Hi All, There are a number of people interested in this aircraft and its long-running rebuild to flying condition. This Spitfire is special to me, as I sat in its cockpit, and had my photo taken with it, when it was in the Rolls-Royce hangar at East Midlands Airport in the 1970s/early 1980s. I emailed the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust to ask for an update on progress, and received this reply today: "David, the aeroplane is at least a year from completion.The wings should be delivered in the next few weeks; engine is completed and John Hart and the team are working on the airframe currently. In hindsight, the programme was optimistic - the same team operate the Mk 19. Contact me again in, say, 6 month's time for an update." __________________ Regards, David Eyre
The most beautiful Spitfire I have ever seen - I recall it in blue and silver when it was based at Hucknall and owned by Rolls-Royce. On a low, fast flypast (I think flown by Jeffery Quill but I may be wrong) at an Open Day there (probably 1967) it was absolutely breathtaking and made an impression which is still with me today. Leslie Hunt's 'Veteran and Vintage Aircraft' book of about 1966 has it as the cover photo and records a bit of the history under 'Hucknall', recording that up to 30 July 1964 it had flown 476 hours for Rolls-Royce, much of this on display. In 1968 it was still at Hucknall but I note that by 1974 it was apparently at Castle Donington - still inaccurately painted after the Battle of Britain film.
I received a reply from Ian Craighead, who has taken over the restoration of RM689/G-ALGT:
"there has been only a little visible progress (but things have kept moving on).
We had some problems which meant that the wings have still to be finished and so the completion date is now estimated to be mid to late 2010.
While this seems some way off, it must be remembered that the aircraft is being almost completely rebuilt, there having been little left of the original upon which to base the new airframe. That said, everything original that was deemed to be reuseable was retained and has been restored allowing RM689 to retain her original identity.
As you might expect there isn't a one stop shop to get Spitfire parts and so we are reliant on new manufacture or parts becoming available through the "network".
However, it must be admitted that original estimates of the time for rebuild were optimistic.
The fuselage and tail are nearing completion and the Griffon engine has been installed. I am expecting one wing to be delivered by April 2009 with the other around June/July.
After the wings are fitted the aircraft will start to look more complete, however, there are fuel, hydraulic, electrical and pneumatic systems to be plumbed in and connected. From a personal viewpoint the wings will mark a significant milestone and the finishing post will be almost in sight.
In the meantime our PR XIX Spitfire PS853 continues to fly during the summer months, maintaining our presence in the air for the benefit of local charities and adding that little special touch for our customers.
The [Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust] website is admittedly woefully out of date with respect to the Spitfire and it is one of my missions this year to get it up-to-date and maintained on a regular basis. Your suggestion of 6-monthly updates is feasible. We do occasionally publish some information on Spitfire progress to Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust members and I hope that as completion nears I will be able to report more advanced progress. If you are interested in becoming a Trust member, please let this office know.
I am glad to hear that our Company Spitfires have fans abroad as well as here in the UK."
Came across some pics on another forum when RM689 was painted in the scheme - beautiful!
I know that many of these aircraft are painted to represent and honour those who flew in WWII, but having the odd one in a civvies, like Spencer Flack's Spitfire XIV, does make a nice change. Perhaps Rolls would consider painting her in that scheme again, at least for a while?
They probably do as the supercharger on a Merlin is mechanically connected to the crankshaft. On B-17s the turbocharger is driven by exhaust gas and when you modify the exhaust to bypass the turbo the job is done. Much easier to do.
A note over on Flypast says that a wing has just arrived for the project, I guess these things always slip a little. Sadder rumour from the same post is that RR's Spitfire XIX has a spar problem and is grounded. Hope they can sort that out with minimal fuss/expense.
This is an ineradicable memory for me as I was so close my eyebrows were singed. Pulling out of the loop on a very hot day with loaded tanks to travel to next engagement the plane pancaked with a forward velocity below the stall... After the silence and the screams a pair of Russian Flankers performed slow rolls over the spot. I am so delighted to just discover the phoenix will rise from the ashes again and look forward so much to the day I hear she flies again in honour of all who went before.
I was there also. Right on the flightline and also felt the blast wave of hot air from the explosion.
As he pulled up into and over the top of the loop, it was obvious that the circle would not be big enough to avoid the ground and a few people around me just said "oh no".
A trully shocking thing to happen. What was particularly upsetting was the air show commentator had been going on during the display about how he and the pilot were old mates and were going out for a pint together later that evening etc,etc. When the crash happend he tried to carry on with the emergancy announcements about "please let the crash crews through and dont approach the crash" in a clearly distressed voice until someone else took over.
I also recall the Russian pilots and * seem * to remember they had been taxying out in the distance when the spitfire was displaying and then after a short delay they took off and did their routine ? (is that right ?)
Mk 19 has gone to Duxford for a complete overhaul late last year, so while that is being funded the MK 14 has been put on ice and moved to Derby for storage, will try and scan it for you during the week.
It was very interesting 'stumbling' on this messageboard/network regarding RM689. I too have been keeping an active interest in the progress of this potential re-build since RR began the project and have kept in contact with Ian Craighead. My interest being that David Moore was a relation of my mother's side of our family, originally from Ashbourne, Derbyshire and now living in Dorset.
It is very disappointing, but understandable, that this project has been halted for financial reasons, but hopefully it would be fantastic to see her fly again following that dreadful day at Woodford.