De Havilland DH 100 Vampire Mk 3
The Vampire began as an experimental aircraft, with design work beginning at the de Havilland works in 1941, with the first flight at Hatfield in September 1943. The aircraft was entirely a de Havilland project, and it utilized the company's extensive experience with using moulded plywood for aircraft construction. It was the last time composite wood/metal construction was used in high performance military aircraft. This was the second British designed and built jet fighter to go into service with the RAF and the RCAF's first jet type.
The Vampire F. 3 made its first flight in November 1946, having increased internal fuel and provision for auxiliary tanks compared to the first model. The aircraft was progressively developed into the FB Mk 5 with a strengthened wing of reduced span capable of carrying a 2,000 lb. ordnance load, and first flew on June 23, 1948. Vampires served with the RCAF between 1949-1958 and with many other countries. Almost 4,400 Vampires were built, a quarter of them under licence.
The Museum’s DH100 Vampire was used by the RCAF (421 and 400 sqns), then sold surplus to the U.S., where it was used as an executive jet. It came to the Air Museum of Calgary some time in the late 1960s. Sold off when the museum failed, it ended up at Kapuskasing in Don Campbell's collection. Don donated the aircraft to the Canadian Museum of Flight in 1983.
It was hauled to Vancouver by four volunteers using two loaned trucks and trailers in seven days elapsed time. This included loading, driving 24 hours a day, and time out to repair flat tires, transmissions and tune-ups on the trucks. Restored to static display under a Canada Manpower grant in 1986, the Vampire Mk 3 is a designated Cultural Property.
(Photo credit, Collection Wall: B. Rempel)
May, 2010. Refurbished components are being installed on the Vampire. The aircraft will be finished in an authentic RCAF colour scheme.
The Museum's Vampire is currently undergoing restoration work. The wooden fuselage has suffered from exposure to the damp West Coast atmosphere. It is now housed in a purpose-built structure. Many parts of the fuselage and cockpit area have been removed and restored and are now being refitted.