Gloster Meteor

The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. Designed by George Carter, it first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Gloster Meteor was not an aerodynamically advanced aircraft but the Gloster design team succeeded in producing an effective jet fighter that served the RAF and other air forces for decades.

The first British jet-powered aircraft, the single-engined Gloster E28/39 prototype, had its maiden flight on 15 May 1941. After several improvement on prototypes ,the first 20 aircraft were delivered to the Royal Air Force on 1 June 1944, one was also sent to the U.S. in exchange for a Bell YP-59A Airacomet for comparative evaluation. No. 616 Squadron RAF was the first to receive operational Meteors.

The Meteor was initially used to counter the V-1 flying bomb threat. 616 Squadron Meteors saw action for the first time on 27 July 1944, when three aircraft were active over Kent. These were the Meteor's (and the Royal Air Force's) first operational jet combat missions. After some problems, especially with jamming guns, the first two V1 "kills" were made on 4 August. By war's end, Meteors accounted for 14 flying bombs.

Production of the Meteor continued until 1954 with almost 3,900 made, mainly the F.8 variant. As the Meteor was progressively relegated to secondary duties in later years, target tug, drone and specialized test vehicles were added to the diverse roles that this first-generation jet fighter took on.

General characteristics
  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 44 ft 7 in (13.59 m)
  • Wingspan: 37 ft 2 in (11.32 m)
  • Height: 13 ft 0 in (3.96 m)
  • Wing area: 350 ft² (32.52 m²)
  • Empty weight: 10,684 lb (4,846 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 15,700 lb (7,121 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Derwent 8 turbojets, 3,500 lbf (15.6 kN) each

  • Maximum speed: 600 mph (522 knots, 965 km/h, Mach 0.82) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
  • Range: 600 mi (522 nmi, 965 km)
  • Service ceiling: 43,000 ft (13,100 m)
  • Rate of climb: 7,000 ft/min (35.6 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 44.9 lb/ft² (149 kg/m²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.45
  • Time to altitude: 5.0 min to 30,000 ft (9,145 m)

  • 4 × 20 mm British Hispano cannons
  • Provision for up to sixteen "60lb" 3 in rockets under outer wings

** Gloster Meteor - Warbird Fare

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