Spit­fire ups and downs

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS -

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

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