De Havilland Vampire T11 XH313 is the latest aircraft to join the Tangmere collection and was delivered to the Museum towards the end of October.
Vampire design origins date back to 1941, and the maiden flight of the first prototype was flown by Geoffrey de Havilland on September 20th 1943 – only six months after the maiden flight of the first Meteor. Small and light – it had to be due to the low power of early jet engines, the Vampire’s Goblin engine giving just 2100 lbs of thrust – the Vampire was the first single jet engine fighter produced in the UK and though the first production Mk 1 Vampire first flew in April 1945 its on-going development process meant it did not see active service in WW2.
As the early centrifugal flow jet engines gave way to the more compact axial flow engines the pace of development was rapid and higher power was soon available leading to new more capable aircraft such as the Hunter, so by the mid 50s RAF front line service of the Vampire was over and the type was relegated to training and liason roles. The T11, a two seat side by side trainer version, was the final version produced, deliveries commencing not long after the first T11 flight in 1950, and this version remained in RAF service until 1966.
In total over 15 Marks of Vampire were made and the overall production volume amounted to more than 3200 aircraft. The Vampire served in 31 Air Forces.
XH313 was first delivered to the RAF in February 1956 and moved to 111 Squadron at North Weald in August of that year. It remained with them until October 1964 when it was moved to the Central Air Traffic Control School, its final home with the RAF until it passed into civilian hands in 1970.
Though substantially complete there is some repair and restoration work to be done and a number of cockpit instruments need to be located. Anyone able to help with this is invited to contact the Museum We look forward to having it on display for the start of our 2009 season.