de Havilland Vampire T Mk 35 A79-616
The Vampire was initially in RAAF service in 1949 as a single-seat fighter. The two-seat trainer version was first ordered in October 1951 to introduce service pilots to jet aircraft. Mainly constructed by de Havilland Aircraft at Bankstown in Sydney, the first dozen fuselages were from British production. The initial order of 36 Vampire trainers was delivered by 1955, however, with the upcoming introduction of jet aircraft to the pilot's course syllabus, an additional 68 Vampire trainers were ordered. Previously, pilots were trained on Tiger Moths and Wirraways, and converted to Vampires at an Operational Training Unit. With the introduction of the Winjeel to replace both of these types and the increasing use of jet aircraft by the RAAF, the Vampire was introduced to the student's syllabus before graduation. In this case the aircraft was operated by No 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia. The first of the new T Mk 35 model trainers entered service in September 1957, and the new training system commenced in early 1958. In 1969, the Vampire was replaced by the Macchi as an advanced trainer. A small number of these aircraft were then operated by No 5 Operational Training Unit during 1970 pending the arrival of two-seat Mirage fighters/trainers.
The Vampire was also operated by the Central Flying School at East Sale to train flying instructors for the RAAF. This unit also used the aircraft in a number of aerobatic teams, including the "Telstars". Another distinction for the type is that the first ejection performed in Australia was from a Vampire trainer. In September 1952, Flying Officer Collins ejected from A79-601, the first production aircraft, prior to its official handover to the RAAF.
The aircraft on display was restored by Maintenance Squadron East Sale in the mid-1990s, and is a composite made from the wings and tail booms of A79-827 and the fuselage pod of A79-616. After display at the RAAF's 75th Anniversary Open Day at East Sale, the aircraft was relocated to Point Cook for display. The aircraft is painted as A79-616, an aircraft operated by Central Flying School, and wears the colours of the "Telstars" aerobatic team.
History of Vampire F Mk 30 A79-375 (Tech Hangar)