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Flying sideways

I snapped this phone photo of Dakota G-ANAF getting airborne at Coventry earlier this week. This was the day when the roads were littered with branches and wheelie bins, so the old girl needed a bootful of rudder to keep her tracking the...

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Membership' information...

Members. If you are a member and based in Cornwall, you may be wondering what will happen now that Newquay is closing. Well a group of volunteers are attempting to maintain a facility at St Mawgan, Newquay. We are trying to create...

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The English Electric Lightning rescued from the scrapyard with the help of our friends at Gateguards UK and the generous cooperation of BAe Systems has moved into the main hangar at Newquay. As you can see from the photograph, there's...

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Lovely to see so many people at Newquay yesterday when we ran our mini air show to round off a great season. Jon Corley put on a series of magnificent displays and the planes seemed to have a great time - the Meteor and Vampire were certainly...

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Back in the Hot Seat

A powerful moment on Wednesday when Meteor veteran Hal Taylor was reunited...

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Vampire: The Ghost in the Machine
Vampire air-to-air Vampire edging in Martin Shaw and Vampire
Status: N/A
Owned by: The Classic Aircraft Trust
Current location: Coventry
Available for pleasure flights: No

Classic Air Force's deHavilland Vampire is a T55 variant – the export version of the T11 trainer used by the Royal Air Force.

The fuselage ‘pod’ was built in the UK by William Lawrence & Co Ltd., in Nottingham and delivered to deHavilland on 29 January 1958, with construction number 975 and build number WLS-DH-103. On 20 December of the same year, the pod was shipped to Switzerland where F&W at Altenrhein completed the airframe (under licence from deHavilland) and delivered it to the Swiss Air Force with serial number U-1215.

During its service with the Swiss Air Force, U-1215 served at a number of bases, including Emmen, Altenrhein, Sion and Dubendorf. It remained in service until May 1990, completing 1,955 flying hours.

After retirement from the Swiss Air Force, the last 27 Vampires were placed up for auction and in March 1991, U-1215 was purchased by Bournemouth based Hunter Wing. The aircraft was ferried to the UK on 28 August the same year and registered G-HELV with the CAA on 17 September 1991. Soon after, its Swiss markings were shed and it was re-painted in RAF camouflage.

G-HELV was acquired by Mike Collett and Air Atlantique in March 2004 and was kindly donated to the trust in February 2012. Today, this iconic aircraft retains its fictitious RAF camouflage as well as the incorrect RAF serial XJ771.

Its dual controls make the Vampire an important crew currency and training aircraft within Classic Air Force.