Anzac Day ’Spit’ is all ready to let rip
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.
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.