On the move
Spitfire PR XI PL983 (G-PRXI) made its first flight in seventeen years at Duxford on 18 May. The former photo reconnaissance aircraft, registered to John Romain’s Propshop Ltd, had been under long-term rebuild by Historic Flying Ltd. Built in 1944, PL983 was retained by Vickers-armstrongs until 1950 when it went to the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden and was on external static display. In 1975, it was moved to Duxford for restoration that was completed at East Midlands Airport where it flew again on 18 July 1984. It spent several years in French warbird collector/pilot Roland Fraissinet’s ownership, passing to Doug Arnold/warbirds of Great Britain in 1987. After Arnold’s death in 1992, PL983 was stored at North Weald until its new owners Justin Fleming and Martin Sargeant moved it to Goudhurst in December 1999, flying again on 8 June 2000. Sadly, a year later, it was written-off at Rouen, France, during a forced landing accident that killed Sargeant. HFL acquired the Spitfire’s wreckage in 2003.
Immaculate F-6D Mustang 44-73822/N51BS Lil Margaret, a surprise addition to Sywell’s warbird scene, had its first flight on 22 May. The P-51-derived photo reconnaissance aircraft had arrived in the UK last November and been reassembled by Air Leasing for a new Italian owner. Lil Margaret flew to Headcorn that same day before arriving at Rob Davies’ airstrip at Woodchurch for further flight-testing. Unfortunately, three days later it crashed in an aborted takeoff. Its owner escaped without serious injury.
DH60G Gipsy Moth G-AAHI is the latest vintage aircraft to join the Real Aeroplane Company’s fleet at Breighton. The almost ninety-years-old biplane tourer arrived at the Yorkshire airfield on 12 May. Issued with its original C of A on 28 May 1929, G-AAHI had numerous pre-war owners that briefly included National Flying Services Ltd at Hanworth (London Air Park). It was stored at Broadway Garage, Bournemouth throughout WWII and into the 1950s but then pulled out to have its fuselage used in Gipsy Moth G-AAWO’S rebuild. G-AAHI’S remaining parts were stored once more until owner Nigel Reid started to rebuild it in June 1993. This work was completed some three years later.
ABOVE LEFT: Newlyrestored Spitfire PR XI PL983, here concluding its first flight in 17 years ABOVE RIGHT: F-6D Mustang Lil Margaret flew again at Sywell on 18 May but crashed three days later BELOW: DH60G Moth G-AAHI, seen here at Woburn Abbey, has...