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HIGH FLYERS AT SYWELL CLASSIC: PISTONS & PROPS

171

AIR DISPLAYS CONFIRMED FOR 2018:

 

Supermarine Spitfire TIX ML407

•Supermarine Spitfire TIX ML407 “The Grace Spitfire”

•Year of Manufacture: 1944

•Powered by: Rolls Royce Merlin

•Colour Scheme: 485 Squadron RAF “OU-V”

This aircraft is credited with shooting down the first enemy aircraft on “D-Day”

 

This two seat dual-control Spitfire is one of very few surviving Spitfires which utilises nearly all of its original components as it left the Castle Bromwich factory in 1944.

 

The Grace Spitfire ML407 was originally built in early 1944 as a Mark IX single seat fighter and served in the front line of battle throughout the last twelve months of World War II with six different allied Squadrons of the RAF’s 2nd Tactical Air Force. ML407 flew a total of 176 operational combat sorties amassing an impressive total 319 combat hours. ML407 was delivered to 485 New Zealand Squadron on the 29th April 1944 by Jackie Moggridge, one of the top lady pilots of the Air Transport Auxilllary (ATA), where it became the ‘mount’ of Flying Officer Johnnie Houlton DFC who was accredited, whilst flying ML407, with the first enemy aircraft shot down over the Normandy beachhead on 6th June D-Day.

 

In December 1944 ML407 was transferred to 341 Free French Squadron to Sergeant Jean Dabos. It then moved on through various Allied Squadrons – 308 (Polish) Squadron, 349 (Belgian) Squadron, 345 (Free French) Squadron, 332 (Norwegian) Squadron and back to 485 (New Zealand) Squadron at the cessation of hostilities. ML407 then went into a Maintenance Unit where it remained until being selected by Vickers-Armstrongs at Eastleigh, Southampton for conversion in 1950 to the two seat configuration for the Irish Air Corps as an advanced trainer. ML407 changed to 162 and flew to Baldonnel. Flying a further 762 with the IAC the aircraft was put into storage and offered for sale in 1968. Sir William Roberts eventually bought the aircraft for his museum in Strathallan.

 

Design Engineer Nick Grace, having always wanted to fly a Spitfire, acquired ML407 in late 1979 from the Strathallan Museum and spent five years meticulously restoring the Spitfire to flying condition in it’s two seat configuration incorporating what is known as the ‘Grace in line Canopy Conversion’ which Nick designed to remove the bulbous rear canopy to a more streamlined version to keep the original line of the Spitfire intact.

 

Flying at midday on both show days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North American TF-51D Mustang

•North American TF-51D Dual-Control Mustang

•Year of Manufacture: 1945

•Powered by: Packard Merlin V-1650-7

•Colour Scheme: USAF WWII

This dual-control P-51 Mustang is the only of its type in the UK.

Built too late to see combat service in World War Two, P-51D 44-84847 was one of the last Mustangs constructed at North American Aviation’s Dallas, Texas, plant. Details of her post war service career are limited, but there is photographic evidence, from September 1951, of her serving with the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Kimpo, South Korea, during the Korean War.

By late 1951 the 45th TRS were replacing their aging Mustangs with RF-80 Shooting Star jets, and so 44-84847 was shipped back the US to serve with the Air National Guard until around 1956. Around this time she slips off the radar until January 1999 when she re-appears in North Dakota as a restoration project. The airframe moved to Chino, California for a full restoration with the decision made to modify her to two-seat TF-51D configuration.

 

Flying at midday on both show days.

Please note: All displays and appearances are subject to aircraft serviceability and weather conditions on event days

mustang spitfire

 

 

Lancaster Flyover

 

The Avro Lancaster is the most famous and successful RAF heavy bomber of World War Two. It is a legend that lives on today and the contribution made by the aircraft and its crews to the freedom of our nation will, hopefully, never be forgotten. The prototype Lancaster took to the air for its first flight from Ringway, Manchester, on 9th January 1941; the first production Lancaster flew later that year on 31st October.

 

PA474 is one of only two Lancaster aircraft remaining in airworthy condition out of the 7,377 that were built (the other is in Canada with the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at Hamilton, Ontario). PA474 rolled off the production line at the Vickers Armstrong Broughton factory at Hawarden Airfield, Chester on 31 May 1945, just after the war in Europe came to an end, so she was prepared for use against the Japanese as part of the ‘Tiger Force’. However, the war in the Far East also ended before she was deployed and she did not take part in any hostilities.

 

Flying on Sunday at 14:40pm.

A World War II Lancaster bomber aircraft