• Status: On display
  • Airworthiness: Static display
  • Type: Fighter
  • Built: 1960
  • Construction Number: 654
  • Current Markings: RCAF AA-P
  • Length: 30 ft 9 in
  • Wingspan: 38 ft
  • Power: 3,350 lbs thrust
  • Engine: 1 x de Havilland Goblin 3 Turbojet
  • Maximum Speed: 548 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 415 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 43,500 ft
  • Range: 1,220 miles

Aircraft Description

In early 1941, the de Havilland Company in England faced a huge task - it had to develop a new jet engine, as well as create an airframe for it to fly in. The development programme proved successful and the DH.100 Vampire made its first flight in September 1943. However, delivery of the first production aircraft to the RAF was delayed until the close of the war, in April 1945.

The de Havilland Vampire has several records to its credit, including:

  • the first jet aircraft to operate from an aircraft carrier - HMS Ocean, December 1945
  • the first jet aircraft to fly the Atlantic - six RAF Vampire Mk. 3s, UK to Goose Bay, July 1948
  • a world altitude record of 59,500 feet in March 1948
Following WW II, the RCAF began evaluating jet fighters and after intensive testing selected the Vampire Mk. 3. In 1947, a large number of Vampires were received from England for reassembly. The first Vampire Mk. 3 flew from Downsview (Toronto) in January 1948 and the first batch of Canadian assembled aircraft was delivered to the RCAF soon after. Vampires entered squadron service with No. 410 Squadron at St. Hubert, Quebec in late 1948. In January 1951, No. 421 Squadron became the first RCAF squadron to go overseas post war and was Canada’s first contribution to NATO European air defence, flying Vampire fighters.

Because of the pace of jet airplane development at that time, the Vampire became obsolete as a front line fighter during 1951 and was soon replaced by the F-86 Sabre. Vampire Mk. 3s continued to be flown by six RCAF Auxiliary Squadrons, until the end of 1956. A total of 85 Vampire fighters served with the RCAF.

More than 3,900 de Havilland Vampires were manufactured between 1945 and 1960. They were built under licence by six countries and served with the air forces of 26 nations.

The Museum’s de Havilland Vampire FB.6 was built under licence in 1960, by the Swiss Federal Aircraft Factory and was one of the last Vampires ever built. It was acquired from the Swiss Air Force, when it was retired in 1995. The aircraft displays the markings of a Vampire Mk. 3, which flew with RCAF No. 400 "City of Toronto" (Auxiliary) Squadron, based at Downsview in the 1950s.

© Canadian Warplane Heritage 2024