View Full Version : Two Naive questions

Dr Jekyll
8th May 2007, 17:52
1) Are organisations such as The Fighter Collection and OFMC simply private collections that use displays to offset the cost? Or do they cover their costs/make a surplus? (I can't believe they make a profit, but well done if they do.)
2) There are at least a couple of Spitfires and one Hurricane still flying that flew in WW2. But how much of the original structure remains? Have the entire aircraft been replaced a bit at a time? If not, which bits are original?

8th May 2007, 18:22
I wonder if airshows even cover the running costs of The Fighter Collection; certainly the capital cost in terms of the aeroplanes and their restoration must be seen as an investment by the owner. And one that he shares with all of us who go to the airshows; much better than an Old Master hanging on a dingy wall and only appreciated by its current owner and his chums... :ok:

I'm pretty certain that most of the Spitfires and Hurricanes around contain at least some original material. The older BoBMF Hurricane LF363 had a serious accident and fire at Wittering a few years back and has arisen, Phoenix-like, from the ashes. How much of the original remains? Dunno.... Spitfires such as P7350, AB910 and MH434 are probably mostly original structurally-wise as they've been mostly well looked after over the years. The ones recovered from airfield gates, Kibbutzes and Orstralian desert are rather less original I'd suggest, but expertly rebuilt none the less.

8th May 2007, 18:32
Where do you draw the line? Define 'original'.

Does it include a complete spar replacement carried out in 1945?

Does it include a new engine fitted six months after the airframe was first assembled back in 1940?

Does it include a new port flap assembly fitted a month after first assembly?

Does it include a replacement ASI fitted after the first air test?

Discuss...... :E

Dr Jekyll
8th May 2007, 19:03
Let me put it this way. If an aircraft is described as having flown in combat in WW2, which bits currently on it (if any) are likely to have been on it during at least one combat flight?

8th May 2007, 20:34
Suppose it depends on the aircraft. I'm guessing here and please, those who know better should jump in and correct me, but for instance, the Hurricane had a lot of fabric covering on the fuselage and control surfaces, after 60 years one would expect that to have been replaced at least once! Guess the same applies to the Gladiator flying out of Shuttleworth. Other aircraft may well have original skins and many original parts. I know that modern military aircraft have a manufactureres plate, rather like a VIN plate that you would find on a car. To me at least, that is the aircraft. It is IMO really irrelevant how much of the rest has been changed, as long as it can be traced. Bit like a sweepers broom really. In all honesty does it really matter as long as artefacts like these aircraft can be kept in a safe airworthy manner to return to their natural element?

9th May 2007, 12:06

I'm definitely with you on this one.

On another historic forum there seems to be any amount of armchair historians arguing about slight innacuracies in the shade of colour schemes or that the latest restoration should be termed a replica because 43.27% of the original structure has been replaced. These characters should get a life. I bet that none of these anoraks have ever helped with any restorations themselves. My teenage son and daughter haven't got a clue about how much of an aircraft is original. They are just over the moon to see and hear these treasures in the air. A good example is the Blenheim. How much of that is original? To see that in the air is a unique experience (I hope it will not be much longer before we see it again). So when we see a FW190 and a Me262 displaying. how many spectators will look away because they are 'only replicas'?

10th May 2007, 12:23
quote above - "The older BoBMF Hurricane LF363 had a serious accident and fire at Wittering a few years back and has arisen, Phoenix-like, from the ashes. How much of the original remains? Dunno.... "

Having helped get LF363 off the airfield at Wittering in 1991, I can definitely tell you that the wings were non-existent, the centre section possibly repairable, the fuselage frame broken and bent but repairable and the engine bulkhead was burnt through, with the engine wrenched off its mounting. Also all the wooden formers fabric were burnt on one side (forgot which) but that must all be regarded as consumable anyway.

I think they say that MH434 is very original, but of course all Spitfires have had to have EVERY magnesium rivet replaced with a modern equivalent. But if it flies and is effectively the real thing, then it doesn't matter.

And think of the "oldest" Tiger Moth G-ACDC. It has crashed so many times - talk about a broom with five replacement heads and three replacement handles!

10th May 2007, 14:23
Kitbag gets my vote on this.

If it looks like a Spitfire, sounds like a Spitfire and flies like a Spitfire,

..it is a Spitfire.

10th May 2007, 18:48
Oh, don't get me wrong, I applaud every return to flight, no matter how much new metal, wood and fabric has been employed in the process! To be honest, even if the only original bit is the dataplate!

Possel, I remember the pic of 363 sitting on the runway - as I recall it still looked more or less like a Hurricane, albeit a rather skeletal and droopy one. For those that don't remember, the Merlin suffered major problems over Stamford, the pilot nursed it to Wittering where he made a wheels up landing, the aircraft by then ablaze - as far as I can remember he unfortunately bust an ankle getting out.

Dakk, I see there is a debate elsewhere about the Lanc's new paint job...! She looks great to me, though whilst on the subject... I have to admit, I have seen several US Spits sporting hideous interpretations of RAF camoflague...

Incidently, now I think about it, didn't a scrap merchant recognise P7350 (the BBMF MK II) as a historic Spitfire and save her from his smelter?



10th May 2007, 19:23
From the BBMF website:

Having survived the War, 'P7' was then sold for scrap to Messrs. John Dale Ltd in 1948 for the princely sum of 25; fortunately the historical significance of the aircraft was recognised and she was generously presented to the RAF museum at Colerne. Restored to flying condition in 1968 for the epic film 'The Battle of Britain', she was presented to the BBMF after filming was completed.

11th May 2007, 22:08
Two naive answers.

Look at some aircraft histories while they were still in service.
"Mk V upgraded to Mk VIII. Re-engined with the new Tigerskin engine, while retaining the original Mk VIII airframe.After a ground collision, the aircraft was returned to service using the wings from SU 159 (squared-off wingtips)".
Aircraft are repaired, overhauled, reskinned, updated, etc. all through their lives. Even before becoming a "historical" aircraft, one can argue about how "original" it is.

I go with Kitbag too. If it looks like a Spitfire, smells like a Spitfire, roars like a Spitfire and flies like a Spitfire, to me it IS a Spitfire.

As to the new Me262s, if even Messerschmitt has agreed to accord them five new Werke Nummer, I no longer would call them replicas, just five more aircraft of the same type, with a few updates and improvements (mostly the engines), so they would be acceptable to fly sixty-plus years on.

There are the "historians" and those who like to see an ancient plane fly again, even if it's a full replica.
Sadly the two will never fully meet....

Dr Jekyll
12th May 2007, 07:51
The reason I asked the original question about 'originality' was simply because the I have heard the claim made that such and such an aircraft 'flew in the battle of Britain' and I was curious to know whether this actually meant anything. Or whether someone had just built a new aircraft round the data plate.

I certainly wasn't suggesting there is anything inferior about using new parts. If anything a new replica that can be flown the way the designers intended gives a better impression of the true nature of the aircraft than a 'genuine' one that has to be nursed in respect to it's age.