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In 1941 the British Air Ministry issued specifications for a jet fighter built around the De Havilland Goblin turbojet engine. The first prototype of the DH 100 Spider Crab flew in September 1943. The unique twin boom design was virtually dictated by the relatively low thrust of the early engines, which required that the exhaust section be kept as short as possible. The all metal wings were mounted to the mid section of the fuselage, which placed the pilot far up front in a bubble canopy that offered excellent visibility. The prototype reportedly had excellent handling characteristics with speeds upwards of 500mph, a significant improvement over its piston-engine contemporaries. On December 3rd 1945, a Royal Navy "Sea Vampire" became the first, all-jet powered fighter to operate off the decks of a carrier.
By 1946 the renamed DH 100 Vampire had entered active service. Later improvements lead to the Mk III version with larger fuel tanks and an improved tail design. Large scale production, however, did not occur until 1949 when the Mk 5 version came into being with shorter wings, longer landing gear, and hard points for rockets and bombs. The final incarnation was the NF Mk 10 version, a two-seat, night fighter.
The Vampire was also shown to be an excellent trainer due its docile handling characteristics and thus saw service in over 25 countries. This classic early jet saw service with the Swiss Air Force as late as 1991.
|Status: Flyable||Length: 30 ft. 9 in.|
|Manufacturer: De Havilland||Height: 8 ft. 10 in.|
|Year: 1943||Maximum Speed: 636 mph|
|Model: DH 100 Vampire Mk. VI||Cruise Speed: N/A|
|Serial Number:||Power Plant: 1-de Havilland Goblin turbojet with
3,350 lbs. of thrust
|Crew: 1||Range: 1,140 miles|
|Max T/O Weight: 12,385 lb.||Service Ceiling: 40,000 ft.|
|Span: 38 ft. 0 in.||Armament: Four 20mm cannon & provisions for up
to 2,000 lbs. of bombs