An­zac Day ’Spit’ is all ready to let rip

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

The Spit­fire. It was the plane that won The Bat­tle of Bri­tain in World War II. Few other air­craft have such a hold on the imag­i­na­tion.

On An­zac Day, lo­cals around the re­gion will have an­other chance to see the leg­endary war­plane in the air.

Pi­loted by Squadron Leader Sean Per­rett, an in­struc­tor on the Beechcraft Texan 2 trainer at RNZAF Ohakea, Bren­don Deere’s 1944 Su­per­ma­rine Spit­fire Mk IX, will be pay­ing 15 re­gional cen­tres a fly­ing visit.

‘‘It’s the eighth year we’ve pre­sented an An­zac Day fly-past,’’ Bren­don says. ‘‘Last year it was with the Grum­man Avenger, and the year be­fore that we flew the Grum­man, the North Amer­i­can Har­vard and the Spit­fire in for­ma­tion.

‘‘This time it’ll just be the Spit­fire, but we’ve added a few cen­tres to the sched­ule this year, largely in re­sponse to re­quests from lo­cal RSAs.’’

He says where pos­si­ble the fly­past will co­in­cide with An­zac ser­vices tak­ing place on the ground.

Built in Septem­ber 1944, the plane was one of more than 22,000 Spit­fires that saw ser­vice in WWII.

Af­ter spend­ing 26 years as a Burmese Air Force base ‘gate guardian’, the plane came to New Zealand through an Amer­i­can col­lec­tor in 2001.

Fol­low­ing a full 35,000 man-hour ground-up restora­tion at Feild­ing’s Taonui Aero­drome, the re­fur­bished Spit made its first flight at RNZAF Ohakea on March 18, 2009. Pow­ered by a 1600hp Rolls Royce Mer­lin V12, it has a top speed of 750kmh, the plane is based in RNZAF Ohakea’s Big­gin Hill hangar.

The plane’s An­zac Day morn­ing fly -past sched­ule is as fol­lows:

❚ San­son 09:52

❚ Ron­gotea 09:55

❚ Palmer­ston North 10:00

❚ Ash­hurst 10:05

❚ Po­hong­ina 10:09

❚ Apiti 10:15

❚ Hun­ter­ville 10:22

❚ Aramoho Ceme­tery 10:31

❚ Wan­ganui City 10:33

❚ Wan­ganui Air­port 10:34

❚ Mar­ton 10:41

❚ Hal­combe 10:44

❚ Feild­ing 10:47

❚ Bulls 10:50

❚ Ohakea 10:51

To meet CAA Rules, Bren­don says the fly-pasts are con­ducted at a min­i­mum alti­tude of 1000ft over built-up ar­eas.

PHOTO: GAVIN CONROYSUPPLIED

The 1944 Su­per­ma­rine Spit­fire Mk IX based at the Big­gin Hill hangar at RNZAF Ohakea, will fly over the re­gion on An­zac Day to co­in­cide with var­i­ous com­mem­o­ra­tive ser­vices.

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