A British auction company is offering what may be the ultimate gift to a pilot.
Eight de Havilland Vampire and Venom military jets are being offered “by tender,” as the British say, which means make offers. The two Vampire trainers, a Vampire fighter and five Venom fighter-bombers can be bought individually or as a collection, according to Gordon Bruce, speaking for H&H Classic Auctions.
Based at Bournemouth, England, the historic jets have been regular performers at air shows all over Europe. Known as the Source Classic Jet Flight, they were collected over a period of time from the Swiss Air Force and assembled into a crack display team by aviation and automobile enthusiast Don Wood. Among their more spectacular appearances was the flyover of HMS Illustrious in 1995, marking the 50th anniversary of the first jet to land on an aircraft carrier.
Aside from the Vampires and Venoms, bidders also can acquire a huge lot of spares, including engines and ground handling equipment, which fills four 40-foot shipping containers.
The Vampire and Venom mark a particularly successful period in British aviation history, according to Bruce. Pilots say they are delightful to fly, combining the power and smoothness of jet propulsion with the simplicity and nimbleness of the Spitfires and Hurricanes that preceded them. “It is very rare for such desirable ex-military aircraft to come to market in operating condition,” Bruce commented.
“These iconic aeroplanes deserve to fly,” added Wood. “Their sale represents a unique opportunity to individual pilots and collectors the world over.”
Complete information, specifications and the official brochure are available from H&H Classic Auctions Ltd. at Classic-Auctions.co.uk or by calling +44-0-1925-730630.
“Viewing can be arranged for interested parties,” Bruce said, temptingly.