Gloster Meteor: special one-of-a-kind aircraft and unbuilt variants


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12 April 2008
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Hi all.
I've found a photo of Gloster " Meteor F 4 -RA 490"
with F2/4 metrovic Beryl engine.
What is know about this plane ?
Hi Toura

The RA490 was a trials aircraft ( Flying test bed ) for the Metropolitan-Vickers F.2/4
Beryl axial-flow turbojet engines , powerplant for the Saunders-Roe SRA-1.
Westland Aircraft also installed two Rolls-Royce Nene engines fitted with jet deflectors.


Source : The Gloster Meteor Edward Shacklady , 1962
A variety of Meteors were used as engine test beds (usually flying) including the following;

d.H. Goblin
RR Welland
RR Derwent
RR Trent (turboprop)
RR Nene in larger and extended nacelles
RR Avon in long nacelles
RR Soar
Metrovick F.2 in underslung nacelles
Metrovick F.2/4 Beryl in normal nacelles
Armstrong-Siddeley Sapphire in lengthened nacelles

Maybe more

As far as I know, RA 490 was fitted with Beryls for climb tests (10,000ft in 55s) and then used Nenes for jet deflection trials.
hi Swallow and Red admiral
Thank you for your prompt answers
Dear Justo
Thanks for the three view and also for details of engines.
Thanks. bye
Hi Miranda

The Metrovick Beryl axial - flow Meteor serialled RA-490 ,
was later replaced with Rolls-Royce Nenes ( Jet Deflection units ).
The RA-490 became a STOL Meteor and a forebar of the Hawker
Kestrel .
The airframe was modified , a F.Mk.8 tail and end plate fins on the tailplane.

Source : Profile publucations - The Gloster Meteor F.IV ( J.J.Partrige )

hi Shwalow.
I never see something about this plane.i'm curious !
but i've see a little drawing of a model with the
reference "FR 9 with vertical engine"
It's a Meteor which has,with the normal engines
a third engine
and an air intake behind the cockpit ???
Is this true
Dear Justo.
Very, very interesting, I thank you very much.
I've never see this.
My little drawing seems to be the VZ 608 but here I'm sure
that this is true plane !
I've been trying to find photos of the elusive first Gloster Meteor F.1, which carried serial number EE210. This aircraft was traded with USAAF in exchange for a Bell XP-59 Airacomet. All I could find was this color profile... Can anyone help?


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From my P-59 book published by Ginter Books. -SP


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Fantastic! Now we need the "other" part of the RAF/USAAF deal... Oh, here it is! Look at post below.
EE210/G, the very first production Meteor F Mk.1, was not actually "traded" for an Airacomet. Rather, it was a mutual evaluation process. The aircraft was dispatched to the USA after making its first flight on January 12, 1944, being flown again at Muroc Flight Test Base in California on April 15. It was returned to England after being slightly damaged, and was later used for trials at RAE Farnborough.

Source: Gloster Meteor - Britain's Celebrated First-Generation Jet, by Phil Buttler and Tony Buttler, Aerofax


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Image from the Air Force Flight Test Center History Office.


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Air Enthusiast Sep/Oct 1996 had an article "Meteor Hopefuls - Rethinking the Gloster Meteor" on Gloster Meteor developments written by James Goulding with several drawings of advanced Meteor developments including Avon engined ones.
From Meteor by Bryan Philpott


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Some details on the A.W. developments of the NF.11, these match the images GTX posted earlier.

A.W.60 NF.11 development with two AS Sapphire engines
A.W.61 NF.11 development with two RR Nene engines
A.W.62 NF.11 development with two DH Goblin engines for the Swedish Air Force
A.W.63 NF.11 development with APQ-63 radar
A.W.64 NF.11 development with side-by-side seating and tip-tanks

Bristol in February 1955 drew up a blown-flap testbed conversion of the Meteor with four Turbomeca Palouste in the wingtips which would blow air through a 0.04in (1.02mm) slot on the outboard flaps. Plain inboard flaps would be fitted and the ability to droop the ailerons added. WA546 was allocated for conversion but the work was never carried out. I don't know what, if any, designation Bristol applied. Nothing in the Bristol designation list seems to cover this aircraft.

Source: Tony Buttler, Gloster Meteor Nightfighter Database, 'Aeroplane Monthly', November 2015
"British Military Test and Evaluation Aircraft: The Golden Years 1945-1975" by Malcolm V. Lowe is filled with experimental and one-off Meteors.

Some of them are:

EE227/G: originally featuring a cut down tail, later tested out RB.50 Trents (The "G" in the registration number stands for "Guard", meaning an armed guard was always present when this aircraft was on the ground)

EE348: radar testbed

RA490: flew with MetroVick Beryls, later converted to Nene powerplants.

RA435: used to test the Derwent 5s, fitted with afterburners

EE397: used in aerial refuelling trials, later set an endurance record of 12 hours using this system

WD604: testbed for jettisonable wingtip tanks, found to be better than jettisoning underwing tanks, never adopted

VZ442: canopy jettison testbed, flew without canopy

WA982: testbed for Red Hawk, Pink Hawk and Blue Jay

WK935: prone pilot testbed

VW443: drone testbed

WD790: radar and weapons testbed

WD765/5: used at the ETPS

WM373: weapons testbed

Hope that this might help.
Last edited:
hi Shwalow.
I never see something about this plane.i'm curious !
but i've see a little drawing of a model with the
reference "FR 9 with vertical engine"
It's a Meteor which has,with the normal engines
a third engine
and an air intake behind the cockpit ???
Is this true

FR.9 VZ608, RR RB.108 testbed for the Short SC.1, also the first jet fitted with thrust reversers. Survives at the Newark Air Museum, Notts on loan from the RAF Museum and is the last surviving FR.9 variant, too.


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...And my personal favourite Meteor testbed, Ferranti's Meteor NF.14 G-ARCX began life as NF.11 WM261 and was progressively modified through the night fighter variants to become the prototype NF.14, before beginning a career as a testbed for radio equipment, then a hack with the Ferranti Flying Unit at Turnhouse. The aircraft is preserved at Scotland's National Museum of Flight.


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From Aeroplane monthly 2014/2.


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Aeroplane Monthly ran a series of articles on trials & testbed Meteors Jan/Mar/May/Jul 1996 and Jan 1997

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