Gloster Meteor, RIAT 2013 ©Nigel Key
5 March 1943.
The Gloster Meteor is an all-metal straight wing aircraft with tricycle undercarriage powered by two turbojets mounted within the wings.
The tail plane is mounted high on the fin to keep it clear of the jet exhaust. The Meteor F.1 had stability problems at high speeds due to typical aerodynamic issues with early jets resulting in yaw instability and high stick forces which was caused by 'thick' tail surfaces.
The Meteor was similar in design to the Messerschmitt Me 262 and there were reported incidents of both British and German pilots mistaking the two aircraft for one another.
The Meteor F.1 was powered by two Whittle W.2 turbojet engines producing 1,700 lbf thrust each, resulting in a maximum speed of 417 mph.
The F.1 Meteor was difficult to handle and due to high fuel consumption had a limited endurance of less than 1 hour which resulted in a total of 890 Meteors being lost with the deaths of 450 pilots.
In 1946 the Meteor F.4 went into production and was powered by two Rolls Royce Derwent 5 engines, a stronger frame, and blunter wing tips with a pressurised cockpit. Also there were Lighter ailerons and rudder trim adjustments to improve stability and reduce 'snaking'.
The Meteor F.4 was 170 mph faster that the F.1 at sea level although its rate of climb was reduced due to the smaller wings.
Gloster redesigned the Meteor to keep it up-to-date with the improving jets of the time, designating it F.8 which turned out to be the definitive production model.
The Gloster Meteor was produced from 1943 to 1955, with 3,947 built.
2 x Rolls Royce Derwent 8ís, producing 7,200 lb st.
4 x Hispano 20mm cannon
2,000 lb (907 kg) Bomb/Rocket load
The Meteor saw service with No. 616 Squadron RAF during WW2 and was initially used to counter the V-1 flying bomb, seeing action for the first time on the 27th July 1944.
The Meteor was the RAF's first operational jet aircraft and after teething problems with jamming guns the first V1 kills were made on the 4th of August 1944.
When the Germans changed the V1 flying bomb for the ballistic V-2 rocket, the RAF were forbidden to fly the Meteor over enemy occupied territory for fear of a shot down aircraft being examined or salvaged by the Germans to aid their war effort.
The Meteor F.8 served as a major RAF single set fighter until the introduction of the Hawker Hunter and the Supermarine Swift.
|Crew - 1 or 2
|Length - 44ft 7in (13.59m)
|Wingspan - 37ft 2in (11.30m)
|Height - 13ft 10in (4.22m)
|Empty Weight - 10,626lb (4,820kg)
|Max. Weight - 19,100lb (8,664kg)
|Max. Speed - 595 mph (958 km/h)
|Range - 1,000 miles (1,610 km)