The DH100 Vampire prototype flew in 1943, and the DH115 trainer first flew in 1950. The RNZAF acquired its first jet aircraft (18 FB.52s NZ5721-5738) in 1951 which went into service with 14 SQN. A further 6 T.55s (NZ5701-5706) were purchased in 1952, followed by 8 ex-RAF FB.5s (NZ5750 -5757) in 1953. Another 21 FB.5's (NZ5758-5778) and 5 T.11s (NZ5707-5711) were delivered in 1955/56 to cater for the TAF which was converting from Mustangs to the new jets. At that time 75 SQN was also operating Vampires. In addition 14 SQN operated leased RAF FB.9s along with some T.11s while operating in Cyprus between 1952 and 1955, and for a time following their transfer to Singapore before re-equipping with Venoms.
Many of the Vampires went into storage in the 1957/58 period as the TAF was disbanded, and 14 and 75 SQNs spent periods overseas using leased RAF aircraft. In 1959 14 SQN re-equiped with Canberras, but returned to the Vampire in 1970 after the withdrawal of the Canberra, and prior to the arrival of Strikemasters in 1972. 75 SQN retired its Vampires in 1970 with the arrival of the newer A-4K Skyhawk.
A surprising number of RNZAF Vampire airframes and components still remain. The aircraft (that I know of) are:
A number of components of former RNZAF Vampires are held by John Smith at Mapua (including parts of FB.1 TG443/INST166). An ex-RAF FB.9 (c/n V1043, WR202) used by 14SQN in Singapore was imported by the RNZAF and used as an instructional airframe (INST171). This aircraft is on display at MoTaT (illustrated below).
A number of other Vampires reside in New Zealand. A former Australian DH115 T.35a (c/n 4171 ex A79-649) VH-ICP was imported in 1990 and operated by a New Zealand Warbird Syndicate as ZK-VAM (illustrated below). ZK-VAM was built in Australia in 1959, and served with 25(F)SQN before being sold in 1970, and subsequently restored in 1986. The aircraft has recently moved to Christchurch, after being purchased by John Currie (manager of Garden City Helicopters) and 'The Vampire Syndicate'.
In 1997 Brett Emeny of New Plymouth imported a DH115 T.55, which is now operated as ZK-RVM (illustrated below). Built in 1958 (c/n 985) the aircraft served with the Swiss Air Force as U-1225. Auctioned in March 1991, the aircraft went on the Swiss register as HB-RVM (for H.Weidmann). Today the aircraft is based in New Plymouth and operates as the fictitious NZ5712 in the colours of a 75 SQN aircraft.
Last Text Update:- 22 February, 1999
Last Picture Update:- 27 June, 2003
Remember to let me know if you have a request for an image of a particular part of the aircraft! As of December 10th, 1997 I have some cockpit images - they look kind of grubby, but the cockpit is mostly painted black and I had to push the scanner a little to show any detail. I went back again on January 21st - to photograph the other side of the cockpit (after all that mail). This time I used a 28mm lens, so the pictures show a little more! On November 14th, 1998 I also obtained some Vampire T.55 cockpit images. In addition there are now some markings closeups from T.11 NZ5707.
© 1996-2003 Phillip Treweek, all rights reserved