On the move

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS -

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...

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