LENGTH: 30′ 9″ Photo by Jim Malcolm
HEIGHT: 6′ 2″
RANGE: 1,090
CEILING: 40,000
Text Markings: 187, SQD. LDR. Jerry Davis,

Description by Linda J. Hill

The History of our de Havilland Vampire # XD538

The red, white and blue markings are the RAF’s equivalent of the “Star and bars” worn by US military aircraft.

XD538 was built by de Havilland at Broughton, near Chester in the summer of 1954 and delivered to the RAF in July. After a short period in store it was allocated to No. 9 Flying Training School, Merryfield, then at the end of the year to the Central Flying School (Advanced) at Little Rissington – this unit trained flying instructors. In 1956 the aircraft underwent a modification programme and next saw service with the Central Navigation & Control School at Shawbury in 1957. The CNCS trained air traffic controllers and had a small fleet of aircraft for trainees to practise their controlling skills on.

After refurbishment by de Havilland XD538 rejoined CNCS in September 1959 and seems to have undergone further work in 1963, by which time CNCS had become the Central Air Traffic Control School. The Vampire was declared surplus to requirements in 1967 and allocated as a ground instructional aircraft at No. 23 Maintenance Unit, Aldergrove, near Belfast being used to train technicians.

The camouflage scheme that the aircraft currently wears is spurious. In service the Vampire would have worn either silver with yellow “trainer bands” as in the attached images, or the later scheme of light grey with orange “dayglo” stripes.

Description and History provided by: Linda J Hill, (through emails with Peter Elliott, Senior Keeper, Department of Research & Information Services
Royal Air Force Museum
Hendon, London

Working on the Vampire

It seems like this was the first weekend we’ve had of good weather and it was great to be outside. It was a productive weekend!!



Here are Kregg and Mike preparing to put the wooden belly tray on the Vampire. As with its earlier cousin the Mosquito, deHavilland opted to produce a good deal of the Vampire in wood to help reduce the need for more important strategic materials. Although our T.11 version is later, the early Vampires were flying in WW II.


Co-founder Kregg Kirby (left) and Museum Director Jeff Wofford having fun sizing up part of the Vampire’s anti-rain device!!!


Some of our awesome staff in front of the Vampire!!

Here is some information that Linda has found about the Vampire.

History of the deHavilland Vampire series

History: In September 1943, one of the first jet fighters in history streaked skywards, with Geoffrey deHavilland at the controls. The deHavilland D.H.100 Vampire, a single seater, flew through the design process in just sixteen short months, spurred on by wartime exigencies. Nonetheless, the plane didn’t see active service until June, 1946 flying with RAF squadron number 247 under the name Vampire F.MK 1, an aircraft used mostly in an experimental role.

Further development in the design led to the creation of the Vampire F.Mk3 which replaced all of the F.Mk 1’s in service with the RAF. The F.Mk3 was also an export fighter with four going to Norway and eighty-five to Canada. Under special arrangement with Australia, eighty were produced by deHavilland Aircraft Pty Ltd. Powered by the Australian-made Rolls-Royce Nene engines, they were reclassified as Vampire FB.Mk 30s. The FB.Mk 5 was a version of the F.Mk3 optimized for the purpose of ground attack. With a strengthened wing and shorter span, it was well suited for this role. (This version drew a lot of worldwide interest, and many were sold to, or license-built by, other nations. Italy’s Macchi company built at least 80 Vampires, and France’s SNCASE built at least 250 Sud-Est SE 535 Mistrals.)

Another version of the Vampire, the D.H.113 Vampire NF.Mk 10, was a two seat night fighter. The NF.Mk 10’s double-wide seating, like that in the deHavilland Mosquito, led to the development of the D.H. 115 Vampire trainer, notable in aviation history as being one of the first planes with ejection seats. The UK’s Fleet Air Arm flew a navalized version of the FB.Mk 5 called the Sea Vampire F.Mk 20.

The Vampire line came to an end with the Vampire FB.Mk 9, an air-conditioned version of the FB.Mk 5. All told, 1900 single-seat Vampires were built by December 1953 when production ceased. The old jets flew on however, with several remaining in active service in Switzerland until 1990. [History by Russ Edwards and Matthew Enochs.]

Nicknames: Spider Crab (Original project name); Flying Wheelbarrow / Kiddie Kar (RAF); Aguacate (“Avocado”) (Mexican AF)

Specifications (FB.Mk 6):

Engine: One 3,350-pound thrust D.H. Goblin 3 turbojet
Weight: Empty 7,283 lbs., Max Takeoff 12,390 lbs.
Wing Span: 38ft. 0in.
Length: 30ft. 9in.
Height: 8ft. 10in.
Maximum Speed: 548 mph
Ceiling: 42,800 ft.
Range: 1,220 miles
Four 20-mm cannon in nose
Underwing stores, including eight 60-pound rockets, or two 1,000-pound bombs, or two drop tanks.

Number Built: 2,900+

Number Still Airworthy: 80+