The Internet Museum of World War II Aviation | home
Great Britain | Blackburn Roc | Firebrand | Defiant | Beaufighter | Mosquito | Fairey Firefly | Fairey Fulmar | Gladiator | Gloster Meteor | Hawker Hurricane | Hawker Tempest | Hawker Typhoon | Spitfire
The lone jet fighter for the Allies to fly in action against Germany in WW2 was the Gloster Meteor and for its time it was a very advanced fighter. It is only a pity that no Meteor ever met a Me 262 in battle, for that would have been quite the dogfight for 1944! Instead, sparse German aerial activity forced the meteor to take on ground targets instead of German jets.
When the Meteor was first ordered, there were no turbojets to power it at that time and development continued all the while hoping that some company would build a jet engine to make the work meaningful. By 1943 however, engines were available and very low powered ones were used for ground testing in early to middle 1943. These engines were switched out of the Meteor prototype and new ones installed, these capable of giving the meteor powered flight. The Gloster jet flew for the first time on July 24th, 1943. Development continued slowly as verious engines were tried, most of them offering less than 1800lbs/thrust. Also, the name of Thunderbolt was adpoted for the jet, but the British officlans were 'shocked' to find that the pesky Americans had beat then to the draw with the P-47! After careful observation to make sure the same mistake was not repeated, the jet was named the Meteor.
Finally, after settling with two Rolls Royce 1800lbs/thrust engines, the Meteor was put into production and the first operational jets began their service in July of 1944, a little less than a year sicne the first flight. But two days after reaching a squadron, a Meteor attacked a German V-1 flying "Buzz" bomb and opened fire with cannon on the pilotless missile. After just a few shots, all four of the 20-mm cannon aboard the Meteor jammed, and not to be outdone, the pilot gently tipped the missile over with the jets wingtip, causing the sputtering 'doodlebug' to lose control and spin down to Earth.
Type: Single Seat Jet Fighter
PowerPlants: Two 1,700lbs/thrust Rolls Royce Welland turbojets
Armament: Four 20-mm cannon in nose
Performance: Maximum Speed 458mph
Weights: Empty 8,140lbs
Notes on the E.28/39, the predeccessor to the Meteor
On February 3, 1940 Specification E.28/39 was issued. The specification seemed to call for a jet interecptor aicraft with four Browning O.303-in. machine guns, tryicylce type landing gear, and a steerable nosewheel. The interceptor idea was never stressed and the main concern was to test the new features of the turbojet engine. On April 7, 1941 the first prototype made its first taxying tests and the first flight took place on May 15, 1941. The flight lasted for seventeen minutes and was a complete success. After another ten hours of flying over the next ten days the prototype was returned to the factory to be fitted with a more powerful engine. The tests with the new engines began on February 4, 1942 but the aircraft was slightly damaged due to engine problems. On July 30, 1942 the prototype with another engine crashed after the ailerons jammed at 37,000ft. The second prototype continued test flights until the aircraft was placed in the Science Museum, South Kensington, for permanent exhibition. Armament was never installed in either aircraft and the E.28/39 programme resulted in the developement of the Meteor fighter.