Rare UK warbirds sold
The sole airworthy examples of the Gloster Meteor T7 and post-war RAF Avro Anson T21 navigation trainer, both previously part of the Classic Air Force (CAF) fleet at Coventry, have been sold. Anson G-VROE/WD413 was registered to Glenn James on 21 March 2017 and was delivered to its new base at Sleap four days later.
WD413 was constructed in 1950 as an Anson T21 navigation trainer and was initially operated by the RAF at Hamble. After conversion for passenger transport as a C21 it served with RAF Communications Flights at Booker and Bovingdon. By the mid-1960s it was grounded for use as an instructional airframe at Aldergrove in Northern Ireland. Declared surplus the Anson was sold to Gordon Fraser who registered it as G-BFIR in December 1977 and lovingly restored it to flight. Air Atlantique acquired this rare aircraft in March 1998 for the Classic Flight (later rebranded Classic Air Force). It made an epic journey to Bahrain in 2000 to participate in Gulf Air’s 50th anniversary celebrations, masquerading as an Anson once flown by Gulf Aviation. After return to the UK it was repainted in its current RAF trainer colours. Although BAE System’s Avro C19 Sers 2 G-AHKX is airworthy at Old Warden it is a civilian transport version purchased by Smiths Aircraft Instruments in 1946. The only other military Anson still flying is the very different WWII era Mk I ZK-RRA at Omaka, New Zealand.
A very significant loss to the British aviation scene is the sale to the USA of Meteor T7 G-BWMF/WA591 which has been a star attraction at British airshows in recent years. Although it has been for sale for a couple of years, in that time, according to the vendors, ‘no credible offers or
viable expressions of interest were received from within the UK’. It will be joining the growing fleet of the World Heritage Air Museum (WHAM) in Detroit. In mid-march the museum announced: “One of our benefactors just acquired this amazing T7 Gloster Meteor and will be bringing her Stateside as soon as possible. She is the second oldest flying jet in the world, and the oldest flying jet trainer.”
WHAM is a ‘non-profit flying jet warbird museum…that aims to rescue Cold War era jets, bring them to flight status, and use them to inspire the youth of America at airshows in the Midwest’. WHAM’S large fleet already includes examples of the HA-200 Saeta, Magister, Vampire, MIG-15, MIG-17, Delfin, Aero L-39 and Temco Super Pinto.
Meteor T7 WA591 was built at Hucclecote in 1949 and served as a pilot trainer at various bases including Stradishall, Driffield, Finningley and the College of Air Warfare at Manby. It became a ground instruction airframe at St Athan but ended its military service as gate guardian of RAF Woodvale. WA591 was rescued for preservation in 1995 by Meteor Flight who spent many years in cramped conditions at Yatesbury restoring it. The aircraft took to the skies again at Kemble in 2011 and subsequently joined the CAF fleet at Coventry. Report: Tim Badham
News update: it was revealed on 4 April, just as this edition went to press, that WHAM Director, Marty Tibbits had not only purchased the Meteor T7 but also the airworthy EX-CAF Meteor NF11 WM167 and the Venom FB50S WK436 and WR470 at Coventry.
Sole airworthy post-war Anson T21 G-VROE
Heading for Detroit, Meteor T7 WA591