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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

I've often been asked "Why is there an image of a Gloster Meteor on you home page?" The answer is quite simple its not a Gloster Meteor its an Armstrong Whitworth Meteor. How so you ask? Didn't Gloster design and manufacture the Meteor? Yes, however, when the Air Ministry looked for a replacement night fighter for the aging de Haviland Mosquito Gloster proposed that the Meteor T7 two seat trainer could be adapted to fill this requirement.


The Air Ministry accepted the idea but quickly transferred all design and manufacturing responsibility to Armstrong Whitworth who adopted the T7 cockpit arrangement, together with the fuselage and tail from the F8 and used the longer wings of the F3. To accommodate the air to air radar equipment the nose of the aircraft was considerably extended, this resulted in the 20mm canons being moved in to the wings, outboard of the engines. This Meteor was known as the Armstrong Whitworth NF11, with further variants being developed to accommodate the ever changing and improved radar equipment, in all there were four variants NF11 through to NF 14.


This image is of RAF Meteor WS775, probably in the marking of number 85 squadron. It is an NF14 version distinguished by the clear view sliding canopy. It clearly shows the extended nose, the ventral fuel tank and the wing mounted drop tanks. Armstrong Whitworth also built over 450 Meteor F3's and F8's for Gloster, these were always known as Gloster Meteors


AWA always kept the public up-to-date with their aircraft development through adverts like the above.



This rather unusual looking aircraft is known as the "Gloster Meteor F8 prone pilot", it was developed by Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft from the final batch of F8's that they built for Gloster. The pilot in the forwards cockpit lay in the prone position to monitor if the pilot could sustain consciousness under higher g forces; in this it was successful. However, difficulties in rearward visibility and pilot ejection outweighed the advantages of sustaining higher g effects. The concept never entered production.