View Full Version : THUMS Spitfires

Genghis the Engineer
29th Aug 2012, 14:03
Researching something else, I've come across references to THUMS: Temperature and Humidity of the Upper Air Masses. These seem to have been instrumented Spitfires operated in the 1950s, providing data direct to the Met Office, and not part of the better known Met Research Flight, then at Farnborough.

Registrations I've found reference to include PS853, PM628, and PM651, and also references to a fatal accident in PM628, and operations from Woodvale.

Does anybody know anything about this - it's new to me, and quite interesting.


29th Aug 2012, 15:16

Not sure if you have access to A History of Royal Air Force WOODVALE published by Merseyside Aviation Society. There are a couple pages in there about the THUM Flight operations. Seem to recall Aeroplane did a Database feature on PR 19s and The THUM Flight was covered in that.

It appears they lost two in fatal accidents, 04 May 52 PM549 stalled on approach to Woodvale, 04 March 54 PM562 forced landed at Pulverbatch, south of Shrewsbury.


Genghis the Engineer
29th Aug 2012, 15:24
Thanks Mike, if I know the document exists, I'm sure I can find it.

Unless you're in the position to scan and email those couple of pages?


29th Aug 2012, 15:54
Three surviving THUM Flight Spitfire XIXs formed the basis of the Battle of Britain Memorial flight when they were retired in 1957 and two, PM631 and PS915, serve with the flight still. The third, PS853, was sold to the late Euan English to finance the rebuild of Hurricane LF363 (I think that was the reason) - Euan sadly died in an accident in his Harvard before getting to fly it. His Estate sold the Spitfire to Rolls Royce who own it still, though it isn't currently flying.