Aviation Historian 30
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With the “clamshell” canopy and revised tail arrangement, this J 33, coded “E”, awaits its next sortie in Sweden. Flygvapnet’s sole nightfighter Wing, F1 had three squadrons, which were the only units to operate the type. Note the pair of North American Sk 16s and a Junkers B 3, as used to train J 33 navigators, in the background.
A rare colour photograph of a J 33, in this case 33008, in the UK before delivery circa 1953-54. The Venoms were painted in the same camouflage colours, Medium Sea Grey and Dark Green, as their Mosquito nightfighter predecessors, with Tre Kronor (Sweden’s three-crowns emblem) roundels applied to the tailbooms and on the upper and lower surfaces of the wings.
Four J 33s were used by civilian organisation Svensk Flygtjanst AB as drone-controllers for Sweden’s Jindivik target-drone programme. Initially retaining Flygvapnet camouflage, the four were ultimately painted in a high-visibilty yellow scheme, seen here applied to SE-DCD. Note the original serial, 33025, on the rear of the boom.
A pre-stage 1 Venom NF.51/J-33 of Sweden's F.1 Wing over central Sweden in 1953. Sixty-two NF.51s were built at Chester.
A dynamic air-to-air photograph emphasising the J 33’s distinctive twinboom planform. Despite the type’s similarity to the Vampire, the Venom’s wing was entirely new, a square-tipped unit of very thin section, with a straight trailing edge and 17-6° sweep on the leading edge.
ALTHOUGH THE J 33 remained fairly unknown outside Sweden, one amazing photograph of it, seen here, made headlines around the world. This dramatic image, taken by Bo Bjernekull, shows the Venom from directly ahead hurtling through what looks like a meteorite belt - actually a snowstorm - at night.
The third Venom NF.51, serial 33003, at the de Havilland factory at Hawarden, near Chester, in May 1953, beside a pair of Swedish Vampire trainers, designated J 28C in Flygvapnet service. The J 33’s original fin/tailplane junction, seen here, incorporated forward-facing "acorn" fairings, but these were later relocated aft of the tailplane.
The Venom was fitted with airbrakes immediately outboard of the tailbooms; they are seen here in the fully open position. Also visible on this J 33 are the wing fences incorporated to eliminate tip stall during low-speed flight. The Venom’s distinctive 75 Imp gal (340lit) tiptanks were the first ever to be fitted to an RAF fighter.
Flygvapnet J 33 serial 33019 takes off at Hawarden during a test flight on July 2, 1953. The Venom was essentially a development of the same company’s Vampire, designed to exploit the de Havilland Ghost turbojet, a scaled-up version of the Vampire’s Goblin, although the various changes made the Venom virtually a new design.
“Smile, please!” - with wheels and flaps down, Venom 33057 poses for the camera during an aerial photography sortie on April 6, 1954. The type’s thin-section wing necessitated a redesign of the original Vampire undercarriage, incorporating mainwheels of larger diameter and thinner section, with single-disc hydraulic brakes.
The cockpit of the two-seat Venom was somewhat “cosy”, especially with the original framed canopy, as seen here. Not fitted with ejection-seats, the J 33 presented a challenge in the event of the crew having to bale out. The proximity of pilot and navigator did, however, create a beneficial environment for close teamwork.
Venom 33017, coded “A”, having come to its final resting place after a belly landing. Interestingly, this J 33 has the original canopy but the revised fin and tailplane arrangement, with the acorn fairings relocated aft of the taiiplane, a modification made to reduce the possibility of tail buffeting at high speed.