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Gloster Meteor T.7
|Purpose:||Two Seat Advanced Fighter Trainer|
|Crew||1 Pilot, 1 Student|
|Max Speed (sea level):||508 knots (941 Km/h)|
|Cruising speed:||Approx 464 knots (860Km/h)|
|Service ceiling:||40,000ft (10,667 m)|
|All-up weight:||14,000 lb (6,350 Kg)|
|Range:||820 Nautical miles (1520 Km)|
The prototype trainer made its first flight on the 19th of March 1948 and the Meteor T.7's maiden flight was on the 26th of October 1948. The type entered service with the RAF in December 1948. Meteors were the first jet trainers in service and marked the end of the conversion from piston powered aircraft to jets. Over 680 Meteor T.7 aircraft were built with orders coming from the Royal Navy and overseas. Production ceased in 1954, the last aircraft built was given the service serial number XF279. In its training variant the Meteor was lengthened by 30 inches to allow for the second cockpit, the armament was removed and full dual controls were fitted. To improve endurance provision was made for the fitting of three drop tanks. Performance of the T7 was so good that it out performed the fighter version in a number of ways.
By the middle of the 1950's Meteors were being replaced by a combination of Provost and Vampires, although they continued to serve alongside Vampire T.11's until the late 1950's. The Meteor was flown by the following Fleet Air Arm squadrons and units: 728 squadron (1955-67), 759 squadron (1962-64) and station flights LM (1956-65), FRU (1967-71). Meteor T.7's were finally phased out of F.A.A. service in 1972. It was unusual for an aircraft type designation to be related to the same aircraft serving with the RAF. This is one of the rare cases where the T.7 designation applied to both Fleet Air Arm and RAF aircraft.
RoleIn RAF service the Meteor was employed at a number of Advanced Flying Training Schools and provided conversion to jets for pilots coming from piston engined trainers such as Harvards. Conversion courses for the pilots lasted 14 or 18 weeks with the first course commencing in August 1949 at No. 203 AFS at Driffield. At its peak the Meteor served with approximately 10 Advanced Flying Schools and five Operational Conversion Units. Although the training role of the Meteor was replaced by the Vampire a number of operational stations continued to operate the Meteor for continuation and refresher training.
In Royal Naval service the Meteor T.7's were not embarked upon carriers. In the late 1940's and early 1950's the Fleet Air Arm was receiving an increasing number of jet aircraft. An aircraft was needed to provide conversion for the pilots of propeller driven aircraft to the new jets. The meteor T.7 fulfilled this and secondary roles until phased out of service in the early 1970's.
Gatwick Aviation Museum History
|VZ638 entered service with No. 500 "County of Kent" squadron, going on to serve with No.s 25,54 and 85 squadrons. It moved on to serve with No. 501 "County of Gloucester" squadron and finally with 237 O.C.U. at RAF College Cranwell and the college of air warfare.
On withdrawal from service it was stored at RAF Kemble. VZ638 was sold on the 12th of January 1972 and went to the British Historical Air Museum at Southend. On the demise of the museum it passed to Southampton and then to Hurn where it joined the "Hunter One" collection. On the death of Mike Carlton, VZ638 was purchased by "Aces High" at North Weald. Now registered G-JETM it was painted at North Weald as a Meteor T.7 serving at Hal Far (Malta). Peter Vallance purchased the aeroplane for the Gatwick Aviation Museum in July 1988.