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Apr 23, 2013

RAF Airlifts Britain's First Jet Fighter

image A Chinook helicopter airlifted one of the RAF's historic aircraft to a new jet museum. Located at Imjin Barracks in Gloucestershire, home of NATO’s Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC), the aircraft, an early 1950s’ Meteor, was lifted by a Chinook helicopter and moved to its new home at the Jet Age Museum, located at Gloucestershire Airport in Staverton.

The Meteor was once the ‘gate guardian’ for the Imjin Barracks site in its former life as RAF Innsworth. Following the RAF station’s closure in 2008, transfer to the British Army and reopening as Imjin Barracks in 2010, the Meteor was moved to a new location next to HQ ARRC’s Installation Briefing Centre.

Imjin’s Meteor was recently purchased by the Jet Age Museum and is slated for restoration and inclusion in its exhibits, which will focus on the region’s extensive aircraft production history and affiliation with the aviation industry.

The Gloster Meteor was both the UK’s first jet aircraft and the Allies’ first operational jet fighter. The Meteor’s development was heavily reliant on its ground-breaking turbojet engines, developed by Sir Frank Whittle and his company, Power Jets Ltd.

Development of the aircraft began in 1940. The Meteor first flew in 1943 and commenced operations in July 1944 with 616 Squadron     of the RAF. Although the Meteor was not an aerodynamically advanced aircraft, it proved to be a successful and effective combat fighter.