Supermarine Spitfire PRXI
(The NHS Spitfire)
Operator: Aircraft Restoration Co.
Year of Manufacture: 1944
Powered by: Rolls Royce Merlin 70
Colour 4 squadron RAF. Photo reconnaissance Blue livery. (Thank U NHS)
The latest aircraft to emerge from the workshop of Historic Flying Ltd (HFL) at Duxford, is Spitfire PRXI PL983/G-PRXI. It wears the wartime Photo reconnaissance Blue livery of its time serving in Europe with 4 squadron before it later passed to 2 squadron in post war occupied Germany. The aircraft was subsequently placed on Contract loan to Vickers-Armstrong who supplied it o the American Air Attaché as a personal transport. Famously raced by wartime Air Transport Auxiliary pilot, Lettice Curtis, it later passed to the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden, who placed it on external static display. A restoration to flying condition was started by a volunteer team, but the collection sold the unfinished aeroplane at auction in April 1983. Purchased by wartime French pilot Roland Frassinet, it became the first Spitfire to be restored by Trent Aero Engineering and made its first flight in July 1984 at East Midlands Airport. Sold to collector, Doug Arnold, it featured in the TV series “Piece of Cake” but saw little air display use. Following Arnold’s death in November 1992, PL983 was placed in dismantled storage until being re-assembled at North Weald prior to sale to Justin Fleming in 1999. Operated by Martin Sargeant, it was overhauled and re-flown, but sadly met with a fatal accident at Rouen in France June 2001. Following the conclusion of the accident investigation board, the severely damaged Spitfire was purchased by Aircraft Restoration Company and moved to Duxford in 2003. A rebuild to flying condition has been ongoing for a number of years at Duxford with the fuselage being reconstructed at Airframe Assemblies on the Isle of Wight. Wings are currently under construction at HFL and the correct to type Rolls Royce Merlin 70 has been obtained and overhauled. A correct wrap around clear view windscreen has been fitted to replace the incorrect fighter type assembly latterly fitted. Following the pioneering fitment of a mock camera installation on the Rolls Royce Spitfire PS853, HFL have incorporated the same lens assembly fitment into the side camera hatch on PL983.
This aircraft went on to become the well known 'Thank U NHS' Spitfire.
The NHS Spitfire story, read more: NHS Spitfire - 80,000 Signatures - Nominate Someone Special (aircraftrestorationcompany.com)
Large image: George Lewis Roamain
Small image: Tad Dippel