Oldest Flying Jet Heads off to Detroit

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Flying at Southport Air Show in Lancashire in 2012

 

The former gate guardian which faced on to the main Liverpool to Southport road between 1966 and 1995 at RAF Woodvale is set to move to United States.

The last airworthy Gloster Meteor T Mk 7 WA591/G-BWMF, and the worlds oldest flying jet aircraft has now been sold to US Warbird operator Marty Tibbits, along with a Meteor NF 11 WM167/G-LOSM and two ex-Swiss Air Force Venom jet fighters and is set to be moved to the United States.

The Meteor T mk 7 was built at Hucklecote in Glousctershire and was delivered to the RAF in 1949. During her service she was operated by the RAF through to 1963 with the Central Fighter Establishment, 226 OCU, 203, 208 & 215 Advanced Flying Schools, the RAF College of Air Warfare, and 5, 7, & 8 Flying Training Schools. She became and instructional airframe before becoming the Gate Guardian at RAF Woodvale in 1996 . During her time with the RAF she survived two Cat 4R and one Cat 3R accidents. In 1995 she was acquired by the Meteor Flight for restoration and became part of Aviation Heritage Ltds, Classic Flight making her post restoration flight in 2011, after which she becoming a popular attraction at Air Shows in the United Kingdom.

Powered by two Rolls Royce Derwent turbojets, the Meteor was capable of 600 mph and had a range of 600 miles. The Meteor also saw service with the Royal Australian Air Force during the Korean War, and with Argentina, Belgium, Biafara, Brazil, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, West Germany, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and Syria.

G-BWMF is now heading for Detroit’s World Heritage Air Museum at Oakland County International Airport 38 miles north of Detroit.  Plans for taking that aircraft have yet to be finalised, the options include flying the aircraft over the Atlantic but it is riskier and more expensive then perhaps transporting the aircraft by ship, which in itself has it’s own unique set of problems as the aircraft centre section is 20 feet wide, wider than your average container. The sea movement option would involve flying the aircraft to Southampton taking the outboard wing sections off her and shipping her to Galveston or Baltimore, then re assemble the aircraft and fly her to Detroit.

In the UK, Martin Baker operate the two remaining airworthy hybrid Meteor T Mk 7/F.8 hybrids as ejector seat test aircraft, and the Temora Aviation Museum in Australia operate a former RAF Meteor F.8

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On the three concrete blocks outside the Guard Room at RAF Woodvale in 1995, shortly before she was replaced by the 56 Squadron Phantom

 

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