The Gloster Meteor 

Great Britain
Great Britain

side view front view under view

The Meteor (originally called Thunderbolt, but renamed to avoid confusin with the P-47) was the first Allied turbo-jet fighter to enter service. It was also the only one on Allied side. The Meteor prototype flew 2 years later than that of it's famous German brother, the Messerschmitt me 262. It entered service 1 month after the 262, but is less known because it was "only" the second turbo-jet aircraft in the world te become operational.


Further pictures:

The Gloster Meteor
The Gloster Meteor


Technical data on the Gloster Meteor F.Mk I
Powerplant 2 × Rolls-Royce W.2B/23C Welland I turbojets, rated at 1700 lb st (7.56 kN) dry each Role during war
  • Fighter
  • (Ground) Attack Fighter
Length 41 ft 3 inch Height 13 ft 0 inch
Empty weight 8140 lb Operational weight 13800 lb max
Wing Span 43 ft 0 inch Wing Aspect ratio 4.94
Wing Area 374 sq ft Service ceiling 40000 ft
Maximum speed 415 mph at 10000 ft Cruising speed 385 mph at sea level
Initial climb rate 2,155 ft per min,
Climb to 30,000 ft in 15 min 0 sec
Range 1000 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 300 Imp gal (360,27 US gal) Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns - Cannons 4 × 20 mm Hispano Mk III fixed forward firing in the sides of the nose, 195 rounds each.
Bomb load - Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 1 Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 5 March 1943 Operational Service July 1944 - 1950's
Manufacturer Gloster Aircraft Co. Ltd. Number produced 3886 all (post-war) versions, 20 this version
Metric system
Length 12.57 m Height 3.96 m
Empty weight 3692 kg Operational weight 6260 kg max
Wing Span 13.11 m Wing Aspect ratio 4.94
Wing Area 34.74 m² Service ceiling 12192 m
Maximum speed 668 km/h at 3048 m Cruising speed 620 km/h at sea level
Initial climb rate 657 m per min,
Climb to 9.144 m in 15 min 0 sec
Range 1609 km max
Fuel capacity internal 1.364 liters Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns - Cannons 4 × 20 mm Hispano Mk III fixed forward firing in the sides of the nose, 195 rounds each.
Bomb load - Torpedoes/rockets -

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Gloster Meteor 
Gloster Meteor F.Mk I First Allied turbo-jet aircraft to enter production and service. For details see above.
Number built: 20
Gloster Meteor F.Mk III Improved Mk I, powered by 2 × de Havilland (Halford H-1) Goblin DGn.1 turbojets, rated at 2,300 lb st (10,23 kN) dry each. Other differences are a rearward-sliding and jettisonable canopy, and fuel capacity of 325 Imp gal (390.3 US gal; 1477,5 liters). The middle 180 were G.41D aircraft with Rolls-Royce (Power Jets W.2B/37) Derwent RD.1 turbojets, rated at 2,000 lb st (8,90 kN) dry each and supplied with internal fuel that could be supplemented by 105 Imp gal (126.1 US gal; 477,3 liters) in an optional but non-jettisonable ventral tank. The last 15 were G.41E aircraft with Derwent RD.1 turbojets in longer nacelles. In other respects, the G.41D version of the Meteor F.Mk III was dimensionally identical to the Meteor F.Mk I but differed in details such as its empty weight of 8,810 lb (3.996 kg), max take-off weight of 13,300 lb (6.033 kg), max level speed of 495 mph (797 km/h) at 30,000 ft (9.145 m) declining to 458 mph (737 km/h) at sea level, cruising speed of 350 mph (563 km/h) at optimum altitude, range of 1,340 miles (2156 km), maximum rate of climb at sea level of 3,980 ft (1.213 m) per minute, and service ceiling of 44,000 ft (13.410 m).
Number built: 210
Gloster Meteor F.Mk 3 Post-war redesignation of the Gloster Meteor F.Mk III
Post war Gloster Meteor versions After the war there were many other variants built, starting with the Mk 4, which was powered by 2 × Derwent 5 turbojets, rated at 3,500 lb st (15,68 kN) dry each.
Number built: 3656


The first "kill" scored by a Meteor was a V-1. Within 2 months at least 13 V-1's were destroyed by Meteors. Early 1945 the Meteors were transferred to an airfield in Belgium, where they were mainly used for ground attack duties. It never met the Messerschmitt 262, one would wonder what would have happened then...





© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 9/20/00