Spitfire HF MkIX (CBAF IX 10372 ) G-PMNF (1944)
It was in 1992 that the mortal remains of a Mark 9 Spitfire serialised TA805 returned to the UK after service with the South African Air Force. They initially went into storage in Sussex before being removed to the a company specialising in Spitfire restoration at Sandown on the Isle of Wight. Airframe Assemblies have a sound reputation for very good engineering work and it was to this company that the current owner at that time turned to in order to restore this beautiful Spitfire back to flying condition.
Work on the project began in 1996 and initially consisted of manufacturing the many parts that go to make up a Spitfire fuselage. Much of the original airframe was used in the process thus helping to make the restoration as near as possible to the original aircraft. This work took until August 1997 and with most of the parts ready, assembly in the build fixture commented at the end of the month.
By November new skins had been cut and drilled with this work taking until July 1998 by which time the fuselage looked complete. At this time the company moved to larger premises with the newly completed fuselage travelling a short distance through some narrow streets of Sandown. The next major step was the building of the wings and whilst this took place, some of the systems and cockpit instruments were fitted. Further building of the tailplane took place with the result that by 2002, the fuselage of TA805 was ready to depart from Sandown and travel to Seddlescombe in Sussex before going to ARCO at Duxford for the engine fitting and final assembly. By August 2003 the wings had been fitted and a series of test flights began.
In 2006 the aircraft passed into the hands of Peter Monk who christened the aircraft 'Spirit of Kent' in memory of No.131 (County of Kent) Fighter Squadron which was a squadron of Spitfires purchased by donations sent in by the good people of Kent. In order to thank the citizens, the Air Ministry allowed the name of a Kent town or city to be emblazoned on the fuselage just below the cockpit together with the 'prancing horse of Kent'. This is the flagship aircraft of the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar which is situated on the world famous airfield in Kent. Encompassed within the hangar is The Spitfire Restoration Company (Biggin Hill) Ltd which is actively restoring a further three Spitfires. The collection of flying warbirds includes two Mark 9 Spitfires, a Hurricane, a Harvard and a Piper Cub. It is the intention of the owner to educate the young by bringing parties of schoolchildren to the hangar to see close up the type of aircraft that their forbears flew and maintained. History never got better.
Robin J Brooks, Publicity The Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar.
P3886 Hurricane 1 (CCF/41H8020) G-CHTK (1940)
Built as a Hurricane I by the Canadian Car and Foundry in Spring 1941.
Delivered to the RAF shortly after, it was transferred to the Royal Navy and converted to a Sea Hurricane by July 1942. It was badly damaged in a mid-air collision at RNAS Yeovilton with the airframe being written off and placed in storage. From 1960 till 1970 it remained in storage until the remains were purchased by Jim Pearce of Shoreham in September 1992.
Taken on by Hawker Restorations an indepth restoration to flying condition began during 1994/2000. Registered as G-TWTD, its post restoration flight took place on June 7, 2000 when it was painted in the scheme of Gp Capt Douglas Bader, CO of 242 Squadron in 1940.
Further marked as AE977 LE-D, it became the property of Tom Friedkin/Chino Warbirds Inc in 2001 and sailed to Galveston from Southampton. It returned to the UK and to the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar during 2012 where it joined the ever expanding fleet of warbirds.
Robin J Brooks, Publicity The Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar.
Spitfire LF MkIXc (CBAF IX 1875) G-BRRA (1944)
Built in 1944 at Castle Bromwhich, this MkIXc Supermarine Spitfire is now house at Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar.
Spitfire LF Mk XVIe (CBAF IX 4394) G-MXVI (1945)
Built in 1945, this Mk XVIe Supermarine Spitfire has been based at Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar since 2012.
Spitfire LF Mk XVIe (CBAF IX 4640) G-PBIX (1945)
Built in 1945 and delivered from Castle Bromwich to No.6 MU at Brize Norton on 20th July
No.604 squadron RAuxAF on 1st April 1947, serving until 14th April 1950, when it was retired to No.33 MU Lyneham
Joined No.3 Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit at Exeter (coded “A”) on 11th June, transferring to the Control and Reporting School at Middle Wallop on 17th October
Final retirement came on 14th July 1953, when it flew to No.45 MU at Kinloss, moving on to No.29 MU at High Ercall two weeks later. SOC on 14th December 1954.
Allocated to No.609 squadron at Church Fenton as instructional airframe 7245M (although it was painted as M7245 at some time) on 28th November 1955.
RAF Leconfield, 1957-1973.
Gate guard as RW729/DW-X.
RAF Henlow, 1967-1968.
Used in movie "Battle Of Britain" for static scenes, 1968.
RAF Uxbridge, Apr. 4, 1973-1988.
Displayed on pole.
Tim Routis/Historic Flying Ltd, Cambridge, Aug. 1988-1989.
David Tallichet/MARC, Chino, CA, 1989-1991.
Tim Routis/Historic Flying Ltd, Audley End, July 2, 1991.
Registered as G-XVIA.
First flight July 3, 1991 at Audley End.
Flew as RW382/NG-C.
Military Aircraft Restoration Corp, Chino, CA, 1991-1994.
Bernie F. Jackson, Manitoba, Canada, 1994-1995.
Based in UK, 1991-1995.
Arrived at Audley End to be dismantled for shipment to USA, Feb. 13, 1995.
Thomas F. & Bernie Jackson, Glenbrook, NV, Aug. 21, 1995-1998.
Registered as N382RW.
Crashed in mountain canyon, Blue Canyon, CA, June 3, 1998.
Registered as G-PBIX Pemberton-Billing LLP 2010
Restoration to fly at the Spitfire Company (BigginHill) Ltd. 2011
1st flight 18/09/13 at Biggin Hill, Pilot C.Denney
Spitfire HF Mk IXe (CBAF IX 10492) G-CGYJ (1944)
Built CBAF 1944 with a Merlin 70 fitted
Delivered to 33 MU at Lyneham 30th March 1945
Delivered to 30 MU then 6 MU Brize Norton
Delivered to 183 (Gold Coast) Sqn at Chilbolton 24th June 1945
Delivered to 234 (Madras Presidency) Sqn Bentwaters 26th July 1945
Delivered to 29 MU at High Ercall for disposal, 27th February 1946
Sent to 47 MU RAF Sealand, packed for shipment, leaving Birkenhead on the SS Clan Chattan 23rd April arriving Cape Town 12th May 1948
Delivered to SAAF, May 12, 1948.
South African Metal & Machinery CO, Salt River, Cape Town, circa 1954.
Larry Barnett, Johannesburg, 1969-1972. Recovered hulk.
Pat Swonnell, Vancouver, BC, 1978-1981. Fuselage arrived by ship, Apr. 11, 1979.
Matt Sattler, Carp, Ontario, 1985. Peter Monk Ltd, to UK for restoration, 2009
Registered to Mr Keith Perkins 2011
Restoration to fly at the Spitfire Company (Biggin Hill) Ltd. 2011. First Flight 7.12.13 from Biggin Hill. Pilot Peter Monk
Harvard II CCF3064 G-CTKL (1941)
North American Harvard Mk. IIB G-CTKL (RCAF:3064)
23.07.1941Date completed by the Noorduyn Aircraft company at Cartierville, Montreal.
G-CTKL was the 30th Harvard Mk.IIB to be produced by Noorduyn and unlike the majority of the 3400 Mk.IIB’s that were built by this company for Lend-Lease use, this example and the first 200 machines were supplied directly to the RCAF. G-CTKL is the second oldest Mk.IIB surviving today, the oldest being CF-NDB, which was RCAF 3039, the first Mk.IIB to be built.
05.08.1941Taken on charge by the RCAF
10.08.1941On its delivery flight from Upland to Aylmer, the Harvard suffered aileron lockup over Trenton, where the pilot F/Lt ‘Bitsy” Grant made a precautionary landing there.
??.08.1941Entered service with the 14th Service flying Training School at Aylmer, Ontario, where it served with both A and C flights with the buzz number ‘59’.
21.09.1941Suffered a category ‘C’ groundloop.
08.11.1941Len Morgan who is a regular contributor to America’s FLYING magazine with his ‘Vectors’ column, past his “Wings Test”, at Alymer. That was his final flying examination before he received his wings. After landing his instructor sent him up solo. “Do anything you like!”, he said. The aircraft he flew for the next 40 minutes was RCAF 3064. Even after 55 years, he still remembers that flight.
08.03.1942Taxied into a caravan on the edge of the runway.
25.06.1942Suffered another category ‘C’ accident at R-1 (St. Thomas Relief Field). This time, the Harvard was being flown by a J. Kerman, who allowed the aircraft to strike the ground heavily when landing. Cause of the accident was put down to pilot error.
23.11.1942Yet another Category ‘C’ taxing accident. The Harvard was then placed into storage pending a rebuild.
03.05.1944Transferred to Noorduyn for complete rebuild and overhaul.
20.10.1944Placed into storage.
20.12.1947Transferred to the Canadian Car Foundry Ltd at Cartierville (This company took over Noorduyn’s interests in 1946) for an overhaul.
01.05.1948Transferred to the 1st Flying Training School at Centralia, north of London, Ontario.
15.08.1948Transferred to N. 424 Auxilliary Air Force Squadron at Hamilton, Ontario. Harvard wore the codes ‘BA-?’.
No. 424 Sqn was formed at Hamilton on the 15th April 1946 and the Squadron flew Mustangs in the fighter role until 1st September 1957, when it was re-assigned to a light transport and emergency rescue role and re-equipped with Expeditor and Otter aircraft.
20.12.1952A MN31 Radio Compass was installed, thus making the Harvard a Mk.2A. This was a RCAF only designation and should not be confused with
the Mk.IIA that was built by North American and supplied to Commonwealth countries.
Canadian Mk.2A’s were post-war conversions of standard MK.II’s and IIB’s to armament and radio wireless trained configurations.
15.11.1952Transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy at HCMS Shearwater, Nova scotia. When 3064 was here it would been in service with either VC920 Sqn (reserve) or VT40 Sqn Instrument Flying School and Operational Flying Training school.
??.03.1957Overhauled by Aircraft Industries of St. Johns, Quebec.
11.10.1957Struck off charge.
10.12.1957The first available logbook entry gives the flying hours to date as 7,284.
15.04.1957Taken on charge by the Italian Air Force (AMI) as a T-6H-2M and allocated the serial MM54137. The aircraft was accepted at Venezia.
06.07.1965On charge at Lecce and known to be serving with the Scuola Volo Basico Iniziale Aviogetti by September 1972 at the latest. In 1965 it would have been carried SL-?? Codes; in 1959 these would have been S-3-?? Codes.
??.10.1972On charge at Linate, with the Reparto Volo Regione Aerea No. 2, with the codes RM-12.
14.06.1974On this date, the Harvard made its last flight and was then placed into storage at Bergamo. Total time to date was 9,539 hours. Disposal was handled through the USAF, as this aircraft was supplied to Italy under MDAP.
21.11.1981The Harvard arrived at Southampton docks with three other airframes. These had all been purchased by Robs Lamplough and had been transported through France before being shipped across the Channel. All four machines were stored at Botley in Hampshire, after spending a few weeks at the old Supermarine works at Woolston.
22.04.1983Harvard acquired by Tim Lane and moved to Toller Porcorum, Dorset the following month.
22.11.1983The registration G-BKWZ was originally allocated to the airframe, but this was soon changed to G-CTKL, these being the owners initials.
21.04.1987First engine runs took place at Toller Porcorum. Wings were then detached and the Harvard was towed to Dunkeswell Airfield in Devon for final assembly and preparation for ‘first’ flight. The Harvard was painted to represent a SNJ-# of the US NAVY circa. 1941.
10.06.1987First flight with Norman Lees of the Harvard formation Team at the controls.
08.09.1987Acquired by Jeff A. CARR at Dunkeswell.
1911Acquired by Gavin Keegan at North Weald.
1998Acquired by A.P. Williams.
15.05.2001Acquired by Mike Simpson and based at North Weald.
2003-2004Moved to Rochester, Kent where it was overhauled and repainted by the Medway Aircraft Preservation Society ( MAPS)as FE 788, a Harvard IIB, which had been operated by A & AEE at Boscombe Down from December 1943 until it was struck off and scrapped on 04.09.54.
2011- present dayBased at the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, Biggin Hill.
L4H CUB 11145 G-BMKC (1943)
L-4H Cub 43-29854 is a genuine warbird - it wears a most interesting WW2 colour scheme with the red triangle markings of the USAAC 381st Bomb Group (B17) from USAF Ridgewell, Essex.
Built in 1943, this L-4H Cub has made Biggin Hill its home since 2011.
Spitfire MkIX (CBAF 5056) G-CGZU (1943)
Spitfire MkIX (CBAF 5056) G-CGZU (1943) was restored to fly 2009 onwards by the Spitfire Company (Biggin Hill) Ltd at the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, Biggin Hil, Kent, UK.
Spitfire LF MkIXe (CBAF IX 558) G-JGCA (1945)
Built as TE517 in 1945, she has been under restoration by The Spitfire Company (Biggin Hill) Ltd since 2012.
Spitfire MkIa (6S-75531) G-CGUK (1940)
Spitfire X4650 was built to contract 19713/39 by Vickers Armstrong's (Supermarine) Ltd. at Woolston and first test flown on 23rd October 1940. It was delivered to the RAF on 25th October and into the hands of 24 MU at Ternhill. On 14th November 1940 it was taken on charge by 54 Squadron at Catterick, as a result of the crash on 28th December 1940 Cat.W/FA damaged was recorded and it was struck off charge on 4th January 1941...
Pilot - Sgt Charles Howard Squire RAF (968401), of Wallasey, Cheshire.