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deHavilland Vampire T11 WZ549 in the Ulster Aviation Society hangars. Image: Mark J. Cairns


History of the de Havilland Vampire T.11

The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet-engine fighter at the very end of the Second World War, the second jet-powered aircraft commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the War (the first being the Gloster Meteor), although it was not used in combat. It was delivered to the RAF in April 1953.


deHavilland Vampire T.11 at Chivenor

The Vampire served with front line RAF squadrons until 1955 and continued in use as a trainer until 1966. It also served with many air forces worldwide, and set several aviation firsts and records.


Almost 3,300 Vampires were built, a quarter of them under licence in other countries.

The Vampire design was also developed into the de Havilland Venom fighter-bomber as well as naval Sea Vampire variants.

Eric "Winkle" Brown takes the first ever Jet aircraft in the deHavilland Vampire off an aircraft carrier, the HMS Ocean in December 1945

It was the airplane responsible for the first carrier landing and take-off of a jet fighter aircraft in December 1945 by Eric "Winkle" Brown, from HMS Ocean aircraft carrier.

An experimental version with an extended wingspan and a Ghost engine set a  World Altitude Record of 59,446ft in March 1948.

Late 1948 6 x de Havilland Vampire F3’s became the first jet fighters to fly across the Atlantic for an “RAF Goodwill Tour of Canada”. Though the Vampire didn't fly operationally during the Second World War it was given the honour to lead the VE day flypast over London.

Production of all variants reached an impressive 3268 planes (includes 732 Mk T.11) built in UK a further 1067 licence built worldwide, with its Operational life 1945-1966 RAF, Rhodesian Air Force ended 1979 and Swiss Air Force 1990.


It was the first RAF aircraft able to exceed 500mph.

Though the Vampire did not fly operationally in the Second World War it was given the honour to lead the VE day flypast over London.

History of our de Havilland Vampire T.11 WZ549

deHavilland Vampire T11 WZ549 in the Ulster Aviation Society hangars. Image: Mark J. Cairns

Vampire WZ549 was one of a batch of 143 aircraft delivered to the RAF during April 1953. It first entered service with Marshalls of Cambridge and was later operated by the Ferry Training Unit, No.8 FTS and No.1 FTS.


On 4 November 1964 it joined the Central Navigation & Control School at Shawbury remaining in service there until 1970.


It then moved to RAF Coningsby becoming a Maintenance Airframe, and subsequently spent a period of time in the care of the Lincolnshire Aviation Preservation Society before returning again to Coningsby.


In 1988 under the initiative of the Wing Commander Operations, an Ulsterman called Ron Shimmons, it was decided to donate this Vampire to the Society.  

Thanks to the efforts of our volunteers this aircraft has now been re-painted in RAF light aircraft grey to match the fuselage.


Following the repainting project it has now also been fully re-assembled and can been seen on display in UAS hangar 1.

Manufacturer: de Havilland
Model: Vampire T.11 / DH.115
Registration: WZ549
UAS Location: Hangar 1
Served with: No.8 FTS, No.1 FTS, CN&C School
Maximum Speed:  583mph
Cruise Speed:  350mph
Engine: de Havilland Goblin 35 centrifugal-flow turbojet engine, 3,500 lbf (14.9 kN) of thrust
Service Ceiling: 40,000ft
Rate of Climb: 24m/s
Range: 853 miles
Length & Height10.51m x 1.59m
Wing Span: 11.58m
In Service: 1953-1970
Ordnance:  4 x 20mm Hispano Cannon, 8 x 60lb Rockets, 2 x 500lb Bombs
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