but the Derwent 8 was fitted
later. First delivery to the RAF was made in
December 1948 and the variant went on to
serve with a large number of squadrons and
other units, the Royal Navy and many export
By 1947 it was clear the Meteor needed a
big update if it was to stay competitive with
rival products and Gloster began work on a
'second generation' . Late F.Mk.4s had
received a longer nose (first tried on RA382)
but the more forward position of the guns
and ammunition in relation to the whole air-
craft ensured more pronounced movements
in centre of gravity as the ammunition and
fuel were used up. The old tail was unsuited
Right: Meteor F.Mk.S WL 104:N of No. 19
Squadron, note underwing tanks. It was
scrapped In 1959. (MAP) Below: Three Meteor
F.Mk.Ss over Grand Harbour, Malta, in about
1953. The middle aeroplane may possibly be
WA851 ' B' of No. 500 Squadron. (Eric Morgan)
Above: Meteor F.Mk.8 ' E' of No. 41 Squadron Is
prepared for flight. (MAP via A.W. Hail)
to cope with the pitch up instability this cre-
ated but the angular tail fitted to the E.\/44
would: it was tried on RA382 and showed
good handling. Strengthening was added to
the undercarriage and indeed all round the
aircraft to aecommodaic the expected extra
Mk.4 VT\50 was convened to a full
F.Mk.8 prototype and flown by Jan
Zurakowski from Moreton Valance on 12
October 1948. To prove the new tail, the old
style was tried on VTI 50 and con finned the
superiority of the later type. A&AEE tested
VTI50 with the proper' tnil during the sec-
ond half of 1949 nnd found a small addition
to limiting Mach number and other improve-
ments, but there were difliculties with stabil-
ity after recovery from a spin. A new clear
bubble hood. and the ejection scat. were
highly praised.
Deliveries began on \0 December 1949
when VZ438 arriw.:d at Tangmerc to join
No. I Squadron and the Mk.8 served as the
RAF and RAuxAFs primary single scat
interceptor until 1955 before arrival of the
Hunter. The first fu11y operational squadron,
and the last operator as well, was No. 245
who had the Mk.8 on strength from June
1950 until April 1957. No. 616 Squadron
also had examples making it the only
Below: Meteor F.Mk.8 WF757:J of No. 615
Squadron, RAuxAF, eruislng at near mulmum
altitude JOOglng by the dar\ eolour of tM 1ky
btthlndl t.(MoD)
Meteor F.Mk.8s in squadron markings 1.
WH293:B of No. 610 Squadron. 2. WH275 of No.
66 Squadron. 3. WH445 of No. 615 Squadron,
scrapped 1958.4. VZ521:S of No. 85 Squadron.
5.WK6!54:XofNo.85Squadron, note fin badge.
6. WK817:K (later Z) of No. 72 Squadron, sc:rap-
pedin1964. (AIIMAP)
squadron to usc Meteor Mks.l, 3, 4, 7 and 8.
Such large scale service ensured involve-
ment in all major exercises both at home and
abroad. and special events such as the 1953
Coronation Review. Two were briefly
attached to No. 45 Squadron in 1955 during
the Malaya campaign, the only RAF
F.Mk.8s to see service in a conflict. With
world wide service well ovc..'T a thousand
were built before the fi nal delivery in April
The single seat Meteor line was nearly
over but the FR.Mk.9 had a nine inch
(22.9cm) longer nose to add an F.24 camera
to the gun annament and Zurakowski flew
the first. VW360, on 22 March 1950. No.
208 was the first squadron to receive the
mark, at the end of July, and production was
completed in mid-1952. Almost all served
in Gcnnany or the Middle East in a primary
role of low-level tactical rcconnaissnncc but
from mid-1 956 detachments from No. 208
were sent both to Cyprus and Aden against
MatiKH' F.Mk.8 WL113:L of No. 29 Squadron at
Luqa, Malta, in tl'le mld1950s when employed as
a target towing aircraft: Hunttr T.Mk.7 XL566 is

EOKA and Yemen terrorists respectively.
Ex-No. 208 Squadron Mk.9s rctumcd to
Aden in 1958 and as No. 14l7 Flight under-
took many strikes against rebel tribesmen
For high-altitude strategic reconnaissance,
the PR.Mk.IO had the old F.Mk.3 wing, the
F.Mk.4 tail, the F.Mk.8 centre fuselage and
the FR.Mk.9 nose, but two F.52 cameras
supplemented the F.24 and the guns were
left out. Development ran parallel to the
Mk.9 and Zurakowski fl ew the first, VS968,
on 29 March 1950. Deliveries began in
December 1950 to No. 541 Squadron at
Benson and the mark had the highest service
ceiling of any Meteor and displayed excel-
lent handling. Most served overseas until
phased out for PR Canberras, No. 13
Squadron using them extensively in the
campaign against the Mau Mau in Kenya
and No. 81 in Malaya Fimlog operations
during the late 1950s.
Soon after the war the need to replace the
Mosquito night fighter became critical and
F.Mk.3 EE34S was tested with a nose
- -
mounted air intercept (AI) radar as pan of
the F.44/46 night fighter programme which.
vio F.4148, led to the Javelin. But progress
was slow and an interim Mosquito rcploce-
ment with improved pcrfonnancc was there-
fore required to fill the gap before delivery
of the more advanced F.4/48.
Gloster's first brochure was prepared in
October 1948 for a convened T.Mk.7 with
Derwent Vs. But with the firm fully
stretched by its commitments to single scat
Meteors, the night fighter was passed to
another Hawker Siddeley company,
Annstrong Whitwonh Aviation (AWA).
Specification 1'.24/48 was issued on 12
February 1949 to OR.265 to cover the
NF.Mk.11 interim night fighter with
AI.Mk.l 0 mdar,. A rnockup was completed
at the end of 1948 and T.Mk.7 VW4\3 was
convened as a prototype at AWA Bittcswell
with a four foot longer ( I. 2m) nose. Bill
Else flew it on 28 January 1949 and in
The ul timate day fighter Metaor was F.Mk.8
reprtsenttd here by WA962:0 of No. 41
Squadron. The elongated squadron marking on
aach side of the roundel-re red end white
(Erie Morgan)
March the Mk.8 tail was added which
stretched the Jcngth to 48.5ft ( 14.8m). It was
back in the air on 8April.
1949 production orders included tlm.-c pro
totypcs and, to save time, the NF.Mk.11 used
as much existing Meteor structure as possi-
Miscellaneous Meteor F.Mk.8s. Right : After front
!Ina service V2521 became P<'Jrt of tha Civilian
Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit and was attoeat
coda '3' on t he tin. Centra right : A Meteor
to continua as a target tug was WH293:Y of No.
43 Sq11adron. Lo- r right: The RA11xAF took
ovarmany of the Meteor by the 11111
tlma sq11adrons. This Is WH36S of No. 611
Squadron. It eventually became a U.Mk.16
b!c: it resembled the Mk. 7 except for the
longer nose and new taiL The wings were
the long span 43fi ( 13.1m) type to balance
the extrn weight, the four 20mm were
moved just outboard of the nacelles and
because of the shape of the AI.Mk.IO scan-
ncr, aU Mk.ll s had a distinctive fairing on
the bottom of the rndomc. Cabin prcssurisa-
tion was supplied by tapping the Derwent 8
compressor to give an equivalent cabin alti-
tude of 24,000fi (7,315m) at 40,0001i
(12.192m). There were no ejection scats.
WA546 was the first full prototype and was
nown by Eric Frnnklin on 31 May 1950
while the third prototype. WB543, had
strengthened wings which became standard.
The first production aeroplane. W0585,
new on 19 October 1950 and early examples
were used to assess the AI.Mk.l7 radar.
Spring-tab ailerons were fitted from WD590
onwards to improve flying cham.cteristics,
control hannony and rate of roiL Deliveries
began on 20 August 1951 when WDS99
arrived at Tangmerc to join No. 29(F)
Squadron, followed by Nos. 141 and 85
Squadrons (No. 85 was the only squadron to
have Mk. l l, 12 and 14aircmft). Once the
home based squadrons had a full compliment
of Mk. lls. Nos. 68 and 87 fonncd with the
type as pan of the 2nd Tactical Air Force in
Gem1any followed by NosS. II . 96and256.
By 1952 export orders were coming in and
some RAF machines were diverted to accel-
erate deliveries. A big improvement over
the wartime AI.Mk.I O radar was the
Charlts Brown's well-known picture of Meteor
F.Mk.8s of Nos. 601 and 604 Squadrons at RAF
North Weald, 20 September 1953. From front
right are WH364, WK739 and WF744. (RAF
"""m:_ )
AmcricanAPS.57 and two Mk.ll s, WD670
und WD687, were used in a trial installation
which required a further 17in(43.2cm)nosc
extension but saw the end of the undcmose
fairing. The extra weight was compensated
by new more powerful Derwent 9s which
had an improved relighting facility both for
more consistent relighting and an increased
altitude where relighting was possible. This
development became the NF.Mk.l2.
WD670, still with Dcrwent 8s but with the
new nose was tested by Bascombe pilots
who found a tendency for fin stalling. In
consequence, the full prototype WD687
introduced fin fillets above and below the
tail bullet to increase area by one sq.fl
(0.09sq.m) which cured the problem and
gave satisfactory handling. Eric Franklin
flew the first production WS590 on 21 April
1953 and the first unit to n..-ceive the Mk.12
was No. 238 OCU; No. 85 Squadron had
thciraircrafl from early 1954.
Actually developed before the Mk.\2, the
NF.Mk. 13, a tropicalised Mk. \ 1, was 450lb
(204kg) heavier from additional equipment.
Only 40 were built, all convened during pro--
duction from NF.Mk.ll s, and the first to fly,
WM308, became airborne on 23 December
Top right: Gloster Reaper private ventura
grOtJnd attackMeteorG-7-1 wilh a tutl load ot 24
rocket proj.etttes under both wings and f use-
lage. This was theatrcrattflown obrltttanlly by
Jan Zurakowskt at the 1951 Farnborough Show.
(A.W. Hall archival) Righi: Meteor Mk.81 VZ-460
(nearest with ventral tank) and VZ473 ermed
with underwlng bombs. Both served with RAE
and A&AEE to clear the bomb pylon installation,
neltherreached asquadron.(EricMorgan)

1952 flown by Joe Lancaster. Deliveries
began at the end of January 1953 and the
first squadron to convert, No. 39 at Fayid, in
the Canal Zone, replaced its Mosquitoes in
March: the squadron took part in the Suez
invasion in November 1956 while based at
The ult imate night fighter was the
NF.Mk.l4 which had the same equipment as
the Mk. l 2 apart from the introduction of the
APQ.43 radar and a new clear-vision sliding
canopy which looked so much better, both
inside and outside, than the greenhouse job
of the earlier marks. WM26l , a Mk. l l ,
received the first canopy to become the pro-
totype. Changes were needed to take the
scanner and its equipment, and an auto-sta-
biliser was used to eliminate high altitude
instability. Ejection scats were also now
WS722, the fi rst production aeroplane.
Top right right: Three Meteor FR.Mk.9s from
No. 2 WB116:BG and (right)
WH542:B K when based at Gutersloh, Germany
In 1952. (MAP via A.W. Hall)
was flown by Bill Else from Bagimon on 23
October 1953. Deliveries began on 6
NO\'Cmber and when WS848 left the pro-
duction line in May 1955, production of all
Meteor variants was complete: night fighter
production having been undenaken emircly
by Armstong Whitworth. The Meteor
became the standard RAF night fighter until
introduction of the Javelin and the
NF.Mk.14 was known as the 'Queen of the
Skies' such was its popularity within the
RAF. Curiously the existence of both
Mks.1 2 and 14 was not made known to the
public until December 1953 and April 1954
respectively, some time afier their first
Javelins replaced Mk.l2 and 14s from
1957 with the last UK-buscd aircraft with-
drawn from No. 72 Squadron in June 1959.
Some, however, went to No. 60 Squadron at
Tcngah though arriving too late to serve in
Operation Firedog. No. 60 was the last
front-line unit to usc the Mett.'Or before
Javelins arrived in August 1961, the last
operational flight being made by WS787 on
17 August.
No. 1 Air Navigation School used 13 sur-
plus NF.Mk.l4s at Stradishall until 1965
where they were redesignated
NF(T).Mk.l4s and in 1960, WM261 had a
Saab Draken style pointed nose r o ~ d o m lit-
ted by Ferranti for the Red Ganer pro-
gramme which made it, at 57ft 8.6Sin
Upper right: Meteor PR.Mk.10 VS975:A-N of No.
541 Squadron painted In a pate grey uppersur-
facaand PRUblua acheme. lt waaacrapped ln
1958. Right: Meteor PR.Mk.10 WB159 of No. 81
Squadron, poaslblyphotographed a! Seletar.
Note the F.Mk.4 type tall unit and underwlng
tank. On theupper noae ta ayeUow playlng card
withbla<:kspade. (RogerLindaay)
(17.6m), the longest Meteor to fly.
The night fighters outlasted their day fight-
er sisters in front-line service by scveml
years. Withdrawal of F.Mk.4s was complete
in 1951 and all RAuxAF F.Mk.8s (and
T.Mk.7s) were taken out of service by
Left: Factory f resh Mat eor FR.Mk.9 WB119
before dellvery f romGioster;the nawnose lsyet
to be painted. (Roger Lindsay) Lower taft:
FR.Mk.9 VZ603:M of No. 79 Squadron at RAF
Benson In 1956.(RogerLindsay)
January 1957. The last UK RAF Mk.8s fol-
lowed in April 1957. But that was not nec-
essarily the end as vinually all squadrons
kept examples for tmining and communica-
tions long after more modem types arrived.
For example some F.Mk.3s joined No. 206
Advanced Flying School in 195 I for service
as advanced trainers: Mk.4s found similar
work and were succeeded by T.Mk.7s and
redundant F.Mk.8s. No. 29 Squadron based
at Akrotiri, Cyprus, was the last front-line
unit to employ Meteors in such roles retiring
a Mk.7 and two Mk.8s in November 1965
(see front cover photo). Meteors, however,
were still a common sight well into the
1970Sl1Sresearchaircratl, dronesandtarget-
Aller the T.Mk.7 prototype, another Gloster
PV was a low-level suppon ground attack
Meteor first proposed in February 1950,
Gloster having identified that a broadening
of the Meteor's capability was needed to try
and extend its production life. It was
planned to improve the flight characteristics
of the Meteor when carrying external stores
and the Mk.8 formed the basis of develop-
ment. Two IOOgal (45Siit) tip tanks were
introduced and alternative loads comprised
four l ,OOOib (454kg) bombs (one under each
outer wing, two under the fuselage) or eight
trefusclage: thccannonwerchousedasnor-
mal. Meteor main planes had sufficient
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.B WH470:W of No. 600 Squad1"011.
R.AuxAF, based at RAF Biggin Hill. in the early 1950s
Civil registered Meteors. Left: Some Met eor
T.Mk.7srecelvedF.Mk.Btailunits wi ththe resul-
tant combination often termed T.Mk.7 111. G-
ANSO was rebuilt from the Reaper ground
attackflghterprlvateventurebasedonthe Mk.B
and sohadthe taltfromthestart. ltis seenat
the Farnborough Show of 1954 painted In lark-
spur blue wi th cream lettering and tip tanks.
jRoger Lindsay) Lower left: Bafore becoming G-
7-1, the Reaper private venture was civil regis-
tered G-AMCJ and pai nted carmi ne red wit h
ivory lettering; it Is shown h<:!re at the 195(1
Famborough wlthtiptanks andfull stonts all ln
lvory. jRogerLindsay/MAP)
strength to take extemal weapons from the
Mk.4 onwards. (Gloster also proposed an
eight gun Mk.8 development with four in the
nose and four outboard of the nacelles in
new wings).
Other changes included spring tab ailerons,
arrestor gear for forward airfield operation
and rocket assisted take-ofT (RATO) using
six 1,500lb (6.7kN) rockets each of six sec-
onds duration.
Span with tip tanks was4Jft(l2.5m),
without 37.2ft (I \.3m), length 44ft (J3.4m)
and maximum all-up-weight 15,800Jb
(7,167kg). A prototype of the ground anack
fighter (OAF), unofficially called the
Reaper, was civil registered as G-AMCJ and
painted canninc red. It flew from Moreton
Valance on 4 September 1950 piloted by Jim
Cooksey and over the next year saw exten-
sive development flying. The colour scheme
changed to silver the following July and Air
Ministry Class B civil registration G-7-1
was allocated. Successful trials with the
RATO equipment were made at Bascombe
Down between August and October 1952
but no orders were secured. G-7-1 became a
T.Mk.7 in 1954 (registered G-ANSO and
painted larkspur blue) and went to Swedish
owners in 1958. Jt is preserved.
The Reaper, however, has its place in his-
tory as the display machine for legendary
test pilot Jan Zurnkowski's extraordinary
cartwheel manoeuvre seen nt the 1951
Famborough Show. His routine incorporat-
ed a cartwheel rotated about the aircraft's
neutral axis that was executed nt the top of a
sustained 7.00m climb, which itself followed
a high speed dive, and initiated as the air-
craft approached the point of stall and fall
back. Zura 's own description was reported
thus:- ' While in a vertical full-power climb
he lost speed to 70 to 80mph ( 11 0 to
130kmlh); shut down one Derwent and cart-
wheeled under asymmetric power. After
Night flghttr NF.Mk.11 WOS97 seen on a leal
flight from Armstrong Whitworth, Baglnton on
17 May 19S1. The 'gr" n-
house' canopy show well. WDS97 joined No. 29
Squadron and was eventually scrapped In 1958.
(Ray Williams)
three-quarters of a tum he shut down the
second Derwent and the Meteor, having
unusually high inertia due to the rockets on
thcwings,carriedon tocomplcteonc ando
half vertical cartwheels, finishing nose
down. Thereupon he started a spin but after
a quarter to a half tum, at lOS to 11Smph
(169 to 185km/h) control began to be
Zurn explained that one engine was not
Meteor T.Mk.7 VW413 was modified Into the
night fighter aerodynamic test vehicle with an
extended nose and flew on 28 January 1949.
The Mk.8 tall t hown In the picture was added
later to complete the conve,-.lon. (A.W. Hall)
'opened up' for whereas thrust could be lost
by throttling back in one and a half to two
seconds, full power was not forthcoming
from a turbojet in under six seconds. For
such a manoeuvre it was necessary to have
two power units widely spaced. Twenty-
four wing mounted rockets and tip tanks
were aboard with relatively little internal
fuel which meant much of the weight was
distributed away from the centre of the air-
craft to help the spin. The Meteor suffered
many in-service accidents which, at times,
formed not the best reputation, and it took an
exceptional pilot with a deep knowledge of
engineering and science to work out this
sequence and display it safely. Zura had
been a Gloster test pilot since the war and
made a substantial contribution to Meteor
The full prototype Meteor NF.Mk.11 was
WA547 which spent most of its life at A&AEE.
Nott the Hswk r Slddetey emblem on nose.
(Roger Lindsay)
Some pilots tried to emulate Zura 's trick
but, despite being able to spin a Meteor safe-
ly, initiating the cartwheel proved difficult
and was not helped by the early jet engines
which could not slam in a change of thrust.
The Derwent 8 for example needed seven
seconds to accelerate from a self-sustaining
minimum of 3,000rpm to the point where
the first useful thrust became available at
The first overseas purchaser was Argentina
who received 100 F.Mk.4s from July 1947
onwards, the first flight in Argentina, by
Gloster's Bill Waterton in 1-005, being made
Meteor NF.Mk.11a W0603 ' C' and W0725 ' F' of
No. 29 Squadron In 1953. W0603 was tost later
lntheyearwhenltranout offuei. (RayWilllams)
Above: Air-to-air of Meteor NF.11 WD604 taken
on 26 February 1952. The new type of wing
tanka proved aatlafac:tory u ceptlorasllghtbut
pec:ullarand peraiatent fault. When the tanka
were}ettlaoned the Meteor yawed In the dlrec:tlon
ofwhic:heverdroppedoffflrat. After the trlala
thla mac:hlnejolnedde Havilland Propellerafor
guided missile trials. The undemose fairing
showa well. (Ray Williams). Left: Close up of the
tlp tankwhlc:hhas aamall flnbehlndthenoae.
(Erie Morgan)
on the II th. Forty eight were still active in
January 1962 with some having seen action
in disturbances and the shon-livcd revolu-
tion against the Peron regime where both
government and rebel forces used them for
ground strafing. On 16 July 1955 a loyalist
Meteor shot down a rebel AT-6 trainer: later
on 16 September during the rcvoiUiion itself,
loyalist Meteors from No.I Fighter
Interceptor Group of No. 7 Air Brigade
Meteor NF.Mk.11 WM239 banks away from th.e
camera to show details ofthelowerwlng and
fl.lselageandbothvantral andundarwlng extBI'"
nal tankt . Note wing mounted cannon outbotrd
of the nacelles and the distinctive undernote
attacked the destroyers La Rioja and
Cervatrtes as they left Rio Santiago naval
base leaving one damaged but losing one
aircraft shot down. The last operational
Meteors were retired in late December 1970
but 20 survive in various fonns of
F.Mk.3 EE427 was despatched to Australia
in June 1946 for jet aircraft indoctrination
(EE31l and EE395 went to Canada and New
Zealand for the same purpose). No orders
were placed but when the RAAF's No. 77
Squadron became involved in Korea. the
Government ordered F. Mk.Ss to equip it and
other squadrons after failing to get the
American F-86. Ninety-four were supplied
for service in Korea together with some
T.Mk. 7s. No. 77 returned to Ausnulia on 3
December 1954 with 41 surviving Mk.8s
and three Mk. 7s which were relegated to
training the next year by the arrival of the
CA-27 Sabre, some passing to the Citizen
Air Force. No. 75 Squadron was the last
front-line unit to operate Mk.8s and all sur-
viving Meteors were declared surpl us
between 1958 and \960. Some became
drones and a single NF.Mk.ll, WM262 as
A77-3,wasevaluated in 1953.
The Belgian Air Force's F.Mk.4s were
delivered between April and September
Meteor NF.Mk.11t (top r1ghl) W0673:F of No. 87
Squadron was ecrllpped in 19S8. Right:
WM245:Q of No. U1 Squadron. Thla was
later converted to a TI.Mk.20. (MAP)
Above: Meteor NF.Mk.11s from No. 29 Squadron
In eehelon atarboard. WD641:C nearest , then
W0715:W, WOS9B:T, W060S:O, W0 762:X,
W0792:U, W0597:B and W0786:A. Right:
WM158:T of No. 96 Squadron. (MAP)
1949 and flew for five years before being
dr.:clnred obsolete and struck off charge in
1957. New and ex-RAJ' Mk.7s were deliv-
ered in 1948, 195land J952withafewfind-
ing use as tugs; Avions Fairey modi fied
some with E.\/44 tails and the last were
retired from acthc service in 1961. To
replace the Mk.4s, Belgium ordered a quan-
tity of F.Mk.Ss, the first ex-RAF, then 150
built under license by Fokker in the
Netherlands (who opened a production line
in April 1949) and the r ~ t assembled by
Fairey from Fokkcror Gloster parts; all were
Below: Preserved Meteor NF.Mk.11 WM167:M,
now at Hum, was converted back f rom a
TT.Mk.20 to flyable eondition. (A.W.Hall)
RAF Meteor Squadrons and Units
with representative aircraft
EE215, EE229
1 Squadron EE284, EE458
56 Squadron EE357, EE485
63Squadron EE345, EE470
56 Squadron EE349, EE399
74 Squadron EE306, EE473
92 Squadron EE332, EE482
124 Squadron EE363, EE464
222 Squadron EE247, EE450
234 Squadron EE290, EE487
245Squadron EE282. EE484
257 Squadron EE272, EE352
263Squadron EE353, EE404
266 Squadron EE277. EE411
500 Squadron EE348, EE403
504 Squadron EE283. EE305
541 Squadron EE409, EE410
616Squitdron EE231.EE277
778SquadronFieetAirArm EE337
1335 Conversion Unit {later 226 OCU) EE318.
Central Fighter Establishment {CFE) EE281,
RA371, VZ436
EE598, RA366
VT132, VT257
EE591, VT304
VT213, VZ417
RA440, VW276
RA427, VT303
RA415, VW258
RA414, VZ410
RA444, VT268
RA426, VW281
RA474, VZ392
EE584, VW272
VT262, VZ436
EE524, VZ436
VW285, VZ428
RA429, VT11S
Conversion Unit (OCU) RA372.
EE578, VT335
EE528, EE530
71 WF786
72 VZ629
73 WA618
74 \f'oN430
79 WH235
81 WH119
85 WF876
87 """"'
89 WL459
92 WH223
93 WA666
94 WG939
96 WN309
98 WF813
112 WG973

145 WH236
151 WG949
152 WL459
185 WG941
208 WAfJ06
213 WA622
219 WH206
222 WL480
245 \f'oN484
247 VZ634
249 WA596
256 WN310
257 \f'oN428
263 VW489
264 WH243
421 WA740
500 lladron VZ638
501 Squadron WA592
504Squadron WA610
541 Squadroo WF779
600 Squadroo WA628
601 Squadroo WA601
602 Squadron WF173
603Squadroo WF825
604Squadroo VW453
605 Squadron WA595
607Squadron WF833
608 Squadron WA671
609Squadron WA672
610Squadron WH127
611Squadron WA743
612Squadron WL378
613Squadron WF778
614 Squlldroo VZ636
615 Squadroo WA684

228 OCU WH240
229 OCU WA729
231 OCU VW422
601 Squadron
604 Squadroo
611 Squadron

VZ456, WK941
WE891. WH302
VZ434, WH365
WF639, WF760
WE862, WH456
WA808, WH256
WH286, WK716
VWJ64, VZ585
VZ590. W8124
VW361, VZ606
VW366, WX964
W8161, WH572
VW377, WB166
VW376, WH573
VZ620, WB160
WD740, WD776
WD651, WD737
WD614, WD763
WD658, WM183
WD622, WM244
WD606, WM157
WD590, WM270
W0642, WD707
W0647, WD783
W0702, WM230
WS612, WS680
W$593, WS679
WS607, WS676
WS614, WS682
W$600, WS718
WS674, WS691
WS593. WS683
237 OCU WA697
WS606, W$696
11 WA693
13 WH116
14 Squadroo WF779
16 Squadroo WA657
19Squadroo WF819
25Squadron WF816
26Squadron WL430
28$quadron WA675
29Squadroo WF772
32$quadroo WA611
33 Squadroo WA659
34Squadroo WL422
39Squadron WL431
41Squadron WFS48
43 Squadroo \f'oN488
46 Squadroo WH209
53Squadron VZ632
54Squadron \f'oN486
56Squadron WA629
60Squadron WH209
63Squadron VZ632
64 Squadroo WF793
65Squadroo WL373
66Squadron VZ630
87Squadron WF792
68Squadron WH185
702 Squedron Fleet Air Arm VW436
703 Squadron Fleet Air Arm WS103
728 Squadron Fleet Air Arm VZ648
736 Squadron Fleet Air Arm WS107
759 Squadroo Fleet Air Arm WL336
771 Squadron Fleet Air Arm WA649
1 Squadron

111 uadron
247 Squadron
257 Squadron
263 Squadron
VZ454. WA642
WF654, WK921
VZ480. WA930
VZ563. WA907
WE858, WH313
VZ446. WA640
VZ448, WA831
VZ465. WA773
VZ541. WK993
VZ444, WF641
VZ510. WA896
25 Squadron


WS725, WS776
WS836, WS844
WS724, WS835
WS754. wseoo
WS797, WS804
WS735, WS805
W$731, WS844
WS829, WS847
W$751, WS848
Above: Meteor NF.Mk.11 W064&:R was on-e of 11
number that were converted to target towing
dutJea,aaa TI.Mk.20, hencetheliberalamount
ofdaygloontha nose, tailandwlnga. ltaervad
with the Central Signals Establishment and,
1fter conversion, with Noa. s and 8 CAACUa.
Left: NF.Mk.12 WS665:L of No. 153 Squadron,
note thedlstlnctlveflnbadge.(MAP)
in service by August \954. Final acquisi-
tions were NF.Mk. l l s del ivered in 1957.
The Mk.Ss were replaced by Hawker
Hunters from 1956, Avro CFlOOs replaced
the Mk. lls in October 1958 but a number
passed to civilian ownership. Some ex-RAF
aircrall kept their RAF serials under the
wings with Belgian serials on the fuselage.
Brazil ordered both Mk. 7s and 8s as their
Meteor NF.Mk.12 WS697:N of No. 25 Squadron
seen on 30 April 1954. (Armst rong Whitworth)
TF-7 and F-8 with the latter configured for
both interception and ground attack using
underwing rockets and bombs. Squadron
conversion begun in September 1953. All F-
8s were retired in 1968 because of wing
spar metal fatigue induced by the stresses of
flying at low level but the last TF-7 lasted
untill97l. Another F-8, originally scrialled
4399 but re-numbered 4460, was built from
spare parts and a stored main fuselage and
wings serving liS a target tug from 1970 to
Twenty Mk.4s ordered for Denmark were
delivered between October 1949 and March
1950 to join No. 3 Air Flotilla of the Naval
Air Service. the unit becoming No. 723
Squadron when the Royal Danish Air Foree
fom1cd on I October 1950. All Mk.4s were
struck off charge in February 1957. F.Mk.S
purchases arrived betwcenJanuaryundJunc
1952, the RDAF being the first overseas
force to order both this mark and the
NF.Mk.ll (delivered between November
1952 and March 1953). The first Mk.ll
(serial 501) flew on 22 October 1952 and
they served unti l May 1958 when replaced
by the F-860 Sabre although six were con-
verted to TI.Mk.20s in 1959 and survived
until the end of 1962. The Mk.Ss were
phased out for Hunters between 1956 and
March 1962, the last examples serving as
Two famous fighter squadrons that employed
Meteor NF.Mk.12s were (upper right] No. 85
Squadron represented by WS593:X and (right)
No. 72 Squadron's WS623;Q, (MAP)
Left: Meteor NF.Mk.11 W0790 served with TRE
and Ferranti before conversion to Mk.12 stan-
dard and thsn with the Royal Radar
Establishment (RRE). Late In Its care8f' lt had
this distinctive pointed Tornado nose nd the
MoO ' raspbsrry rtple' white, red and darlt blue
colour schema. (RAE) Lower left: Meteor
NF.Mk.11 W0686 when serving at RAE Bedford
in about 1964,the tong nose probe being used
tugs. Some T.Mk. 7s were also acquired.
Ecuador ordered 12 ex-RAF FR.Mk.9s in
1954 refurbished by Flight Refuelling
(FRL). Egypt ordered F.Mk.4s which were
delivered, after a Middle East arms embar-
go, between October 1949 and May 1950.
Mk. 7s were also bought but orders for 24
F.Mk.8s (serials 1415 to 1438) were halted
in October 1950 by another embargo- 14
were rctumcd to standard and ten went in the
Danish contract. In December \952 clear-
ance W3S given to deliver 12 ex-British
machines but this too was stopped after just
four arrivals, the others going to Brnzil and
lsrnel before, finally. eight more ex-RAF
aeroplanes were sold in \955. Six recondi-
tioned NF.Mk.13s were also supplied in
mid-1955. During the Suez campaign of
October and November 1956 Mk.Ss, escort-
ed by MiG-15s, anackcd lsrneli ground
forces and lost one to a Mystcre in air-to-air
COtllbat, but many Egyptian Meteors were
destroyed on the ground by the British in
Opcmtion Muske1eer: two NF.13s were also
lost in the air but one Egyptian NF.Mk.13
did ci.1mage an RAF Valiant bomber during
an interception. The survivors were replaced
Fmncc had two Mk.4s as test beds, sever-
al cx-Syrian (embargoed) and RAF Mk.7s
received between 1950 and !955 and 41
NF.Mk.\ 1 s delivered between January 1953
and April 1955. French Air Force officials
were happy with the type's performance in
Air Defence Command as replacement for
the Mosquito but they were succeeded in the
front line by Vautours in 1957. One detach
ment flew patrols against Algerian terrorists
in 1957 from Bone while seveml were used
for trials and target towing, NFll -6 acting as
chase aircmfi for Fmnee's Concorde, and a
few served with the Flight Test Centre
(CEV) until the end of the 1980s having
been extensively used in r.1dar and missile
development. Two Mk. l 3s were n.'Condi-
tioned by Annstrong Whitworth and sent to
France in June 1956, one (NFlJ-365)
receiving an Exocct missi le nQSe in 1972.
An NF.Mk. 14 was acquired for civil usc in
The biggest Meteor customer was Holland
who wanted so many that a licence was
taken out by Fokker on 2!! July 1948to bui ld
the F.Mk.8. First orders, for Mk.4s, were
placed with Gloster and deliveries began to
the Fighter Training School in June 1948
and were completed in 1950. T.Mk.7 deliv-
eries were completed in 1956. Home. built
Although records show that Meteor NF.Mk.13
WM311 was struck off charge on 29 December
1958 Ilia seen hare at tha tWM Oudord painted
ln itsoldNo.J9Squadroncoloursbutobvlousty
lnnaedoffur1hercareandatt&ntionaatha nosa
who .. tolaoappaars toberatherflat.
deliveries to the RNethAF began on 12
January 19SI and ended on 15 February
19S4 while more Mk.8s were buill for
Belgium. These machines formed the core
strength of Air Defence Command until
Hunters began to replace them in 19S6.
Israel ordcn .. -d both T.Mk.7s and F.Mk.Ss
(the only jet fighter available to them) with
both fiued for target towing and the latter
modified to take American HVAR rockets
under the wings and arriving between
August 19S3 and January 19S4. Seven
FR.Mk.9s were also refurbished by Flight
Refuelling Limited in l 9S4 and six
NF.Mk. I 3s were delivered in September
I 9S6 and March I 9S8. The Mk.Ss were
replaced by Mystercs from 19S6 but lasted
until the mid-l960s as troiners and target-
tugs; the Mk.l3s remained until I 964. The
Suez conflict brought the possibility of
Egyptian Meteor versus Israeli or RAF
Meteor but this uever occurred and Israel
Two Meteor NF.Mk.13s at the time of the Suez
cri sis. Left: WM 339 ofNo. 39Squadron. Lower
left: Thisalrcraft dlffersln havlngpart of theser-
let overpelnted by the Suez bleck and yellow
stripes. It portreys the No. 39 Squadron mark-
lngsbutcannot be preclsel yldentifled.(MAP)
kept its planes uway from the opposition's
MiG-ISs after Australian experience in
Koren. Here lsroers Meteors were used for
escorting bombers and trnnsports but before
the conflict, F.Mk.8s and FR.Mk.9s did
shoot down several Egyptian Vampires
which had invaded Israeli airspace: four
more were downed during the conflict itself
allover the Negev.
Sweden used three T.Mk.7s as civilian tar-
get tugs, but under contract lo 1hc Swedish
Air Force, between 195S and 1974.
In January 19SO Syria ordered 1wo Mk. 7s
and 12 Mk.Ss but the fanner were blocked
by the Middle East embargo (going to
France instead) being replaced in September
19S2. The Mk.Ss arrived in Syria between
December 19S2 and March 1953 and were
supplemented by another seven plus two
FR.Mk.9s in \9S6. Finally six Annstrong
Whitworth refurbished NF.Mk. IJs were
delivered in 1954. All Syrian Meteors were
withdrawn by the end of the \9SOs.
On II September 1951 the News Chro11icle
reponed 'Britain's Gloster Meteor Mk.8 -
one of the mainstay fighters in NATO
Defence - is totally outclassed by the
Russian MiG- IS'. The piece described the
first engagements between the types in
Korea, the Meteors belonging to No. 77
Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force. The
Meteor NF.Mk.11 WM261 was converted Into the
prototype NF.Mk.14andlsseenon29 July1953
with Its forward fuselage and wing roots atiU

- - I

r. -
- '-1.
- -

Meteor NF.Mk.14s In aquadron ltrvlc:e. Top left:
WS729:A of No. 153 Squ1dron. (APN) Top tight:
WS750:W of No. 25 Squadron. Above left:
WS759:8 of No. 60 Squadron. Above rlght:
WS836:P of No. 33 Squadron. (MAP)
Meteor had h<x':omc the first jet fighter to
fight in two wars but the article confinned it
was no longer suitable as a pure day fighter.
In February 195 I the first Meteors arrived
from Britain to replace No. 77's Mustangs
and a full change-over was completed on 4
May at lwakuni, Japan. One was evaluated
against a USAF F-86 Sabre where it was
found the Sabre could leave the Meteor in a
steep dive or on a straight and level run
whereas the Austral ian jet proved superior in
turns and sustained climb. The squadron
rctumcd to KorcaattheendofJune.
Operntions began on 30 July with a sweep
near the Yalu river but no contact was made
with enemy aircraft until 25 August. Four
days later came the first dog-fight with a
second on 5 September resulting in one
Meteor lost and two damaged for no enemy
kills. On 24 October 16 Meteors were
attacked while esconing 13-29 bombers
alongside F-86s and one of the bombers was
shot down. Two MiGs were damaged in
Below: No 85 Squadron flaw a mhltd bunch of
both NF.Mk.121 and NF.Mk.14a bttw"n April
1954 and Octobtr 1958. In this plctu,.. two
Mk.12s are pi"ICHdtd onto lht WHt Mailing
runway by 1 Mk. 14 for 1 st, take-off. (MAP}
November and on I December the first
Meteor MiG-15 kill was credited to Fig. OtT.
Bruce Gogerly flying A77-l7. But three
Meteors were also lost and, with the arrival
of another F-86 Wing, the type's primary
role of fighter sweep was changed.
Priority was now given to fitting external
stores for ground attack, either two 500lb
(227kg), two l,OOOlb {454kg) or Napalm
tanks; the fi rst sonies were made on 8
January 1952. There was still some oppor-
tunity for air-to-air combat and on 8 May
four Meteors bounced two MiG-15s at
15,000fi (4,572m) near Pyongyang destroy-
---..... _
ing one and damaging the other. Another
MiG was destroyed on 27 March 1953.
No. 77's Meteors fought on until the Cease
Fire was declared on 27 July 1953 but 54
were lost altogether (not all in battle) for
only four MiGs destroyed in combat; how-
Below: A number of Meleor NF.Mk.14s were
redulgnated aa NF.(T}Mk.14 andusedbyNos1
and2 AirNavtgatlonSchoolsforhlgh speed, low
lavet lnllructlon. WS807:JofNo.1 ANSianen
at Llltlt Rllllngton during pan of a land-away-
ffom-ba" t llercl" In 1964. All camouflaga haa
b"nremoved andhlgh vlslbllltydayglol)<'ltchas
around the anglnes, wings, nose and tall unit
- ---:::----
ever, the type did pcrfonn well in ground
attack destroying 16 bridges and thousands
of vehicles and buildings.
The Mk.8 had inferior perfornmncc to boih
MiG- IS and F-86 so it was near impossible
for a Meteor to destroy a MiG in equal com-
bat, the supposedly greater manocuvrnbilily
of the Meteor did not compensate for the
disadvantages imposed by ils low critical
Mach number. It was outclassed at high
level; a MiG- IS could fly in the combat area
at cruising speeds which were in excess of
the Meteor's maximum pcnnissiblc Mach
number, and it could always pull away
rapidly in level flight or climb. Thus 1he
MiG-IS could always dictate the fight
except at lower level where the combat was
more balanced.
Between 11 and 26 August 1945, prototype
00202 was successfully deck handled on
HMS Pretoria Castle, a small escort carrier
moored in the Firth of Clyde, having been
Some RAF Meteor Gate Guardians
WL168(as WH456')


Collis hall
Church Fenlon
Upwood and Ely

Cat! Isle
Examples of Renumbered RAF Meteor
Ground Instructional Airframes
DG202 as 5758M at Locking, DG208 as 5826M.
EE210 as 5837M !Melksham), EE220 as 5678M (Locking)
EE269 as 6866M (BenUey Pnv:IJ+ EE419 as 724/'M (ColtiShall)

7322M {Halton), WF657 as 7463M (Btggin Htll).
(Valley), WM192 as 7360M.
W$802 as 7968M (Machrihanish)
As a large number of Melear _all versions were allocated as instructional airframes only a
representativeof eachMari<;ar.dttsongtnalbasehasbeengtven
Left: Nose view of Meteor NF.Mk.14 WS744 of No. 85 Squadron which shows the rail behind the cock
pltfor t henewslldlngclearvisioncanopy.Aisoclearlylndlcatedare theareas ofcamouflageonthe
upper wing and engines plus the 'No walk' black outlined areas on the wings. (MoD) Far left:
Three Meteor NF.Mk.14s of No. 152 Squadron with WS805:P nearest the camera. The squadron marK-
Ings on each sideoftheroundel conslste-doftwogreenbarswlth awhltecentreoutllned In black.
Only the centre aircraft has underwlng tanks. Below: Meteor NF.Mk.14 WS745:J being prepared for a
sortie. It was In use by the Central Fighter Establishment whose codes E:C appear on each side of
theroundel. (MAP)
Right: From September 1963 Mk.14 WS629 flew
from RollsRoyce Hucknall for a period as a pho-
ASLW. (A.W. Hall) Lower right : Meteor NF.Mk.14
WS729 served with Not .85and 152Squadrons
before going to No. 25 Squadron coded ' A'
dismantled and taken aboard on a lighter. As
a result, Mk.3 EE317 made some approach
es and touch and go landings before two
more, EE337 and EE387, received Sea
Mosquito type arrestor hooks and a strength
cncd rear fuselage and undercarriage as 'Sea
Meteors' for carrier operations. Their
Derwent Vs had more power. After famil
iarisation, landing trials at 12,0001b
(5,443kg) top weight were made on HMS
Implacable which proved so successful that
a Mk.4, EE53 l, went to Heston Aircmft for
fitting with folding wings.
When the fi rst landing took place on 8
June 1948, it was the first time a British
twin-jet aeroplnnc had been received by a
carrier. The lighter Meteor was, however,
not acquired by the Admiralty but the
T.Mk.7 without arrestor gear did find
employment in several units. Eleven ex
RAF T.Mk.7s joined 17 new-build aircr.tft
and served untill967.
Armstrong Whitworth's Meteor involve-
ment did not end with the close of night
lighter production because in 1956 the
NF.Mk.JI was turned into a target tower for
the Royal Navy. As Mk.ll airframes
became surplus through replacement by
NF.Mk.l4s, they were seen as ideal tug con
versions to replace the Fnircy Firefly and
over40 were modified by the company or by
Below: No 85 Squadron' Meteor NF.Mk.14a
-re well photographed and some tuperb pie
lures resulted. This one t haws WS775 when
based at West Mailing. {Armstrong Whitworth).
Right: The Empire Test Pllott School had most
Marb of Meteor on strength at one time or
another. Seen when the School was atlll at RAE
Farnborough, NF.Mk.14 WS793 was coded ' 5'
whenln ETPS servlee. (MAP)
No. 85 Squ11dron Mtleor NF.Mk.14s. Above;
WS744 which has the tsllplane bullet In the
squadron colours. (MoO) Right; Banking away
W$723 l hows Its clean under surfaces. Bottom:
NF.Mk.14s W$741, WS740 and WS723 above the
cloud layer. lnterestlngly atthls tlmethealrcrew
did not -ar bo.,. domes. (Ray Williams)
the Navy's Air Yard at Sydenham. A wind
driven winch was mounted above the star-
board wing between engine and fuselage
with a tail guard preventing fouling of the
rear control surfaces by the 6.1 OOft ( l ,860m)
long cable. The radar was removed but as
the winch and cable were of similar weight,
all-up-weight and pcrfonnancc were little
different from the Mk.l l . Specification
lT.\790 covered the tug requirement.
WD767 was the first modified and flew on
5 December 1956. The main British centre
for Meteor tugs was the Fleet Requirements
Unit based at Hum but No. 728 Squadron at
Hal Far, Malta was the first major recipient
The Del Mar OF-4RO lowed rotating target sys-
tem seen fitted to Meteor TT.Mk.20 WD706 on 2!5
June1962. W0706wuscrappedln197l5.{Rey
and used it to tow gunnery uargets for ship
and shore batteries. The murk was replaced
by the Canberra TT.Mk.IS in 1970. Some
Mk.20s were also operated by No. 1574
Target Facility Flight at Selctnr and Changi
(1959 to 1970) and the civilian unit No.3
CAACU at Exeter (196\to 1970), to supply
the RAF and Army with target facilities.
The Meteor clocked up an extraordinary his-
tory of post-war service as an engine test bed
and trials aircraft since, being a convention-
al twin engine fighter, it was able to accept
engines were going; the Vampire,
designed around the H. I Goblin, could not
do so. This work resulted in the Meteor
completing :a l:argc and varied contribution
to the history of jet aviation outside of its
ownsquadron serviee.
Rolls-Royce used F.Mk.4 RA435 on
Derwent V development from August 1947
and in spring 1949 fitted afterbuming with
rear nacelles and variable nozzles.
First flight came on I 0 June with the first
lighting of reheat soon after. At the
Famborough Show in September, RA435
revealed to the public for the first time the
thrilling noise generated by afterbuming.
Trials lasted until July 1950 and. despite
reheat being unsuited for centrifugal jets
bttause the increase in fuel consumption
was undesirable on an already thirsty
engine, the results were beneficial to the
forthcoming generation of axials.
During 1950, Mk.4 VTJ96 received reheat
to its Derwent Vs before one engine was
Two pictures of the n me Meteor NF.Mk.14 but at
different times In Its career. Right: WS788:C at
Little Rlu lngton when In service with No. 2 Air
Navigation School. Below: the same machine
after extensive refurbl t hment seen at RAF
Leeming In 1991 In the colours of No. 152
Squadron, the unlt wllhwhlch It originally wen!
lnto tervlce.
replaCed by a reheated Derwent 8. This
pushed the Derwent V's thrust up to 4,4001b
(19.6kN) which cut time to 20,0000
(6,096m) from 4.9to 3.1 minutes. The air-
frame was returned to standard in 1953 and
went by sea to Canada for cold-weather tri-
als before the Canadian National
Aeronautical Establishment borrowed it to
install a new reheat system for the 6,0001b
(26.7kN) thrust Orenda engine which need-
ed a 50in (127cm) to the nacelle D
rear and 450lb (204g) of extra weight. First
flight took place on 14 January 1954 and
Abovt: Meteor Mk.11 WD767 tun towing a tar-
getafterc:onverslon toTT.Mk.20ttandard. The
small blob on thteabtels a recordlng mlc:ro-
phone. (A.W. Hall) left: Meteor TT.Mk.20 WM255
In ntval colours as ' 845' ol the Fleet
Requirements Unit (FRU) at Hum In Mareh 1970.
This alreraft went to France F-ZABD in
November197 . (G.Manglon)
tests continued throughout the year. On
return to the UK, VT\96 became a U.Mk.l5
drone and made the last flight by any Mk. l 5
on 9 February 1963. This aircraft's career
lasted I 5 years and probably encompassed
more variety than any other Meteor.
Two more Mk.4s, RA490 and RA491 had
engines that required a strengthened centre
wing. RA490 was initially used for some
Gloster Aircraft Drawings/Pr ojects -
Meteor and Developments


Nava hterto N.4Qf46, 2.47.
M Meteorwi1hdeltawing,slabtailandtwoRROerwent5engWles,
OevelopedP.262, 19.11.47.
Meteor with reheated Derwent Bs. 8.49.
All-Weather Meteor wi1h reheated Derwent 5s, cannon mounted outside


A -43 radar
'dropping' trials to establish a higher maxi-
mum landing weight for the Meteor of
16, 1001b (7,303kg) (a rise of over l,OOOlb
[454kg]), but in 1948 it passed to
Metropolitan-Vie ken for the installation of a
pair of F.2 Beryl axial engines. This power
unit had already been tried on prototype
00204 with underslung nacelles because
the F.2 could not fit between the wing spars
but a modified wing centre on RA490 had
inverted U-sections in both front and rear
spars which could accommodate different
engines with adequate ground clearance.
Mtteor U.16 dront WK600 on loan to Marshall of
Cambrldgtln about 1987 forttsllng the Radar
Vtetor Ml" Dlttanee tndlutor. Note the test
equlpment t lloverthealreraftproteeltdbygrty
eovers. WK800wasnotflownasadronedurlng
the trial and returned to RAE Llanbedr as a
U.Mk.16 when the programme was eompleted.
(Both Marshall of Cambridge)
With the Beryl, RA490 could attain 40,0001l
(12,192rn) in 7.5 minutes instead of the
usual 11.5 for a standard Mk.4, but after a
wheels-up landing the trial was closed.
Introducing high performance jet aircraft
into the world's air anns raised a general
problem of trying to keep landing and
stalling speeds low enough for adequate
safety; as maximum speeds increased. more
attention focused on ensuring these aero-
planes could fly slowly enough for a safe
landing. A method that seemed to offer a
reasonable solution was to deflect an air-
craft's jet effiux downwards. that is at an
angle to the line of flight, to create some
upthrust or 'artificial' lift and thus allow a
reduction in stalling speed. Such a property
would be particularly valuable to carrier air-
craft and RA490 was selected as the 'Jet
Deflection' Meteor arriving at Westland,
Ycovil, in curly 1954 for a conversion
involving the installation of two 5,000\b
(22.2kN) Ncne [1/ engines with deflected
Meteor NF.Mk.14 WS838 was used by the
E:>:perlmental Flying Depanment, RAE Bedford
fornumerous .. ptrlments butaiao aervedasa
chase plane when required. It was painted a
b<ight yellow overall and terved with RAE until
the tate 1970a.(RAEBedford)
The result was a Meteor with huge
nacelles. Thanks to a need to keep the
deflected thrust line close to the centre or
gravity the nozzles protruded out or the bot-
Right: Mateor RA490 pictured at Waterbeach in
1956 aftermodlflcatlon byWeattand as the 'Jet
Deflection' Meteor. The Rolla-Royce Nene 31
moonted ahead of the wtng spar required mas-
slvenaeellea plua TrentMeteortypaflnleta.(Erlc
Morgan) Betow:The u traordlnary prone pilot
Meteor WK935 convened from a Mk.8 by
Armstrong Whitworth. Note the NF.Mk.14 type
fin. Today Ills preserved atCoeford.
tom of the nacelles at a point just behind the
wing's leading edge and so the Nenes were
mounted ahead of the wing spar. The
National Gas Turbine Establishment
designed these units and the resultant
nacelles stretched more than 8ft (2.44m)
ahead of the wing. Jet deflection angle was
60 degrees. Ballast had to be placed in the
rear fuselage to counteract considernble nose
heaviness, despite removal of guns, ammu-
nition and armour, a M.k.8 Meteor tail was
introduced, together with Trent Meteor type
fi n lets, to ensure adequate latcrnl st.abi\ity. A
PR.Mk. IO outer wing gave a span of 44.33R
(13.5m), the largest of any Meteor.
RA490 flew again "in May with Westland
pilot Ll.:o de Vignc in the cockpit before
going to RAE Famborough in August for a
Left: Test bed Metoor F.Mk.<4 RA49<1 '"n with
enlarged nacelle for MetroVIck Beryl engine.
(A.W. Hall) Lo-r left: The ned Mete-or F.Mk.<4 on
the n.,., RA491, received Roii -Royce Avon
with nacelle 2S per eent bigger than normal
which gave anlmpnsslveappearanee; pictur.
probabl y dated September 1949. (Roger
programme lasting well into 1956. The
installation proved very successful and the
lowest full power airspeed achieved was
75mph ( 12lkmlh), 11.5mph ( 18.5kmlh) less
than usual for a Meteor, and it was calculat-
ed that at a ' normal' minimum speed of
86mph ( 138kmlh), the deflected thrust was
supponing over 40 per cent of the aireruft's
weight. When flown conventionally,
RA490's low speed performance showed
ncar normal Meteor figures. RA490 flew in
this fom1 at RAE Bedford in early 1957 but
jet deflection was not genernlly adopted
because of the penalty in weight.
The first suggestions to fit 6,5001b
(28.9kN) Rolls-Royce AJ.65 (Avon) engines
in a Meteor came in 1945 and predicted a
sea level speed of over 6 1Smph (990kmlh)
for a standard aircraft. J.N. Boothman at the
Ministry of Aircrnft Production considered it
a most attrnctive idea and on 10 December
approved go-ahead for a prototype but wrote
that despite keeping the Meteor in the front
line as a high performance aircraft for some
time, this was ' putting new wine in old bot-
Nothing was done on this but in November
1948 RA491 arrived at Rolls-Royce direct
from the production line and two 6.000lb
(26. 7kN) thrust RA2 Avons were installed.
Hucknall manufactured the nacelles which
had to be 25 per cent bigger than normal and
Below; Meteor F.Mk.8 WA820 was the most pow-
erful of all Meteors wit h two Armstrong-Siddeley
Sapphires fitted In 1951 which again needed
'Bill' Waterton, now Gloster chief test pilot,
flewiton29Aprill949. Itwasthefirstair-
craft to be solely Avon powered, although
development engines had flown in a mixed
powerplant Avro Laneastrian, and was an
important component in getting this vital
engine ready for service. The programme
lasted until November and produced what
was so far the most powerful Meteor capable
of reaching 40,000fi (12, 192m) in a little
over four minutes.
From 28 April 1950, RA49l flew with
more powerful 6,500lb (28.9kN) RAJs
before being purchased by France in 1951.
Mtteor F.Mk.8 WA982 became the first 'four-
&rl{llne' Mete in February 19S4 when two Soar
the normal Darwents.
With RA3s, thoughts turned towards an
attempt on the lime-to-height record and in
practice RA49l made 40,000ft (12, 192m) in
Above: Argentinian Meteor F.Mk,4 C-051 seen at
thebeglnnlrl{lof1970towards theendofitsfly-
lng career when It belonged to t he 7th Air
Brigade. It wn withdrawn from service on 12
May of that year In pristine condition having
neversufferedaccldental damage.Todayithas

002. Right: An unidentified Meteor F.Mk.4 and
several rebel pilots dur1ng the enti-Peron revo.
lutlon st.llged In September 1955. The crudely
painted markings on the nose, fuselage,
overcomes' and 'MR' which stood for the
Revolution Movement. Below: Argentinian
Meteors were delivered In natural metal finish.
This one Is 1-089 which etlhll time belorl{led to
the 7th Air Brigade In 195ll. The aircraft was
wllhdrewn from service In 1964.(AII Argentinian
photographs from Femado Benedello/Argentlne
Alr ForceEstudlosHistorlcos)
2.7 minutes and 50.000 ft {15,240m) in 3.65
minutes. In Fmnce RA491 undertook a sim-
ilar role for SNECMA with ATAR !Ol.B2
Above: Mettor F.Mk.4s of the 7th Air Brigade
seentakingoffin1962.The nearestaircraftis C
011 andthe centreoneC-041.Thatfarthestfrom
bands, spsnwise. Right: A flight of four Mettor
F.Mk.4tofthe ArgentlnlanAirForcetHnduring
themaklngofthe fiim 'FIIght231'
engines of 5, 1811b (23.0kN) thrust being
installed, flight testing beginning in October.
One of the French night fighters, NFl\-3,
became a 'four-cngincd' Meteor by having
SFECMAS ramjets mounted in small under
wing nacelles outside the main engines; ini-
tially two 1,3231b (5.9kN) S-600 units were
tried in 1954, two 2,5\Jlb (ll.2kN) S-900s
replaced themayearlater.
With theexperieneeofRA491 (much of the
flying took pltlcc at Moreton Valance)
Gloster submitted 11 brochure in June 1949
for an RAF Avon Meteor interim day fighter
called P.292, pending the availability of the
more advanced Hunter and Swift then at the
design stage. Compared to the F.Mk.8, this
had the extra power of two 6,5001b (28.9kN)
RAJ Avons, a reduced wing loading and a
reductiou in tic ratio of both wing (to 10 per
Right: A number of Argentinian Meteors were
given speeialmarkingsin1961 to colncidewlth
the ' Fesllval of Wheat'. Based at Leones,
Cordoba, they were amongst the most striking
colour s h e m e ~ to be applied to any Meteor
F.Mk.4. Below: Meteor 1056 tpeclally painted in
a tllver and red colour scheme for a series of
hlgh altltude fllghllmadeln1954. 0noneoeca-
wtolch equalledtheSouthAmerlcan record orig-
inally .at ln Apr111954byl-095.
Meteor fighters upper and
lower surface camouflage
A ~ FrtnchAir FO<l::e Mete-orT.Mk.7:228 seen
ln1964(orlglna!Frenchserlat unknown).(Rogar
Lindsay) Right: French Mel801" NF.Mk.11 NF11-5
with a apotelalty adapted l'lldar nose during ser-
YieewhhlhaFrtnchFtlghiTaa!Centrt(CEV). It
waa '"" 11 Brellgny on 14 September 1980.
(Roger Lindaay)
haul to bring it back to flying standard
should WL419 run out of flying hours, so at
least one Meteor should still be seen in fl y-
ing service for some time to come. Both
machines arc T.Mk.71/2S modified in the
same way as WA634.
The selection of the Meteor as Martin-
Baker's scat-test vehicle for such a long
period is cxtruordinary but the finn found it
a robust and very reliable aircruft which
made it ideal for these progrummes. It was
found to be a very stmightforward aircruft to
work on since all the mechanics were basi-
cally a follow-on to propeller driven aero-
planes, the clectrics were relatively simple
and the only real change was the jet engines
A problem with early jets was their capac-
ity to bum fuel very quickly resulting in the
first generation of aircraft, including the
Meteor, lacking range. The Derwent 8 was
incredibly reliable but burnt two gallons
(9lit) per minute when idling on the ground
and 40 gallons (1821it) during taxi and take- .
off. An immediate solution was to develop
in-flight refuelling to a practical level, some-
thing attempted before the war, and the
Meteor again played a leading role. The
value of in-flight rcfuelliog was that a much
improved range was available without
affecting an aircraft's full speed capability or
war load, a fighter or bomber could now
take-off with maximum ammment and min-
Mateor NF.Mk.11, coded 25, seen at Armatrong
imum fuel and then fi ll up when airborne.
Sir Alan Cobham's Flight Refuelling Lid
(FRL) began work in January 1936 and per-
fected the ' looped-hose' technique. This
was unsuited, however, for single scat fi ght-
ers and FRL was asked to produce an easier
system. The resultant 'probe and drogue'
method, comprising a streamed drogue
receptacle on a fuel line connecting to a
probe on the ' thirsty' aircmf\, was simple
and swiftly adopted. The first in-flight refu-
elled Meteor was F.Mk.3 EE397 which had
a nose probe and was the first of its type to
complete a contact between drogue and

established a Meteor cndur.mcc record of 12
hours three minutes.
Lancasters were not ideal for fonnating
with a Meteor, however, and the next nose
probe aircraft, F.Mk.4 VZ389, was trialed
with a Lincoln and this proved a better com-
bination when the first contacts were made
on 20 March 1950. In November, FRL was
sub-contmcted by Gloster to fit 20 F.Mk.8s
with nose-probes similar to VZJ89 and 16
joined the strength of No. 245 Squadron at
Horsham St Faith, the first RAF F.Mk.8 unit.
For refuelling, the nose probe just required
the Meteor pilot to position behind the
Top right: Another Meteor NF.Mk.11 to undergo
alterations to the noll was NF11-1 which served
with CEV on radar Installation experiments.
(APN) Right: Meteor NF.Mk.14 NF14-747 of the
French Air Force was originally W$747 of the
RAFbeforebetngtransferredtnAugust1955. It
servedwlththeCEV. (Roger Lindsay)
Above: Australian ex-RAF Meteor F.Mk.8, A17
510, photographed with No. 77 Squadron at
lwakuni, Japan,beforedeparturetoKorea. Note
the undarwing rockets. (APN) Right: Australian
Mat10r T.Mk.7 A17701 aii White and fitted with
an FR.Mk.9 style camera non . Photographed
at the Weapons Research Establishment.
(Roger Lindsay)
tanker and fly up to the drogue
The first machine completed was WA830
and acceptance flights began on 6 February
1951 but, despite the programme's success.
No. 245 was to remain the only unit to opcr
ate flight reruelling Meteors as the type was
itsclrbecoming long in the tooth with its scr-
RAAF Meteor F.Mk.8 A77-870 of the Meteorite
aerobatlc team was one of the last ex-RAF
machlnes tobedellveredandls nowpreserved
at the RAAF Museum. (A.W. Hall)
. ..
Right; Israeli Alr Force Meteor NF.Mk.13 coded
571n1967. ltsflrstiOFAF .. rlalltunknownbut
this lrcraft It now pnoserved st the IOFAF
Mu .. um tt H111tzerlm. (Roger Llndny) Lower
right: Meteor F-8 of the 1st Squedron, 1st
Flght., Group, BrezlllenAJrFon:eseen atSant.
Crw: elrbaM. (via N.L.Senandat)
vice lire limited. In ract, in-flight rcruclling
was shelved until the arrival or the Javelin
and Lightning but the experienced gained
rrom this trial, code-named Pin11acle, was
indispensable. On occasion. six Meteors
were kept airborne ror up to rour hours at a
time. For a period No. 245 used the sole
available Boeing YKB-29T USAF tanker
which gave the opportunity to reruel three
aircraft 111 a time and, on 9 October 1951, to
reruel ror the fi rst time at night. No. 245
Squadron's nose probe Meteors included
WA823, WA826. WA827, WA829, WA830.
WA832, WA834, WA836 and WA837.
A growing level or research and experimen-
tation centred on developing air-to-air mis-
siles (AAMs). VW790, a Mk.4, was
attached to Vickers and the Ministry of
Supply for instrument work on that fiml's
radar guided Red Dean AAM. Others
(including Mk. l l WM232 painted all-black)
went to de Havilland Propellers to help with
the infra-red Blue Jay (Firestreak). The
most primitive British AAM was the Fairey
Aviation Blue Sky (later Fireflash) and the
first guided firing was made rrom an
NF.Mk.\1 in \954. Blue Sky flew along a
radar beam laid down by the carrier aircraft
(a method called beam-riding) nnd the
Mk.ll was ideal forhousingtherndarin its
nose. Meteors were responsible for the fi r-
ing of many unguided and guided practice
rounds rrom \953 onwards, the missiles
being carried under each wing tip.
NF.Mk.ll s anached to Fairey included
WD743, WD744, WD745, WM372 aud
WM374(thclast paintcdall-whitc).
The Telecommunications Research
Establishment (TRE) was developing
advanced electronic equipment for the next
generation of fighters (Hunter, Swift and
Javelin). the first time avionics had fonned a
major proportion of the development cffon
of new combat aircraft. As a consequence.
many Meteors (over 30 to TRE ror example)
round their way onto an extensive assort-
ment of trials and examples or electronic
apparatus test flown included radar ranging
devices, missile homing heads and tail warn-
ing sensors. Others tested new rucl systems,
cameras, rocket projectiles and guns.
The oddest of Mcccor conversions was
Mk.S WK935. In 1951 Reid and Sigrist
flew a piston-cngincd aircmft called the
Bobsleigh which had both a normal cockpit
and. in front. a prone cockpit. It was rclt a
pilot lying in a prone position might bener
tolerate the extreme 'g' forces in the high
speed turns and flight now present with jet
fighters and, thus, reduce the likelihood or
blacking-out. The prone position ulso pre
Upper right: Th .. cond Bre:t:llian Air Force
Meteor TF-7 serlalled 4301, plcturt d in the
eoloursthat-realsousedon aome F-8alr-
crsft. (MAP) Right: A trio of Bruillan Air Force
TF-7s seenbeforedellverywlthmlnlmalnallon-
elandunl t martllngs.(vlaN.L.Stnandes)
Thelntof alxMeteorNF.Mk.13srefurblahedby
Armatrollg Whitworth Aircraft 101'" Syria ls seen
taking off from Bltteswellforitsdellveryfllght
on 1 July 1954. (R.IIy Williams)
sented an opportunity to reduce fuselage
cross-section and cut drag. The Bobsleigh
was the first stage in e:o:amining this theory,
the ne:o:t was fitting a prone cockpit with full
controls by Amtstrong Whitworth onto the
nose of WK935, the e:o:tra length
{52.4ftl16.0m) being compensated by the
use of a larger Mk.\ 4 type rudder. Work
began in 1952 and WK935 flew from
Baginton on I 0 February 1954.
The beneficiary of this research was the
Institute of Aviation Medicine. As the work
was so experimental, a back-up pilot was
always present in WK935 's regular cockpit
on all flights. The trial, undertaken at RAE
Famborough and lasting until31July 1955,
proved reasonably successful with the
Institute concluding that the concept was
feasible and that a prone pilot could absorb
more g'. A large restriction in vision was a
big weakness since the prone pilot was
unable to tum his head very much, an impor-
tant factor, and in mock attacks made by the
'prone-pilot' Meteor, the target was able to
get away on each occasion without much
With the introduction of the F.Mk.S, many
F.Mk.4s became surplus despite still having
plenty of airframe life remaining. The air-
to-air missile developments, mentioned pre-
viously, needed high speed targets to ensure
they would track and hit their victims as pre-
dicted, such targets would often be
destroyed and so there was a need for a
remotely controlled aeroplane. Conversion
of Mk.4s into high speed pilotless drones
was the answer and, again, Flight Refuelling
became the Design Authority due to
Syrian Air Force Meteor F.Mk.8 coded 109 seen
beforedeltverylnearty1953.(Roger lindsay)
Gloster's Meteor and Javelin workload. the
project itself being a joint RAEIFRL con
cern. From 1954 FRL established itself as
primary sub-contractor for refurbishing ex-
RAP Meteors going overseas or returning to
service and when Gloster closed in 1%3 it
became responsible for other marks as well.
Drone equipment included the remote
radio control gear and automatic pilot, and
wing tip pods which housed cameras for
filming the missile's flight path that could be
jettisoned for recovery by parachute. Flares
were carried to give infra-red heat seeking
missiles something to home onto.
began with T.Mk. 7 VW413 in
September 1954 and the first automatic
remote control pilotless take-off, with an
RAE pilot in the airCraft for back-up, was
made on 17 January 1955. As modi fied, the
F.Mk.4 drone was designated U.Mk.\5
(unmanned) and the first conversion,
RA421, flew from Tarrant Rushton on I I
March \955. The following month it made
a successful remotely controlled landing
which completed the whole flight cycle
under ground control.
Almost every source quotes a different fig-
ure for the number of Mk.4s converted but
the total was at least 90 and probably a few
more. The main centre of operations in the
UK was RAE Llanbedr and numerous
U.Mk. l 5s were downed and destroyed over
the Irish Sea when hit by test missiles either
air or surface launched {Scaslug,
Bloodhound and Thunderbird were all under
development at this time). However, many
rounds of both these and air-to-air weapons
were also launched at the Weapons Research
Establishment at Woomera, Australia, so
U. Mk.15s found their way there too.
With so many missile systems to perfect.
the supply of Mk.l5 drones was quickly
exhausted but by now, with the Hunter and
Javelin entering service, the F.Mk.S was
itself becoming redundant and many air-
frames were eannarkcd for drone conversion
as U.Mk.16s. This was similar to the Mk.15
but structural modifications included a
streamlined JOin (76.2cm) nose extension
which housed the remote control equipment.
Again the number converted is uneenain but
exceeds I 00; much higher quoted figures
may include some airframes used for spares
only. A U.Mk.l6 could be flown as a con-
ventional aeroplane wilh a pilot overriding
the remote control equipment, as a remotely
controlled machine but with a pilot aboard
for monitoring purposes, or as a pilotless
The prototype U.Mk. l6, WA 775, flew on
22 October 1956 but this programme lasted
much longer lmd was not concluded until
WH286 was converted in May 1972. A high
proportion of U.Mk.l6s went to Llanbedr
and in the 1980s the survivors were redesig-
nated O.Mk.l6s. Another F.Mk.8 operator
was Australia and FRL bcgau converting
Australian Mk.8s to Mk.\6 standard as !he
U.Mk.21 A from 1962: some retired ex-RAF
Mk.8s were designed U.Mk.21. Most air-
frames were modified at FRL but 25 conver-
sion kits were supplied to Australia who's
drones were opcn1tCd from Edinburgh Field
Meteor NF.Mk.13 strlal 1432, orlglroally WM362
and refurl:llshed byArmatrorogWhltworth, waa
the flroal eK-RAF machine acquired by the
Egyptian Air Force In 1955. (Ray Williams)
by Nos. I and 2 Air Trials Units. RAAF
drones were painted red and white. It is
believed designations U. Mk. \ 7, U.Mk.\8
and U.Mk. \9 were made available for pro-
posed drone conversions of retired
NF.Mk.ll, 12and 14aircrafl.
Apart from the ongoing work at Martin-
Baker, the impression that the Meteor's
test career had ended by the
1980s is incorrect. WK800, a D.Mk.\ 6,
arrived at Marshalls of Cambridge from
RAE Llanbcdr in late 1986 for a series of tri-
als with the Radnr Vector Miss Distance
top of the fuselage, under the ventml tank
and eight positions above and below the
nose, rear fuselage and both wing tips which
housed aerials and receivers. The trial last-
ed into 1988 and proved a success; at no
stage was WK800 flown as a drone. The last
operational D.Mk.l6 was still seJVing at
Llanbedr in 1991 having outlasted the de
Havilland Sea drones that were to
replace it.
Indicator or RVMDI. The theory was, The reminiscences of Meteor pilots add
instead of shooting down and destroying a colour to wlmt the aircmft was really like
drone, to make the missile miss on purpose and one. Norrie Grove, flew Mks.3. 7. 8 and
by a small distance. Test equipment. pro- night fighters. He felt that. overall, the
tccted by grey covers, appeared all over the Meteor was a good airerafi but, at the start,
aircraft and comprised on the thcF.Mk.Jwassomethingofadisastcr. All
EgyptienMeteorT.Mk.71441,wasthelastof sht
delivered to that air force before the arms
of the publicity then given to the new jet
fighters, and how a jet jockey would be fly-
ing so much faster than before. was contrast-
ed by the reality of a very sluggish throttle
with slow response. On the whole, the
F.Mk.3 was underpowered; the T.Mk.7 and
Norrie described the F. Mk.8 as a
'Gentleman's Aeroplane' which, for its day,
was quite advanced. It was not as outstand-
ing and thrilling as. for example, the de
Havilland Hornet, but was more than odc-
quatc for its role and one of the nicest aero-
planes he ever flew. However, such was the
speed of development at that time its capa-
bilities were soon lcfi behind once types like
the Hunter made an appearance. He flew the
Mk.8 throughoutthcmid-1950sand found it
had good manoeuvrability, good acrobatic
qualities and no real vices. In comparison.
the de Havilland Vampire F.Mk.S was a
more gentle aircraft but less powerful, the
de Havilland Venom was
tougher but was loaded with heavy kit which
effe<:tcd a high wing loading and so cut
The night fighter Mks.l1, 12 and 14 made
quite a contrast to the day fighter as they
were built for an entirely different job.
Compared to the Mk.&, the NF.Mk. ll had
less responsive controls b<xause the power
to weight ratio had detcriowtcd by the need
to eany plenty of heavy equipment (rador
and accessories), extra structure and a sec-
ond crew member: this situation improved a
little on the Mks. l 2 and 14. A change in
centre of gravity also effected the night
fighter's fl yingeharaetcristics, the F.Mk.8's
e.g. was in just the right place for a manoeu-
vrable fighter but the Mk. ll needed more
stability for night and all-weather opera-
tions. Out this helped the NF to do its job
well - a role that did not require theairernfi
to be 'thrown around the sky'. The night
fighter was not a case of sticking a large
nose on the front, there was a great deal of
additional equipment on board. On the
level, the Mk.8 was slightly the faster and
was in essence one man and a gun button'
Contemporary to the F.Mk.8 was the
Canberra and a big weakness of the fighter
was how it lost out to this bomber M
a Canberra could perform in comfort up to
40,000fi ( 12.192m) and get away from a
Mk.8 with case at the higher level. The
problem was a single seat Meteor with ven
tral tank, despite reachi ng 30,000fi (9,144m)
in eight minutes, took another eight to get to
40,000fi. There it became incapable of
exceeding 230mph (370km/h) and its tum
rate deteriorated considerably. As a result,
in exercises between the types, the Canberm
was oficn height limited. High level was not
the F.Mk.8's best environment but attempts
to sec how far it could go saw examples get
above 46,000fi (14,02lm) while the unprcs-
surist.-d T.Mk. 7 was taken as far as 48,000fi
Norrie Grove's career covered the war
years and on to the 1950s whereas the
Meteor was one of Brian Carroll's first acro-
planes- helatcrflcwthc GlostcrJavclinand
then the supersonic English Electric
Lightning but was more than happy with the
Meteor. Initial training was on the piston
Harvard. 'an excellent trainer', but Harvard
Egyptian Air Force Meteor F.Mk.4 serial 1407,
seen at Malta on its delivery flight in 1949 or
to Meteor was a quantum leap. From flight
at around 100 to 140mph (16lto 225kmlh).
usually in visual contact with the ground and
with the knowledge that should engine fail-
ure occur one could always land in a field,
the Meteor introduced flight in the 400 to
500mph (644 to 805krn/h) band, above
cloud with limited fuel and endurance, no
navigation aids and the most basic of radios.
It was quite a change (to most pilot"s minds
the lack of an airborne navigation aid in the
Mks.4 and 8 was an important deficiency).
Asymmetric flying had a very high priori-
ty in the early 1950s with virtually every
training recovery and landing done with one
engine flamed out. The foot loads with one
engine out and the other at or ncar full power
were unbelievable and very tiring. It was
possible, though not advised, to apply a
small amount of aileron to assist the asym-
metric loads, but if this was overdone just a
little, the adverse drag generated by the
down aileron could produce catastrophic
results. The practice of stop-cocking one
engine right after take-ofT was forbidden in
later years but not before several pi lots had
been killed.
The first Meteor to get an ejector scat was
the Mk.S and Brian recalls the degree of
trepidation when sitting for the first time on
an explosive' seat having flown F.Mk.4s
without them. Most pi lots wondered if they
would go off when least expected, but very
quickly flying without one was unthinkable.
The Mks.4, 7 and 8 were all considered
splendid to fl y with tactical flying 11nd air
gunnery at the Operational Conversion Unit
(OCU) great fun. This was helped by lmv-
ing the best flying environment ever experi-
enced in the UK: in those days there was
Two Swedish civil fe11lstered Meteor T.Mk.7s
with SECAS io t he foreground. These aircraft
were u1ed for target towing duties. (MAP)
very little by way of restrictions, low flying
really was low, combat WiiS down to ground
level and anything went; so different from
As a gun platform the Meteor was fine 11nd
achieved quite good scores and it was a
tough aircraft, often being recovered despite
damage to the airframe. The day fighter
Meteors did suffer from snaking', that is
oscillation from side-to-side about the fore
and aft axis, which could give problems as a
gun platform; the first marks were particu-
larly effected at high speed and the phcnom
cnon was never fully cured, even by the
Mk.8. Bricfc:<pcrience with the NF.Mk.J I
suggested it was quite sluggish in response
compared to a Mk.8, and the extended nose
made everything seem different.
Mark Lambert has stated that for its day
the Meteor 'delivered brutish power with
silky smoothness' and, in particular the
F.Mk.8 was tremendous fun to fl y with basic
formation fl ying easy. The pilots of his time
knew perfectly well that the Meteor, for the
last seven years of its career, was 'pretty
well a dud' since it was incapable of catch
ing B-45 or B-47 bombers. or Comet airlin-
ers, and Canberras ' made quarter attacks on
us at 40,000ft'. The Meteor could get
nowhere ncar a Sabre but any Hunter that
stuck around at 30,000ft (9,144m) and Mach
0.75 could be held by the older machine.
But the Meteor's primary purpose was the
destruction of enemy bombers at medium
altitudes which, when the type was
designed, were all still piston powered and,
To the modem enthusiast the Meteor may
seem an antique and somewhat inferior
fighter, indeed to a degree this was the
author's impression. One reason might be
that early Meteors had such poor perfor-
mance compart..-d to contl."mpornry piston
fighters like the de Havilland Hornet and
Hawker Sea Fury, but those aircraft repre-
sented the peak of development for their
breed. Late marks, despite world wide pro-
curement, were swiftly made obsolete by
second generation jets like the Hunter and
Sabre and by the constantly improving per-
formance of the bombers they were sup-
posed to catch. But opinions expressed by
ex-pilots show the fully developed Meteor
ing machine which held its own for a short
time while the night fighter did a fine job in
filling the gap prior io arrival of the Javelin.
When one adds the immense value of over-
seas sales, it is clear the Meteor can truly be
described as a great aircraft.
~ ~ ~ ~ ; ; ~ ~ r
apnl view of Meteor T.Mk.7 WF274 Illustrates that the cock-
:.tilinged on the port aide. The enclosed rear cockpit con-
....,.entatlonforexperlmental purposes and was notttan-
l*verslonoftheMeteorT.7.2.The atarboardenglnelntake.
II In line with the leading edge of the wing. 3. The
I I lnall respectttothatonthef.Mk.4.
,.. , ... : "''""''''rear of the fuselagals a prominent
,.. '""""''""'"Is the familiar acorn shape used In front
4. The T.7's port sldelllustrat .. the many stencil markings used on the aircraft which were n ~ main
concentrat&d on this part of the fusela!JO. Black lines Indicate the poeltlon of foot and hand OOide for
crew entrance. Both footsteps on the underside of the fuselage retracted when not In ute. 5. The
underside of the starboard wlng showing the navigation light and position of fixing points for either
rocket ralls or a long range tank. Two small outlets on the underside of the nacelle are items often
left off by kit manufacturers. 6. The Meteor T.7's nose whHI. This was standard on most marka of
Meteor and has the familiar mudguard over the wheel. 7. The Meteor T.7's cockpit panel is rather clut-
ter&d and typical of jet aircraft of the period. {via Derek James)
SealeType Manufaelur-.r
1:72 MeteorF.J Alrb
1:72 MeleorT.7 Aeroctub
1:72 MeleorF.B Aeroclub
1:72 MeleorF.IIIFR.9 CzechMasler
1:72 MeleorF.4 PJProduetloos
1:72 MeteorF.4 PJProductions
1:72 MeteorF.B PJProduetions
1:72 MeteorF.B PJProduetionl
1:72 MeteorT.7 PJProduetloos
1:72 MeteorT.7 PJProduetions
1:72 MeteorNF.11 PJProduetlons
1:72 Meteor NF.11 PJProduetions
1:72 MeteorNF.11 PJProductions
1:72 MeteorF.6 Rareplanes
1:72 Meteor NF11112/14 Matchbo)(
1:72 MeteorNF.14 Rareplanes
1:72 MeteorNF.14 Airwaves
1:72 MeteorF.4 Rafdec
1:72 MeteorF.4 Rafdee
1:72 Meteor Aeroelub

1:46 MeteorF.4 Aeroclub
1:46 MeteorT.7 Aeroelub
1:46 MeteorF.6 Aeroclub
1:46 MeteorNF.11 Aeroclub
1:46 MeteorNF.12 Aeroclub
1:46 MeteorNF.14 Aeroelub
1:48 MeteorF.1 Eduard
1:46 MeteorF.1 HighTechModels
1:46 MeteorF.1 TrueDetaits
Number Remarks
A6K039 In &etlon moulded kit
A6040 In ection moulded kit
CMR1110 Resin
PJ721003 Resin
PJ721004 Rnln.Belgiandecals
PJ721005 Resin
PJ721006 Resin. Belgian decals
PJ721009 Resin
PJ721010 Resin. Belgiandeeals
PJ721013 FrenchAirForcemarltings
RP03001 Vacuform
PK124 lnjection.moulded
RP03009 ConversKXlparts
AEC72097 Detailparts
RAF7201 DecalsPart1
RAF7202 Decals Part 2
ABV037 White metal undercarraige
ABK431 Vaeuform
ABK429 Vacuform
A9K429 Vaeuform
ABK448 Vaeuform and resin
ABK449 Vaeuformandresln
ABK440 Vaeuformandresln
ED48211 parts_
HIT46045 Reslndetailparts
TD41045 5elfaclhflsiveeanopydeeals
1:72nd SCAL
r-- -=-
En1rge by150'1io for1:4.8 se.1e
Front view
Meteor U.Mk.16
--- =::: ...


Bfiow: NF.Mk14 WS810:B of No 264 Squadron. (M. J. Hooka).
Above: G111tldfettlef end g111ndeon. Taken In
1Me Ughtnln; F.Mk.6 XR760 ol No.5 Squadron
fonnatH on F.Mk.l WH364 o1 tbe ... Itt
Communlcatlone end Terget Towing Squadron.
Thleehowt ttte dlffe,.nc:.. first end
third of fighter lll:nlft In RAF MN
lea. (MoO) Left: One of the
flying w this one In M rvlca with No. 1 Tactical
Wnpone Unit, RAF Brawdy In July 1971 (MoD)
Bristol Beaulighter 6.95
Hawke<"Siddetey Buo::aooor 7.50
JunkersJu87Stuka 7.50
L.ockheedf104Starfighter 7.50
HawkfH"Typhoon 7.50
AvroShackleton 7.50
JunkersJu88 7.50
Hawker Hunter 11.50
GrvrrwnanF4FMattletiWiklcat 7.50
deHavillandSeaVIXIIfl 7.50
FalreyS"NOmfi$h 8.50
FockeWutfFw200Condor 7.50
SACLightning 11.50
ShortStir1iog 7.50
Hawke<" Sell Fury 7.50
GlosterJavelin 9.50
Douglas Skyraide<" 8.50
deHavillandHomet 9.50
SupermarineSeafire(Griffon) 9.50
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley 8.50
A numb&rofthase titles might b&outol
print at anyone time.lllsadvlsed thet e
pl!tc/ng an