Aircraft

The Man Bringing A Rusty Meteor Back To Life

"I'm hoping that she'll be one of, if not, the best-preserved Meteor in the country."

The Meteor was Britain's first jet fighter and was the only jet aircraft involved in combat operations during the Second World War.

But the jet's rich history was found rusting away in the corner of an airfield by aviation enthusiast Graham Buckle.

Mr Buckle, a truck driver by trade, felt something had to be done to make sure the plane and its memories live on.

"I'm very attached to her, she's an underdog of an aeroplane," he explained.

"It's one of those planes that in a museum people just go "meh" and go past it and she deserves better than that, she deserves to be recognised for what she is.

"She is a funny looking thing... she's got a face only a mother could love!"

Mr Buckle inspecting the aircraft's electrics.
Graham Buckle inspecting the aircraft's electrics.

The N14 Meteor was the last night fighter, entering service in 1954 before being replaced just two years later.

Mr Buckle's plane is one of only 100 that were made and is now hoping to make sure it is the only remaining one working in the country. 

"If all the pieces of the jigsaw fall into place, then we'll have a taxi-able Meteor and she'll be the only taxi-able N14 you can see in the country," Mr Buckle said.

"That's what we'd like to do with her - if nothing else she'll be preserved with various working systems and she'll survive and be kept.

"I'm hoping that she'll be one of, if not, the best-preserved Meteor in the country."

How the aircraft was found by Mr Buckle.
How the aircraft was found by Mr Buckle.

For now, Mr Buckle still has some way to go.

Although much of the aircraft has been renovated, she is still in need of an underwing motor, an engine and fuel pumps. 

As expected with a vintage plane, finding parts is not an easy task as is the paperwork.

Mr Buckle, who has been restoring the plane for three years, is hoping to find the Form 700, the airframe logbook which gives the aircraft's full-service history.

The only thing he knows, it is that it was completed whilst the aircraft was at RAF Leeming. 

 

Watch: is the Meteor the RAF's top warplane?