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"Vampire Jet": Arrives in Twin Ports in Preparation for Duluth Airshow

By: WDIO, Taylor Holt | June 26, 2019

The Duluth Airshow is less than a month away and some of the most rare aircraft in the world are already flying into the area in preparation. 

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The De Havilland Vampire Jet will be flying in the show and arrived at the Bong Airport in Superior Wednesday morning.

 The 38-foot-wide jet called "Vampy Too" is 70- year-old British aircraft with a lot to its' name. 

"This is the great, great, grandfather of all military jet aviation in that it did everything first," said Pilot and Airshow performer, Jerry Conley.

It's the world's first single-engine jet fighter, the first jet aircraft the allies produced in World War II, and the list goes on.

"It was the first one to fly to 50,000 feet, the first jet to land on an aircraft carrier, and the first jet to cross the Atlantic. Literally, if anything in our aviation has been done, it started with this," said Conley.

40-year-pilot, Jerry Conley flew it in from Canada Wednesday morning.

"It (the jet) became the frontline fighter for 29 air forces in 1946 and some air forces flew all the way until 1990," said Conley.

Today, there are only a handful left in the world. Conley says that's one thing that makes it so special and what he enjoys most about flying it.

"You have a sense of world history when you are up flying it.The airframe is metal, the fuselage is all wood because that's what they had in World War II so it creeks a little bit. It makes you nervous sometimes, but it's an extremely fun airplane to fly, and very aerobatic," said Conley.  

Full aerobatics is what they'll be showcasing at this year's airshow.

"We'll do 400 mile per hour passes down the runway and things like that. You'll enjoy seeing it, but you can only fly the first thing once," he added.Besides literally flying in history, he says he's looking forward to a few other show favorites this year.

"I love the cheese up here. It's pretty good. Cheese and beer, and I'm all set," Conley said.

The airshow kicks off July 20th.