The De Havilland DH-100 Vampire was the RCAF’s first operational jet fighter.
Developed in 1943, it went into production shortly after WW II. Canada purchased 86 of these odd looking “beasties”, only after an F MK 1 Vampire was rigorously tested at the Winter Experimental Establishment in Edmonton in 1946.
The Vampire was taken on strength by the RCAF, on January 17, 1948 at the Central Flying School in Trenton.
“Although this Vampire is a MVI, it is restored in the colours of the RCAF and markings of an F-3 (fighter, Mk, III) flown by 400 (City of Toronto) Squadron, based at Downsview (North York), Ontario.”
Vampires saw action against Communist belligerents in Malaysia (Malayan Communist Party, Malayan Races Liberation Army) beginning in 1948.
“3,268 Vampires were built. 15 versions.
Even a twin-seat night fighter, trainer was crafted. Carrier-based Vampires became known as “Sea Vampires”.
Because the engine on Vampires was so close to the ground, Vampires could not stay stationary for too long, as they would very quickly begin to melt the tarmac!
The Vampire became:
• The first RAF fighter with a top speed exceeding 500 mph
• The first jet to take off from and land on an aircraft carrier
• The first jet to set a new world altitude record of 59,446 feet in 1948
• The first jet aircraft to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. (From Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, to Keflavik in Iceland, and then to Goose Bay at Labrador, before going on to Montreal to start the RAF’s annual goodwill tour of Canada and the U.S.)
Friday, June 20, 2008