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Classic British Jets Return to UK Skies


Two of the earliest British-designed jet fighters have been confirmed for the flying display at Scampton Airshow thanks to the Norwegian Historic Squadron’s two de Havilland Vampire jets. The beautifully restored Cold War Vampire will amaze crowds at Scampton Airshow, adding ‘bite’ to the line-up with close formation flying.

Visitors to the inaugural Scampton Airshow, which aims to host more than 100 aircraft over the show weekend, will be treated to a display by the two aircraft which represent British aerospace engineering from the early days of the jet era. Both aircraft are now in the Royal Norwegian Air Force markings to represent Vampires that served with 336 Squadron RNoAF in the early 1950s, Norway’s first pure jet fighter squadron.

First introduced in 1946, the RAF operated a large number of Vampires, which were a regular sight in Lincolnshire’s skies during the 1940s and 1950s, with aircraft being based at RAF Swinderby and RAF Manby near Louth. In all, nearly 3,300 were built serving mainly as a fighter-interceptor, and later as a fighter-bomber, in frontline squadrons until 1953, and then performing secondary and training duties until 1966.

RAF Vampire jets with an array of other types, including an Avro Anson and Griffon-engined Spitfires. [Britain at War Archive]

However, the type also served  in the air forces of other nations such as Australia, Canada, France, Finland, India, and Rhodesia. The Swiss kept the aircraft in service until the mid-1970s, retaining the type in storage until 1988, while the Rhodesians were still using the Vampire on operations until 1979. A quarter of all Vampires built were constructed under licence.

The two jets flying with the Norwegian Historic Squadron at the Scampton Airshow are an FB.52, a dedicated export variant based on the FB.6 single seat fighter-bomber, and an T.55, an export trainer based on the two seat Mk.11/DH.115 trainer prototype.

 To have the Norwegian Historical Squadron’s two Vampire jets performing together is just fantastic.

Paul Sall, Scampton’s Airshow Director is looking forward to seeing this spectacular pair perform ‘keeping the history and heritage of aviation alive is an integral part of Scampton Airshow, to have the Norwegian Historical Squadron’s two Vampire jets performing together is just fantastic.’ The Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron is a non-profit organisation, dedicated to keeping unique aircraft where they belong – in the air.

The first Scampton Airshow will take place on the 9-10 September 2017 at the historic RAF Station most famously known as the home of 617 Sqn RAF, the Dambusters. The base has housed 100 years of British aviation history, including, at the height of the Cold War, the mighty Vulcan.

With organisers working hard to secure even more international participants, the UK’s New International Aviation Spectacular is going to be unmissable. From aviation enthusiasts to families, there is something for everyone this September at Scampton.

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