22 SEPTEMBER 2014

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Article from BTNews 22 SEPTEMBER 2014

Old birds fly

Only readers of a certain vintage would have seen the Gloster Meteor and de Havilland Vampire in all their glory in the immediate post Second World War years.  Just under 4,000 Meteors were built, and 3,200 of the twin boom Vampire.

Down in Cornwall, at what was once RAF St Mawgan, but is now Newquay (NQY), Classic Air Force owns and operates the world’s oldest twin engined jet aircraft, a 1949 built two-seat Meteor T7 (trainer) once WM167 and currently G-LOSM.  The collection also has a Vampire trainer, new with Swiss Air Force in 1959 and now back in the UK as G-HELV.

On Saturday 4 October both aircraft will be in the air for a special display.  Classic’s Chief Pilot Jon Corley will lead. “People are usually surprised to see the speed and agility of these aircraft,” he commented.  “The Vampire was the first RAF aircraft to exceed 500mph, making it an absolute rocket ship back in its day, and the Meteor was fast enough to catch the German V1 flying bombs.”

There will be pleasure flying with Classic’s de Havilland Rapide and Chipmunk.  Kids can strap on firemen’s helmets and take a ride in the 525hp fire engine – complete with a demonstration of a water cannon powerful enough to blow the hangar doors off. www.classicairforce.com

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