Gloster Meteor F Mk.8

Gloster Meteor F Mk.8

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Gloster Meteor F Mk.8

The Gloster Meteor F Mk.8 was the last and best day fighter version of the Meteor, and equipped the majority of home based RAF fighter squadrons in the early 1950s. The Meteor T Mk.7 two seat trainer had featured a longer nose, added to carry the second crewman, which was found to improved the directional stability of the Meteor. This longer nose was installed on late production F Mk.4s, but produced new problems of its own, causing unacceptably large changes in the centre of gravity as fuel or ammunition supplies were used up.

Part of the problem was traced to the original curved tail assembly of the Meteor. Fortunately an alternative was already available. Since 1943 Gloster had been working on a single engined alternative to the Meteor, which eventually produced three prototypes of the Gloster E.1/44. The aircraft itself was not a success, but it did at least fly, making its maiden flight in March 1948. The tail of the E.1/44 featured straight leading and trailing edges on all surfaces, and the test flights of the E.1/44 revealed it to be better than the original Meteor tail.

After the test flight of the E.1/44 work began on fitting the new tail to a Meteor F Mk.4. This aircraft flew early in 1948, and confirmed that the new tail did indeed improve the stability of the Meteor. The first full prototype of the Mk.8, VT150, made its maiden flight on 12 October 1948 with the E.1/44 tail and the longer nose. The same aircraft was then given the original Meteor tail to compare the performance of the two designs. These tests confirmed that the E.1/44 tail was a clear improvement on the original design. It would be used on all later versions of the Meteor apart from the unarmed reconnaissance PR Mk.10.

Squadron deliveries began on 10 December 1949, to No.1 Squadron at Tangmere. The F Mk.8 was the RAF’s main single seat interceptor until replaced by the Hawker Hunter in 1955. The last front line squadron to operate the Meteor F Mk.8 was No.245 squadron, which gave up its last Meteors in April 1957. It also became the main fighter used by the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, equipping ten squadrons until 10 March 1957, when the RAuxAF was disbanded.

Of the 27 RAF squadrons that had operated the F Mk.4, all but four also used the F Mk.8. Of those four two were renumbered (No.91 becoming No.92 and No.266 becoming No.43) and operated the Meteor 8 under their new numbers, while the other two (Nos.29 and 85) converted to the Meteor night fighters. A total of 30 squadrons operated the Meteor F Mk.8 at some point between 1950 and 1957, with its high point coming in 1953-54 when it equipped 19 front line and 10 Royal Auxiliary Air Force squadrons.

The F Mk.8 was exported in larger numbers than any other version of the Meteor, with a total of 617 aircraft being ordered by eight countries (Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Australia, Syria, Egypt, Israel and Brazil), with a large number being produced under licence by Fokker in Holland.

Engine: Two Rolls-Royce Derwent 8 turbojets
Thrust: 3,500lb/15.6kN each
Span: 37.2ft
Length: 44.6ft
Gross Weight: 15,700lb
Maximum level speed at sea level: 592mph
Maximum level speed at 30,000ft: 550mph
Maximum level speed at 50,000ft: 530mph
Rate of climb at sea level: 7,000ft/min
Ceiling: 44,000ft
Cruise Range at normal load: 520 miles
Armament: Four 20mm cannon in nose and two 1,000lb bombs or sixteen 90lb rocket projectiles under the wing

Meteor Operations in Korea

At the end of July 1951, the Squadron returned to Korea and settled in at airfield K14 at Kimpo, near Seoul. The airfield was a sea of mud and living conditions were very uncomfortable. The Squadron had to maintain eighteen aircraft operational each morning and evening, and the ground crews worked long hours to keep the sixteen aircraft with two spares on line. 77 Squadron's first operational jet mission was flown on Sunday 30 July 1951 when six Meteors were tasked to fly a fighter sweep in the vicinity of the Yalu River.

The first casualties of the jet era were suffered on 22 August 1951 when two aircraft were involved in a mid-air collision. A section of twelve Meteors were returning from a fighter sweep and had just initiated a change from battle formation to line astern when Sergeant R. Lamb (A77-354), a RAF exchange pilot, collided with Sergeant R. Mitchell (A77-128). Both aircraft crashed eight miles north of Kimpo, killing both pilots.

The entry of China into the war resulted in a complete change in the status of the communist's air power, the Chinese had introduced the Mig-15 high performance jet fighter. The Mig-15 had a performance equal to, and in some cases , better than the Sabre at high altitude, but suffered from a tendency to spin if not manoeuvred carefully at medium altitudes. The Meteor, if caught at altitude, did not stand a chance against the Mig-15.

The first encounter with the communist's jets finally came on 25 August 1951 when eight aircraft providing cover for a USAF RF-80 reconnaissance jet, sighted four Migs on patrol. Flight Lieutenant Scannell fired at one of the enemy jets at extreme range but was unable to claim any hits. The Migs flew back across the Yalu River where it was forbidden for UN aircraft to fly.

Four days later the Squadron had their second chance to fight it out with Mig-15s, however, this time the odds were stacked heavily against the Australians. Eight Meteors, led by Squadron Leader Dick Wilson were carrying out a routine fighter sweep near Chongju when they were attacked by over 30 Migs. Squadron Leader Wilson put his aircraft into a dive and was able to position himself behind one of the enemy jets. He had just opened fire on the enemy aircraft, when his Meteor (A77-616) was hit by cannon fire from both above and below. Wilson broke off the engagement and nursed his damaged Meteor home, where it was found that his port aileron had been almost shot away and another round had entered the rear fuselage, ricocheted across the top of the radio compass and entered the rear main fuel tank approximately twenty inches from the top of the tank.

At the end of the battle it was also discovered that Warrant Officer Guthrie (A77-721) was missing. Although no one had sighted him going down, an American flying in a Sabre at low level reported seeing an aircraft spiralling down on fire and a parachute descending. Guthrie was captured and interned as a POW for the next two years.

Squadron Leader Wilson had another lucky escape on 9 September when his aircraft was hit by a 20 mm armour piercing round in the cockpit. Wilson had been attacking ground targets near Pyongyang, when his aircraft came under severe anti-aircraft fire and was hit. On return to Kimpo it was found that the round had entered the cockpit just below the windscreen before breaking up, injuring Wilson in the arm and shoulder.

The Squadron, now under the command of Wing Commander G. Steede, had another inconclusive battle with enemy Migs on 26 September 1951. A formation of twelve Meteors engaged a large number of Migs over Anju with the Migs diving through the Australian formation scoring hits on Meteor A77-949 before the pilot, Flight Sergeant E. Armitt, had a chance to break formation. The dog fight continued and the Migs once again dove through the Meteor formation, the Mig leader broke for the safety of the Yalu River but his wingman broke the opposite direction exposing himself to the RAAF fighters. Flight Lieutenant C. Thomas attempted to cut off the Mig as it tried to turn north forcing it away from the safety of the Yalu. The Mig pilot turned into the sun and was lost by the Australian pilots. He had made his escape but it was doubtful that he had sufficient fuel to make it back to his base. Meanwhile Flight Lieutenant Dawson had managed to fire two long bursts of cannon fire into another Mig's wings. Several pilots claimed that they saw wreckage and what was thought to be fuel streaming back from the enemy aircraft. Subsequently Dawson was credited with probably damaging the Mig, this being the Squadron's first successful jet combat claim.

During this period the airfield at Kimpo received a number of nuisance raids from enemy light aircraft. The raids were normally carried out by a lone single engined aircraft, such as a Polikarpov PO-2 biplane trainer, armed with a couple of small fragmentation bombs. This type of raid was most common at night during a full moon period thus the raiders were nick-named 'Bed Check Charlie'. During one such raid on 23 September 1951, Meteor A77-510, which was parked near some USAF Sabres, received minor shrapnel damage when a bomb exploded nearby. On the average, very little damage was caused by these raids.

On 1 November 1951 the Squadron was awarded the Korean Presidential Unit Citation for "Exceptionally meritorious service and heroism" on behalf of the Republic of Korea. Seven days later it was also announced that Squadron Leader Dick Wilson had been awarded the first British Distinguished Flying Cross of the Korean War.

Sergeant D. Robertson (A77-959) and Flying Officer K. Blight suffered a mid-air collision while returning from 'Mig Alley' on 11 November 1951. Sergeant Robertson was killed. Blight's Meteor was missing four feet of port wing and could only be controlled by applying full power on the port engine with the starboard engine at idle. However, below 180 knots the aircraft was uncontrollable and Blight was forced to eject.

77 Squadron finally achieved its first confirmed Mig-15 kill on 1 December 1951 when twelve Meteors were engaged by over fifty Migs in an epic dogfight over Pyongyang. In the opening attack, two Meteors were damaged with one, A77-559 flown by Flight Sergeant Bill Middlemiss, being forced to return to Kimpo. Flying Officer B. Gogerly (A77-17) latched onto the tail of one of the enemy jets, and watched as his cannon rounds sent pieces flying from the Mig's fuselage. The aircraft crashed in a ball of flames. Several other pilots had fired at Migs and a second aircraft was seen to hit the ground.

All pilots checked in at the end of the battle, however, ten minutes later when the order was given to head for home, three Meteors were found to be missing. It is assumed that they were taken by surprise as they turned for home. Two of the missing pilots Sergeant B. Thompson (A77-29) and Sergeant V. Drummond (A77-251) were captured after having ejected safely. The third pilot Flight Sergeant E. Armitt (A77-949) was killed when his aircraft was shot down. The Squadron had its first Mig kills, but had paid a high price.

All I want for Christmas is my Wings Swept Back

The arrival of a second USAF Sabre Wing in the area made it apparent that the role of the Meteor would soon be changed. The air battle of December 1, with the loss of three Meteors, showed the superiority of the Russian fighter and that it would be foolish to continue using the Meteor on the fighter sweeps into 'Mig Alley'. A song often sung in the Squadron at the time summed up the situation aptly, "all I want for Christmas is my wings swept back". Thus in January 1952, 77 Squadron was assigned the role of area and airfield defence for both Kimpo and Suwon, leaving the Sabres to patrol the skies over North Korea.

During January the Squadron also adopted the role of ground attack, and it was in this role that the Meteor was finally able to find its niche in the Korean conflict. The Squadron flew its first ground attack sortie on the 8 January 1952, when four Meteors rocketed a water tower near a communist held town. Ground attack missions demanded that the Meteors be flown low over hostile territory and the accuracy of the enemy anti-aircraft weapons was soon realised when two of the four aircraft on that first mission were hit by light flak.

Flight Lieutenant V. Turner had a lucky escape from serious injury on 24 January 1952 when his aircraft, A77-741, suffered an engine failure and crashed whilst turning to make its landing approach. Although the Meteor was totally written off, Turner managed to escape the wreckage with only minor injuries.

The 27 January 1952 was a sad day for the Squadron when two pilots were lost within an hour of each other. Two sections of six Meteors attacked enemy positions in the Haeju area in what must be described as atrocious weather, overcast cloud at 2500 feet and light snow falling. During a strafing pass Flight Lieutenant M. Browne-Gaylord (A77-559) was hit by light flak knocking out his air speed indicator and altimeter. His flight leader, Flight Lieutenant W. Bennet attempted to inform Browne-Gaylord of his correct height but received no reply. It is assumed that A77-559 crashed into rugged terrain inland from Haeju whilst being flown 'blind' in bad weather. Less than an hour later, Sergeant B. Gillan (A77-726) was hit by flak in the starboard wing while strafing an enemy water tower. Gillan probably ejected from his crippled jet, although no parachute was seen by his wing man, and it remains a mystery as to how he met his end.

Accurate enemy anti-aircraft fire was becoming a major problem for the Australian pilots, and on 6 February 1952, it claimed yet another Meteor A77-616 flown by Flight Lieutenant J. Hannan. A large search was launched for Hannan who had been seen to parachute safely, but on landing in white snow, became invisible to the pilots overhead. Hannan was captured by the North Koreans and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp. One of the searching pilots, Flying Officer R. Wittman (A77-774) had a lucky escape, when an enemy .25 calibre slug passed through the aircraft's seat without touching him. The RAAF pilots found the accuracy of the conventional bombing in the mountainous Korean terrain left something to be desired and had a definite preference for the air-to-ground rocket. Late in 1951, the RAAF developed a new type of rocket containing napalm, known as the 'Flaming Onion', and after trials at Williamtown and preliminary testing in Korea, the first examples arrived at 77 Squadron early in February 1952.

The Americans showed considerable interest in the new weapon, and on 8 February 1952, when the napalm rocket was first used in combat, the USAF provided an RF-80 reconnaissance aircraft to record the results on film for later analysis. The Squadron's new CO, Wing Commander Ron Susans led four Meteors armed with the new rockets in an attack on several buildings with 75% of the rockets scoring hits on the targets, resulting in numerous fires. The new weapon was to prove extremely useful against the enemy vehicle convoys and troop concentrations and soon became the standard under wing weapon carried by RAAF Meteors, with each aircraft capable of carrying eight rockets.

During the next few months 77 Squadron continued to fly the demanding ground attack missions as well as the area defence patrols, achieving excellent results despite the high losses. The Squadron lost two more pilots during March with both Sergeant I. Cranston (A77-920) and Sergeant L. Cowper (A77-120) failing to return from ground attack sorties both shot down by enemy flak. An indication of how hectic March was is shown in the Squadron's operations sheets with 1,007 individual sorties being flown.

The communist ground forces soon began to feel the effects of the continuous attacks on their supply lines, and by early May, began to send their Migs south in the hope of intercepting the raiders before they could reach their targets. Once more, the Meteors were to clash with the Migs. On 4 May 1952 a patrol of two Meteors sighted a flight of nine Mig-15s south west of Pyongyang. The Migs immediately launched an attack, but on this occasion the odds lay with the Meteors. The Migs were forced to fight the Meteors at low altitude, thus relinquishing the Mig's high latitude performance advantage. A Mig latched itself onto Sergeant E. Myer's tail but was quickly shaken off, enabling his number two, Pilot Officer J. Surman, to fire two bursts of cannon fire into the Mig. The starboard tail plane and the starboard side of the Mig's exhaust port were seen to disintegrate in a flash of flame, and Surman was credited with probably having destroyed the aircraft as neither Australian saw the Mig impact the ground. Four days later, in the same area, a flight of four Meteors were intercepted by two Migs. Once again, the Meteors had a height advantage and Pilot Officer Bill Simonds (A77-385) was able to make a firing pass on one of the enemy jets. The Mig entered an uncontrollable spin, and the pilot was seen to bail out over friendly territory, resulting in the Squadron's ninth Mig claim since the beginning of the war.

The Mig pilots gained their revenge on the 2 October 1952 when Flying Officer O. Cruickshank, a RAF exchange pilot with the Squadron, was shot down in a surprise attack. A flight of four Meteors had carried out a successful rocket strike and were returning to Kimpo when two Migs jumped them from the 8 o'clock position. Sergeant K. Murray received a 37 mm hit in the port tail pipe during the Mig's first pass and observed Cruickshank bailing out of A77-436 over Cho'do. Unfortunately Cruickshank's parachute failed to open and he fell into the sea with no chance of survival.

With the onset of the Korean winter the Squadron's maintenance personnel once again found their task increasingly difficult. The sub-zero temperatures meant that fitters had to work with their gloves on at all times, as removing them for more than a few moments would invariably lead to frost bite. This resulted in making delicate operations all but impossible. The thick snow had to be removed from the Meteors before dawn each day and this proved to be a most unpopular duty. It is a credit to the fitters that even under these conditions the aircrew were provided with enough serviceable aircraft to enable them to fly 688 sorties in December.

On the 20th January 1953 Wing Commander J.R. Kinnimont handed command of 77 Squadron to Wing Commander J.W. Hubble AFC. Flying during the month was disrupted by continual bad weather although a few very successful strikes were carried out with a total of 50 enemy trucks and 48 buildings being destroyed. The Squadron lost one pilot during the period with RAF pilot Flying Officer F. Booth (A77-15) failing to return from an attack on two trains hidden in railway tunnels.

The Squadron carried out what was arguably its most successful mission of the Korean War when on 16 March 1953 an enemy convoy of approximately 150 trucks was devastated. Also during March the Meteors had their last contact with Mig-15s. On the 27th a flight of four Meteors on an armed reconnaissance mission spotted a Mig chasing two USAF F-80 Shooting Stars, with two more Migs appearing as the Meteors approached. Sergeant Dave Irlam (A77-446) received a major hit from one of the Mig-15's 37 mm cannons and had to break contact to nurse his jet back to Kimpo. Meanwhile, Sergeant George Hale (A77-851), using the weapons he had at hand, fired an air-to-ground rocket between the two Migs before engaging them with his cannons. Hale was credited with having probably shot down one of the Migs, damaging another and definitely scaring the daylights out of the two pilots he fired the rocket at.

Unfortunately the excellent results achieved during March were nullified to some extent by the deaths of three well respected Squadron pilots: Squadron Leader D. Hillier, Flying Officer R. James (RAF) and Sergeant P. Chalmers, all shot down by anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant Ken Murray was also posted back to Australia having set a record by flying a total of 333 sorties during his tour with the Squadron.

The effectiveness of the UN air forces attacks on the communist supply lines, forced the enemy to undertake most of its troop movements and resupply under cover of darkness. During the northern spring of 1953, 77 Squadron began to carry out night armed reconnaissance missions against enemy supply routes in the Pyongyang and Wonsan areas. These missions were normally carried out by a lone Meteor under the guidance of a ground controller, and although many attacks were made on enemy positions, it was hard to judge their effectiveness due to darkness. However, it was considered that the disruption to enemy communications caused by the presence of the Meteors made the project worthwhile.

The Squadron carried out an extremely successful interdiction rocket strike against an enemy troop concentration housed in 51 buildings north east of Chinnampo on 18 May 1953. Sixteen Meteors attacked the village, expending 125 napalm rockets on the target area and, despite the heavy anti-aircraft fire, were able to totally destroy all the buildings with no loss to themselves. The Squadron continued to fly interdiction missions during the next two months but with the arrival of the wet season, the number of days where the weather stopped flying increased dramatically. During June, twelve days flying was lost due to adverse weather, resulting in only 462 sorties being flown compared to the May total of 800 sorties.

The first few weeks of June, however, brought an increase in action and subsequent casualties. On 11 June 1953 Sergeant D. Nolan (A77-134) was killed when his aircraft disintegrated whilst recovering from a barrel roll and dive. Two days later, during an attack on a cable repeater station, Sergeant Bill Monaghan (A77-415) was hit by flak and was forced to land on a friendly island.

The Squadron broke its own sortie record on 15 June 1953 when it flew a total of 88 sorties in the one day, accounting for 90 hours and five minutes of flying time. The only 77 Squadron casualty sustained during these raids was Sergeant D. Pinkstone (A77-982) who was hit by anti-aircraft fire when attacking an enemy vehicle and was forced to bail out of his stricken jet. He parachuted to safety landing successfully in a nearby rice paddy. Other members of his flight saw Pinkstone fold up his parachute and run for the cover of some high ground near a small village. A rescue helicopter was called in but was forced away from the downed pilot by intense enemy ground fire, leaving Pinkstone to be captured and interned as a prisoner of war.

The war on the ground had stagnated into a stalemate over the past year with neither side being able to gain the upper hand. The UN air forces had definite air superiority but this alone could not win the war. The Korean War was formally ended at 1001 hours on 27 July 1953 when delegates from both sides signed an armistice at Panmunjom, with a cease fire commencing shortly afterwards.

The contribution made by 77 Squadron during the three years of the Korean War is totally out of proportion to its size. During the war the Squadron flew a total of 18,872 sorties, comprising of 3,872 Mustang sorties and 15,000 Meteor sorties. The effect this had on the enemy was devastating 3,700 buildings, 1,500 vehicles, 16 bridges, 20 locomotives and 65 railway carriages destroyed. The outstanding results achieved by 77 Squadron, evidently much higher than usual for a single squadron, would not have been possible without the support of 391 (Base) and 491 (Maintenance) Squadrons. The level of technical support was outstanding, resulting in close to 100% serviceability for the Mustangs andMeteors. To achieve this, maintenance crews often worked up to sixteen hours per day under extremely harsh, and often wet, conditions.

Suite à l'avancement des travaux de Frank Whittle sur les premiers réacteurs de conception anglaise, en 1940 le ministère de l'Air britannique émit une demande pour un avion de chasse propulsé par un réacteur. Gloster proposa alors un biréacteur (désigné G.41 en interne), qui fut accepté en novembre de cette même année.

Huit prototypes du Gloster Meteor furent réalisés, utilisant plusieurs des premiers réacteurs en cours de développement à l'époque : le Metrovick F.2 sur le troisième prototype, le De Havilland Halford H.1 sur le cinquième, le De Havilland Goblin sur le sixième, le Rolls-Royce Derwent Mk.I sur le huitième, et le Rolls-Royce W.2B sur tous les autres. Le premier prototype accomplit son vol inaugural le 5 mars 1943 . L'avion était d'une conception plutôt conventionnelle et identique à celle de son équivalent allemand, le Me 262 : monoplace en métal à ailes basses et droites, équipé de deux nacelles moteurs, il disposait d'un train tricycle rétractable. Pressés par les rapports signalant l'avancement des travaux allemands, 20 Meteor Mk.I de présérie suivirent début 1944, propulsés par des Rolls-Royce W.2B / Welland Mk.I de 7,55 kN de poussée.

Un exemplaire fut échangé avec les Américains contre un Bell XP-59X Airacomet et quelques autres furent utilisés pour des essais, tandis que les autres furent mis en service en juillet 1944 dans le Squadron 616 de la Royal Air Force. Le Meteor Mk.I était cependant sous-motorisé, ses canons s'enrayaient facilement, le pilote n'avait pas un champ de vision très étendu sur les côtés et l'arrière, et l'avion était lourd à piloter. En décembre 1944 commencèrent les livraisons de la version Mk.III, avec une structure renforcée, plus de carburant, une verrière modifiée et des réacteurs Rolls-Royce Derwent Mk.I de 8,83 kN de poussée. Un combat simulé fut organisé avec un Hawker Tempest, et le Meteor s'avèra supérieur dans presque tous les domaines. Le Meteor Mk.III était la première version de série, produite à 210 exemplaires, et remplaça très vite le Mk.I.

Différents essais montrant que les nacelles des réacteurs posaient des problèmes aérodynamiques, celles-ci furent donc redessinées et allongées sur les derniers Mk.III construits. Désignée F.4, la version suivante reçut, en plus des réacteurs Rolls-Royce Derwent Mk.5 de 15,6 kN de poussée, des ailes tronquées, une structure renforcée et d'autres améliorations. À cause du flottement induit par la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, la production de cette version ne commença pas avant 1947. La version F.8 effectua son premier vol le 12 octobre 1948 , avec un fuselage allongé de 76 cm pour corriger les problèmes de centre de gravité dont souffrait le Meteor depuis le début, et qui avaient conduit à installer jusqu'à 450 kg de lest dans la version F.4. Une nouvelle dérive résolut également des problèmes de stabilité. Enfin, des réacteurs Derwent Mk.8 de 16 kN de poussée, un siège éjectable et une nouvelle verrière furent installés. Cette version pouvait emporter deux bombes de 454 kg ou 16 roquettes.

Outre la version biplace d'entraînement Meteor T.7, deux versions de reconnaissance furent également construites : le FR.9 (Meteor F.8 avec une caméra dans le nez) et le PR.10 (Meteor F.8 sans canons avec 3 caméras et des ailes allongées). Il faut également ajouter un certain nombre de versions expérimentales et la conversion d'environ 350 avions en drones télécommandés pour l'entraînement au tir.

  • le NF.12, avec des réacteurs Derwent Mk.9 de 16,9 kN de poussée et un fuselage à nouveau allongé pour installer un radar américain AN/APS-21,
  • le NF.13, avec un radiocompas, des entrées d'air agrandies, et mieux adapté à l'emploi dans des pays chauds,
  • le NF.14, encore allongé pour installer un radar AN/APQ-43, et équipé d'une nouvelle verrière offrant plus de visibilité.

Le 7 novembre 1945 , un prototype de la version F.4 avec les canons démontés et des moteurs modifiés établit un nouveau record mondial de vitesse en atteignant 975 km/h . Presque un an plus tard, le 7 septembre 1946 , un Meteor F.4 avec des ailes tronquées (envergure réduite de 1,47 mètre) battit à nouveau le record avec 991 km/h .

Les Gloster Meteor Mk.I furent utilisés contre les bombes volantes allemandes V1. Les deux premières victoires furent obtenues le 4 août 1944 , et un total de quatorze V1 furent abattus avant l'arrêt des tirs allemands. Les Gloster Meteor Mk.III furent déployés aux Pays-Bas début 1945. Ils n'effectuèrent que des missions d'attaque au sol et avaient reçu l'ordre de ne pas survoler les territoires contrôlés par les Allemands, pour éviter que ceux-ci ne s'emparent d'éventuels avions abattus ou accidentés. Les Gloster Meteor n'eurent jamais l'occasion de combattre leurs équivalents allemands, les chasseurs biréacteurs Messerschmitt 262.

L'Australie déploya une centaine de Gloster Meteor F.8 lors de la guerre de Corée. D'abord utilisés pour escorter les bombardiers, les Meteor se révélèrent vite surclassés par les MiG-15, entre autres lors de la bataille aérienne de Suncheon, et dès la fin 1951, ne furent plus employés que pour des missions d'attaque au sol. Une trentaine d'avions furent perdus au combat.

Le 16 juin 1955 , durant la tentative de coup d'état connue sous le nom de bombardement de la place de Mai, quatre Meteor de la force aérienne argentine abattent un North American T-6 Texan rebelle avant de se faire capturer de retour à leur base puis utiliser par les putschistes pour bombarder Buenos aires.

La Royal Air Force engagea ses Meteor PR.9 lors de la crise du canal de Suez en 1956.

Colour scheme and serials.

The Meteors were decorated with red wing-tips and nacelles.
The nose of the fuselage was already red, because the Meteor were used for shooting practises (during the fifties the task of 323 squadron was training of pilots and instructors).
On both nacelles in a great white circle the squadron badge, Diana, the Greek hunting Goddess was applied.
It is not known when this scheme was applied nor who initiated this scheme. Piet Miedema, on of the technical crew, had a photo taken before the ILSY display. perhaps the scheme was applied before the earlier display contest.
The aircraft kept their standard camouflage scheme of dark green and dark Sea grey on the upper surfaces and PRU Blue on the under surfaces.
The front of the nose, front of the tail cone and the top of the vertical stabilizer was painted in the colour of air base Leeuwarden, light blue.

Images & Screenshots

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Images & Screenshots

The archive has 13 files and directories contained within it. View them

Gloster Meteor F Mk.8 - History

Nikon 300mm f/2.8 History

Original 1977 Nikon 300mm f/2/8 ED-IF with hood extended. enlarge.

Nikon's newest 2009 300mm f/2.8 VR II, without hood. enlarge.

C h r i s t m a s 2015 Nikon Reviews Nikon Lenses All Reviews

Manual Focus (links take you to full reviews)

Auto Focus (links take you to full reviews)

Nikon's first primitive 300mm f/2.8 ED super tele was impractical because it had klunky, slow traditional unit focusing and a manual diaphragm. As you focused, the entire lens had to rack in and out, not exactly the thing for sports, which is the whole point of this lens.

Because the whole lens had to rack in and out, it has to move a lot to focus closely. To make a reasonably-sized lens, the close focus distance is limited by how much mechanics the maker wants to provide to allow the lens to rack out far enough.

The manual diaphragm means you had to flick a ring to stop down the lens to the taking aperture after focusing each shot. After the shot, you had to flick it the other way to open the diaphragm to focus for the next shot! Preset manual diaphragms went away form most lenses back in the 1960s, but no one had made an automatic diaphragm for a lens this big yet.

Since the whole point of a fast tele is sports and action, the klunky focusing and manual diaphragm defeats the purpose of a 300mm f/2.8. People bought these to shoot at f/2.8, but the focus is still a pain.

These pre-AI lenses won't mount on most modern Nikons. Don't worry, this version was never very popular so it's unlikely you'd come across one for sale.

I will ignore this lens for the rest of this article. It's a non-player and very rare because it was so awful for actual photography that no one bought them.

Nikon 300mm f/2.8 ED-IF AI. This was the world's first practical super-speed super-tele, and very popular.

Almost identical AI-s version.

New version of AI-s. Same optics, but now focuses to 10' (3m) instead of 13' (4m) and has a permanently installed protective front plate instead of a 122mm filter thread. It weighs 3.5 oz. (100g) less than the previous two versions and is 1/2" (14mm) longer than the earlier 2 versions.

First AF version, which was the manual focus Nikon 300mm f/2.8 ED-IF with a hole drilled up the side for the screw-type autofocus. AF was so slow that it was one of the reasons sports photographers changed to Canon, and have never had a reason to come back. Whoops! Slow AF is what lost Nikon the pro market. This first AF version is identified by a milled (fine-ribbed) glossy black AF/MF ring. The first AF versions focus as closely as their contemporary manual versions, 10' (3m).

AF-n version, still the same optics as the 1977 original and same slow AF as before. This version is identified by the coarse, crinkle-finish ribbing on the AF/MF ring its ribs have about the same pitch as the focus ring ribs.

For the first time since 1986, Nikon put a focus motor into the lens, and for the first time since 1977, Nikon updated the optics. Nikon calls these lenses AF-I, for internal-motor autofocus. The 300mm f/2.8 AF-I focuses more closely than the previous AF versions, down to 8' (2.5m).

The AF-I were the forerunner of AF-S lenses, which use a different kind of motor. The AF-I should work and focus perfectly even on the D40.

Sadly, the Nikon AF-I 300mm f/2.8 was also a slow focuser, confirming to all the pros who moved to Canon that they made the right choice. The good thing about the AF-I version is that it adds extremely helpful focus lock buttons on the front of the lens.

The Nikon 600mm f/4 AF-I, also introduced in 1992, is as slow as the 300mm AF-I. In 1994 Nikon introduced the Nikon 400mm f/2.8 AF-I which has a much better AF-I system and is very fast. (The 300mm AF-I was unchanged.)

First AF-S 300mm f/2.8, which finally is the first Nikon 300mm f/2.8 which auto focuses quickly. It has newer optics than the AF-I version. This first AF-s version focuses as closely as the AF-I. It is the heaviest 300mm f/2.8 ever made by Nikon at 3.1 kg. It now takes a 52mm filter in a rear drawer, compared to every previous version which took a 39mm filter in a drawer.

AF-S II, which focuses a little more closely: 7.2' (2.2m) vs. 8' (2.5m) for the previous AF-S version. It also weighs less, 2.95 vs 3.1 kg.

The Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VR adds vibration reduction for great results hand-held. This version focuses to 7.2' or 2.2m.

This model has a gold identity plate and VR is marked elsewhere in red.

It's the same as the old 2004-2009 VR model, adding one more stop of VR performance and an "M/a" autofocus mode.

To quote Nikon: "The lens optics and Nano Crystal Coat so well received with previous lenses have been adopted without modification," meaning this is the same lens, with better VR and a new focus mode.

This current model has a black identity plate with a "II" between G and ED, and VR is marked elsewhere in gold.

1971 - 1986 manual lenses take 122mm screw-in filters.

1977 - 2005 manual lenses take a 39mm filter in a rear drawer. They also came with a gel filter holder that can be used instead of the 39mm holder.

1986 - 1996 AF lenses also take 39mm filters in a rear drawer, and also came with a gel filter holder that can be used instead of the 39mm holder.

1996 - current day (2007) AF lenses take a 52mm filter in a rear drawer.

The manual lenses weigh less than the AF lenses.

The 1977 - 1986 manual lenses weigh 2.5 kg and the 1986 - 2005 manual lens weighs 2.4 kg.

Only the heaviest 1971-1976 pre-AI dinosaur weighs just a tiny bit more (2.6 kg) than the very lightest AF-S II version (2.56 kg).

Both original AF versions weigh 2.7 kg. The original AF-I and AF-S weigh 3.0 kg. The the VR weighs 2.85 kg.

More Details

For more details of dimensions and weights and hoods etc., see Roland Vink's Nikon Lens page.


If you're a cheapskate shooting landscapes on a tripod, get an ancient used manual focus version and save some money. That's what I did.

For sports, get an AF-S version, and for hand-held use, get the latest VR version.

Optical Performance

Even the first 300mm f/2.8 ED of 1977 is one of the sharpest lenses ever made, and the same has been true for every other Nikon 300mm f/2.8 since then. (I've never seen one of the old non-AI versions.)

I have not shot with many of these, but considering their heritage and the fact that every f/2.8 super telephoto ever made by Nikon (and Canon) has been spectacular (and spectacularly expensive), I see no optical reason to pick one lens over another except for minimum focus distance. The newest versions focus almost twice as closely as the oldest.

These superteles have always been Nikon's forté. Chose among them based on autofocus speed (or not), VR, and close focus distance.

Manual Focus Suggestions

Pass on the ancient 1971 - 1976 , non-AI, manual aperture, not mountable on most modern cameras versions. These are rare because no one bought them back when they were new, so it's unlikely you'll run across one.

Everything from 1977 - 2005 is about the same. All the ED-IF from 1977 - 2005 have the same excellent optics.

The versions from 1986 - 2005 focus more closely, 10' (3m) vs. 13' (4m), have a permanently installed protective filter on front instead of a 122mm filter thread, weigh 3.5 oz (100g) less but are 1/2" (14mm) longer then the earlier versions.

If I had a choice, I'd get the closer focusing (1986 and newer) version, but you take what you can find. I found and bought the 1977 - 1982 version.

Autofocus Suggestions

For landscapes and portraits, the pre-AF-S versions sell cheaper, so go get one if you can handle slow AF.

For sports and action, pass on any of the original AF and AF-I lenses from 1986 - 1996. They focus much too slowly!

For action and sports, the whole idea behind the 300mm f/2.8, get the AF-S version of 1996 or newer.

I work hand-held, and would prefer of course the newest and current 300mm f/2.8 VR version introduced in 2004, but I'm too cheap to buy one.

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Meteor Showers

Peak night dates are based on local time for Voronezh. Please note that this does not guarantee visibility. Visibility is based on a variety of factors including weather and astronomical conditions. See meteor shower animation to find out visibility conditions for viewing the meteor shower from your location.

New Meteor Shower Interactive Sky Map

The Interactive Meteor Shower Sky Map shows the position of the radiant in the night sky above any location. Click and drag to explore other parts of the sky.

Meteor Shower Calendar

When is the next meteor shower? Can you see it from your location? Local times and best dates to view shooting stars from annual meteor showers.

2021 Cosmic Calendar

Celestial events and highlights of 2021 and 2022 including supermoons, solar and lunar eclipses, meteor showers, solstices, and equinoxes.

Meteors: How to See

Dates and tips on how and where to see shooting stars from meteor showers all over the world.

What are Asteroids?

Learn more about these space rocks orbiting the Sun.

Planet Sizes and Order

How large are the planets and what is their order from the Sun?

Distance, Brightness, and Apparent Size of Planets

See how far the planets are from the Sun or Earth, how bright they look, and their apparent size in the sky.

The table is updated daily and shows the position of the Orionids radiant in the sky for the upcoming night. Use the date drop down above the Interactive Meteor Shower Sky Map to change dates.

Orionids meteor shower for Voronezh (Night between 21 октябрь and 22 октябрь)
чтв 22:00 72° 5,7°
чтв 23:00 83° 14,7°
птн 00:00 95° 24,0°
птн 01:00 108° 33,1°
птн 02:00 123° 41,5°
птн 03:00 140° 48,5°
птн 04:00 162° 53,0°
птн 05:00 187° 53,9°
птн 06:00 210° 50,9°
птн 07:00 230° 45,0°

Direction to see the Orionids in the sky:

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