Battle of Britain Memorial Flight unveils new Spitfire
While work continues to locate and unearth the potential squadron of Spitfires buried in Burma, another example has rejoined the airworthy ranks thanks to the tireless (and less reported) efforts of a group of volunteers.
Spitfire TE311 is of a similar vintage to those supposedly languishing beneath the Burmese jungle, being also a late model Griffon-engined MkXVI. Built in 1945, however, it was just too late to see action and spent the following nine years as a training/display aircraft before being largely forgotten about.
Now after several years of hard work on the part of some RAF engineers and enthusiasts and with funds raised by the Lincolnshire Lancaster Association (try saying that five times through quick!) TE311 returned to the skies yesterday for what by all accounts was a very successful flight - as you can see!
It bodes well for the however-many Spitfires waiting to be discovered half a world away that there are still so many enthusiasts and experts willing to lend their time in the restoration of one of these marvellous machines. Even if the Burma Spits are found to be in poor condition chances are at least some of them will be salvageable and it is people like these who will hopefully perform the same magic that was worked on TE311.
Both they and the wider public will soon get many chances to see first-hand the fruits of their labours as this newly-restored aeroplane is now on its way to join a very special outfit - no less than the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, where it will become the display's sixth operational Spitfire.
What with the Burma Spitfires and now this MkXIV returning to the skies where she belongs 2012 looks to have been a vintage year for the venerable Spit. Whether singly or by the dozen the increase in the aircraft's population is always welcome and proof of this beautiful machine's enduring popularity and longevity, which has been thoroughly well-earned.