Gloster Meteor F.8
Twin engine fighter aircraft
The Gloster Meteor F.8 was an improved version of the F.4 which incorporated a stretched fuselage with a new tail unit, besides the introduction of an ejection seat. Thanks to a better streamline of its fuselage and much improved air-intakes this version of the Meteor had a slightly higher maximum speed than its predecessors. The Belgian government signed a first order for 23 aircraft with Gloster Aircraft in 1949 (EG-201 - EG-223) followed by a second order for 145 F.8's produced by Fokker in Holland and (EG-1 -EG-145) and five British produced machines (EG-146 - EG-150) delivered through Fokker. Later on Belgian company Fairey (Gosselies) assembled 67 more aircraft (EG-151 - EG-180 and EG-224 - 260). According to some source plans existed to assemble some ten more Meteors at Fairey's (EG-261 - EG-270) but this never materialised. In total no less than 240 Gloster Meteor F.8 fighters served with the Belgian Air Force until replaced by the sleek Hawker Hunter. At the end of 1951 a stunt team was created within the 1st Fighter Wing at Beauvechain airbase which later would be named the "Acrobobs" (leader was Robert "Bobby" Bladt). This team was to lead to the famous "Red Devils" which later performed on Hunter and Fouga. The very last unit to be equipped with the Gloster Meteor F.8 in the Belgian Air Force was the Target Towing Flight (TTF) based at Solenzara airbase on Corsica (France). The unit disbanded on November 8th, 1963 marking the end of the Meteor era in Belgium. Three Meteor F.8's purchased by the company "Cogea Nouvelle" never flew again and remained temporarily stored at Oostende. Most of the Belgian Meteors were scrapped at Brustem and Koksijde.