Spitfire ups and downs
There has been good news recently for one UK Spitfire operator but a minor setback for another. D-day veteran Spitfire T9 MJ772/ G-AVAV flew again on 27 February 2019 after restoration by The Spitfire Company (Biggin Hill). The former RAF fighter, Irish Air Corps two-seat trainer and Battle of Britain (1968) film Spitfire, now owned by Warbird Experiences Ltd, had its engine fail on takeoff from Woodchurch on 7 September 2015. Pilot Rob Davies walked away unharmed but MJ772 was substantially damaged. It has now been fully repaired and had its No 340 Sqn GW-A code and invasion stripes reapplied for the season ahead. Warbird Experiences’ other two-seat Spitfire, T9 MJ627/G-BMSB, has also recently had D-day stripes painted on, giving the Biggin-based outfit two Normandymarked aircraft available for passenger flights in this D-day 75th anniversary year.
The Aircraft Restoration Company’s Spitfire T9 PT462/G-CTIX made a wheels-up landing at Denham Aerodrome on 27 February. Neither the pilot nor co-pilot was injured. The damage to PT462 was significant but, transported back to ARC at Duxford, repairs began just days later. Its Merlin engine is being replaced by a ‘new’ one on overhaul with Eyetech Engineering, while Skycraft Services Ltd is renewing the propeller. Historic Flying Ltd is repairing the airframe damage which includes the port wing’s innermost rib (Rib 1) and the lower firewall, requiring Frame 5’s removal to rectify.
PT462 taxies out at Duxford for its ill-fated flight to Denham on 27 Feb
ABOVE: Warbird Experiences has two invasion-striped Spitfires to celebrate D-day 75: newly-flown MJ772...
BELOW: ...and freshly-painted T9 MJ627, both based at Biggin Hill