History of the De Havilland Vampire.

Author:Joyce, Jeffrey P.
Position:Book review
 
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History of the De Havilland Vampire. By David Watkins. Published in the United Kingdom by Fonthill Media, 2017. Photographs. Appendices. Bibliography. Pp. 384. $40.00 (paperback). ISBN: 978-1-78115-610-0

This work is a comprehensive and well-illustrated study of the second operational Royal Air Force (RAF) jet fighter. Developed during the Second World War, the Vampire entered service with the RAF in 1946 and remained in production until 1961. In addition to 3400 built in England, over 1000 Vampires were manufactured under license by several other countries. Written by David Watkins, a former member of the RAF and an aviation historian who has written extensively on the RAF, this book chronicles the design, testing, production, and operational service of one of the RAF's iconic jet fighters of the early Cold War.

The first British jet-propelled airplane to fly was the Gloster E28/39 on May 15, 1941, powered by a Whittle W.1 turbojet engine. That Gloster flight occurred nearly two years after the German Heinkel He 178 V1 first flew on August 27, 1939. As World War II progressed and the Luftwaffe developed the Messerschmitt Me 262, the RAF also pushed forward with fielding jet fighters. The first of these, the Gloster Meteor, took to the air in March 1943 and entered service in the summer of 1944. Though the Me 262 and Meteor never faced off in aerial combat over Europe, the Meteor was used successfully against the German V-l flying bombs targeting London. Whereas the Gloster Meteor was a twin-engine design, the RAF also saw the need for a single-engine jet fighter with a primary mission as a day interceptor. De Havilland responded with the DH 100 prototype incorporating a unique twin-boom tail design. Making its first test flight in...

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