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G-AMSV Returns to Coventry

An old friend returned to Coventry yesterday when G-AMSV, in her striking Indian Air force livery, landed here for extensive maintenance by our engineers. Sierra Victor was part of the Air Altantique fleet here for many years. She'll...

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Baginton Air Pageant

The initial details for the Baginton Air Pageant are up on the website! As we don't have the space for a full-on air show attracting 20,000 or so people, we're aiming for low-key, themed days like this. A couple of thousand people,...

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Newquay Pleasure flights

We promised we'd be back to fly in Cornwall, and here we are. We'll be heading south with a Rapide and Chipmunk to spend a week at Newquay from 25th July, with a further visit planned in August. The flights are bookable in the normal...

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New Dakota Book

Geoff Jones just told me that his new book on the DC-3, released to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Dak's appearance, is now available. The cover sports a lovely shot of G-ANAF, shot by Simon Westwood before her radome goiter was...

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Nimrod Engine Run

We've just confirmed plans by NPT to run all four of the Nimrod's Rolls-Royce Speys on Saturday 9th May. We expect the thunder to start just after lunchtime. Come along and enjoy some audio power - and please dip into your pockets...

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Events at Classic Air Force

Jet Day, Saturday October 4th

Meteor T7, Vampire T55 and Jet Provost T3 flying at Newquay

It's not that often that we get the chance to fly several of our precious vintage jets on the same day. As a charity we're always looking closely at every cost, and few things are more expensive to run than an early jet! But just occasionally everything comes together and we're able to offer you something rather special.

Saturday 4th October is one of those days. We have training flights and display practices to do, and the Civil Aviation Authority has helpfully given us the OK to invite you along to see them - and hear them - doing what they do best.


Here's how the day looks at the moment:
  • 10:00am Doors open. Passenger flights in the Rapide and Chipmunk. Rides in the Fire engine
  • 11:00am Jet Provost T3 departs for a 20 minute training flight
  • 12:00am Jet Provost T5 departs for a training flight
  • 1:30pm Jet Provost T3 and T5 perform a formation takeoff and display
  • 3:00pm Meteor T7 and Vampire take off for a dual display
  • 4:00pm Explosive engine start by the Venom
In between all this the pleasure flying aircraft will be coming and going, Minnie the fire engine will be blasting around and creating minor monsoons with her water cannon, and of course the rest of our wonderful collection will be open for you to explore and enjoy.
All times are approximate and subject to change. Flying activities are subject to weather suitability and aircraft availability

Today's Star Performers

Meteor T7

Meteor T7 WA591

She's svelte, sexy and sixty-five. Our Meteor T7 is now the world's oldest flyable jet. But don't be fooled; she packs a powerful punch from those two tuneful Derwent engines and she leaves the ground like an olympic pole vaulter, rolls like a Cooper's Hill cheese and glints in the sun like a silver bullet. You'll see her performing her breathtaking solo act as well as see her perform an aerial duet with her little sister, the Vampire.

The Meteor T7 is the flagship of our collection and forms the centrepiece of our logo. She was rescued and restored over a twenty year period by the Meteor Flight, with the support of Classic Air Force.

Vampire T55

Vampire T55

The Vampire's a feisty little beast. Tiny and so low-set that she melts the tarmac if she stands still for too long, this diminutive wooden wonder was the cutting edge of jet technology in the early post-war years. Lovers of the de Havilland Mosquito (and who doesn't love the Mossie?) will recognise the DNA in that rounded nose, and the fuselage construction is very similar to the Vampire's WW2 ancestor.

Equipped with four cannon, the Vampire had the manoevrability and fire power to demand global respect, seeing service in air forces all over the world. She'll show her colours by performing some high-speed solo fly-bys as well as teaming up with the Meteor for a dual display.

Jet Provost T3

Jet Provost T3

A sweet-flying, responsive trainer, the JP3 is a favourite among our pilots. She might not be able quite to match the speed of the other two of today's performers, but she's nimble and aerobatic, so expect plenty of entertainment from her performance.

This is the very Jet Provost that propelled James May around the Top Gear test track. Then she was painted in a striking but non-standard blue and white, but her agility through the turns was just as impressive as it is today. At the controls for the Top Gear challenge was our Chief Pilot, Jon Corley - you can see him in the left-hand seat next to James May just before Jon taxis the old girl through the follow through, shaking the tyre wall in true Stig style!

Jet Provost T5

Jet Provost T5

The T5 is a much more powerful beast than its older sister. With a pressurised cabin, upgraded engine, advanced avionics and revised control surfaces. In fact the newer machine was potent enough to become a front-line combat aircraft in the form of the Strikemaster.

The increased power and higher speed began to show the shortcomings of what was by now an elderly airframe design, requiring stopgap measures such as specially roughened leading edges to the wings. 


Venom starting up

Our ex-Swiss Air Force Venom will be generating plumes of smoke on the ground when she fires up for an engine run. This Venom still features the explosive cartridge starting system originally fitted when she was commissioned in 1954. It's spectacular sight, with a huge gout of brown smoke jetting skywards - definitely a don't miss photo opportunity!

The Venom is instantly recognisable as a development of the Vampire, with similar twin tail booms and the four under-nose cannon. The main points of recognition are the swept wing and wingtip fuel tanks. The Venom featured a more powerful Ghost engine than the Vampire's Goblin to give a higher top speed and (slightly) improved fuel consumption.

Scammel Mk 10 Crash Tender

Scammell Mk10 Nubian firing its water cannon

Rear engined, with a centre driving position and over 500 hp under your right foot. No, it's not a McLaren but a four-wheel drive orange monster called Minnie.

Let's look at the spec: maximum noise, 14.5 litres, 525 hp and a water cannon that probably contravenes strategic arms limitations. When she starts up, people shut their windows in Plymouth. Jeremy Clarkson, we've found your dream vehicle. Oh yes, and you get to wear a big yellow helmet as you blast around the site. Kids love riding in our big orange beastie, as long as we can shoo their big kid fathers out of the way to let them in.