Gloster Meteor T.7

The Gloster Meteor T.7 was a two-seat trainer version of the famous Gloster Meteor fighter. Because the transition from the single-engine propeller powered Spitfire or Harvard to the twin-engine jetfighter was considered a too big a step for the inexperienced student pilots, the need arose to obtain a two-seater trainer. In the fifties the Belgian Air Force took on charge large amounts of British and American build jets and specifically for the transition training the Meteor T.7 and the Lockheed T-33A trainers were acquired respectively. A first batch of 3 new-build aircraft (ED1 - ED3) was delivered together with the first Meteor F.4s for the Belgian Air Force. With the introduction of the more advanced Meteor F.8 fighter two batches of respectively 4 (ED4 - ED7 in July 1951) and 5 (ED8 - ED12 in early 1953) former RAF (but unused) aircraft were delivered to boost the training assets. The arrival of the more advanced Meteor F8 also meant that the Meteor F.4 had become obsolete. Twenty of them were converted by Avions Fairey to Meteor T.7-standards (ED13 - ED32) from 1952 onwards. Starting in September 1953 an additional 10 ex-RAF aircraft were supplied (ED33 - ED43). The two-seat Meteor T.7 had a stabilisation problem caused by an inefficient tail. To solve this problem a number of aircraft were modified with the tailsection of the improved Meteor F.8, these aircraft were designated Meteor T.7A or T.7 1/2 (official designation T.7 HTU/High Tail Unit). The majority of the Meteor T.7s were scrapped after their service life, although some of the Meteor T.7 1/2 (some sources quote 4, others 5) aircraft were sold to the Israeli Air Force, were they served until 1970. One of the survivors is currently preserved at the Air Force Museum at Hatzerim, unfortunately no tie-ups to the former Belgian registrations are known.

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