De Havilland DH-100 Vampire FB-6

Technical Specifications
Name : Vampire FB-6
Family : Jet fighter
Manufacturer : De Havilland
Nation : Great Britain
Production Year : 1943
Length : 9,372 m
Span : 11,582 m
Height : 1,879 m
Wing Area : 25 m²
Empty : 3100 kg
Maximum Take-off :  4830 kg
De Havilland Goblin 3 1.520 kg static thrust
Maximum Speed : 880 km/h
Range : With auxiliary tanks 1965 km

The De Havilland DH-100 Vampire was the first jet fighter used by the Italian Air Force and the first built by Italian industry. Designed to a Royal Air Force specification, the first DH-100 was flown on 26 September 1943 by Geoffrey De Havilland. It was put into production in 1944, with over 4,000 eventually built in six countries for over 30 air forces. Easy to fly, it was conventional in every respect but the jet engine. The wing, tail booms and empennage were all-metal structures, while the pilot’s gondola was in wood. The Vampire had limited instrumentation, no radar and initially no ejection seat. The armament comprised four 20 mm guns in the nose. Italy purchased the Vampire license in 1949 and paid by using highly-devaluated British currency owned by the Bank of Italy. A total of 195 Vampire FB-52As were manufactured by Italian industry, including 89 from the Macchi assembly line in Varese. Together with 19 British-built aircraft, these Vampires served from 1949 to 1959 with the Amendola (Foggia) flying school, three fighter wings (4th, 6th and 2nd) and various other Italian Air Force units. In 1952 four Vampires led by Lt G.B. Ceoletta formed within the 4th Stormo the first official Italian postwar aerobatic team. In 1955-56 Macchi sold to Egypt 58 overhauled Vampires. The Vampire on display is marked to represent an aircraft based at Ghedi (Brescia) with the 154th Group of the 6th Stormo of the Italian Air Force. It is actually the FB-6 number 668, built by EFW in 1952 and used by the Swiss Air Force until 1990 as J-1159. It was auctioned on 23 January 1991 and placed on the French register as F-AZHJ. Its final operator was the Association Varoise Avions de Collection, which operated in the colors of a French navy aircraft. It was purchased by the Museo dell’Aeronautica and flown to Italy, making its final landing at Malpensa airport on 8 April 2010.

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