The Gloster Meteor is an all-metal straight wing aircraft with tricycle undercarriage powered by two turbojets mounted within the wings.
The tailplane 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 casued 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 consuption 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.
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.3 was issued to replace the F.1's of No. 616 Squadron on the 18th of December 1944 and were a substantial improvement. New longer nacelles helped to stabilise the aircraft and also contributed to an increase in speed of an extra 75 mph at altitude.
On the 20th of January 1945, four Meteor F.3's were deployed to Melsbroek in Belgium to act as air defence over the airfield but were still forbidden to stray over enemy territory.
The entire Squadron was moved over to Nijmegen in April 1945 and flew armend reconnaissance and ground attack missions but did not encounter any German jet fighters.
In an attempt to aid identification of the Meteor from the Me 262 it was painted with an all White finish but the Meteor suffered more from problems with being misidentified by allied pilots and flak artillery units than the fighters of the Luftwaffe.
In 1946 the Meteor F.4 went into production and was powered by two Rolls Royce Derwent 5 engines, a stronger frame, blunter wing tips and pressurised cockpit. Also there was 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 br the definitive production model.
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 (side-by-side)|
|Length:||44ft 7in (13.59m)|
|Wingspan:||37ft 2in (11.30m)|
|Height:||13ft 10in (4.22m)|
|Empty Weight:||10,626lb (4820kg)|
|Max. Weight:||19,100lb (8664kg)|
|Engines (x2):||RR Derwent 8|
producing 7,200 lb st.
|Max. Speed:||595 mph (958 km/h)|
|Range:||1000 miles (1610 km)|
|Armament: - (Refer to Variants for fitment)|
|Cannon:||4 x 20mm Hispano|
|Rockets:||16 x 60lb 3" or|
8 x 5" HVAR
|Bombs:||2 x 1,000 lb|
First production aircraft, 20 built.
Alternative de Havilland engines, 1 built.
Derwent I powered and sliding canopy, 210 built.
Derwent 5 powered with strengthened fuselague, 535 built.
Fighter-Reconnaissance version of the F.4, 1 built.
2-seat trainer version of F.4, 640 built.
Improved version of F.4 including ejector seat.
Fighter-Reconnaissance version of the F.8, 126 built.
Photo-Reconnaissance version of the F.8, 59 built.
Night Fighter version, 311 built.
Modified verion of NF.12, 100 built.
Tropicalised version of NF.11, 40 built.
Modified NF.11 with 2-piece blown canopy, 100 built.
Target drone version of F.4, 92 modified.
Target drone version of F.8, 108 modified.
Target towing version of NF.11, 20 modified.
Target drone version of F.8 for Royal Navy.
Ground Attack Fighter
Modified F.8 known as the 'Reaper', 1 built.
The Gloster Meteor was the Allies first operational jet fighter after the Germans Messerschiitt Me 262 which was the Worlds first operational jet fighter.
The Meteor was designed around Sir Frank Whittles turbojet engine with the Meteor first flying on the 5th of March 1943.
Gloster Meteor NF.11 photographed above at the Cotswold Airshow, Kemble in 2009.