The Fundamental Things Apply

Eighty years since the first flight.   Which means it was twenty years ago this summer that I was sitting at Duxford with my late dad watching the Spitfire Diamond Jubilee Airshow.   And what would he have thought about the return of the two Mark 1 Spitfires?   He’d have  loved it.  I read somewhere years ago that there are more airworthy Spitfires now than there were in 1960.  This number must be steadily increasing.

Supermarine Spitfire Ia N3200 (G-CFGJ)
Supermarine Spitfire Ia N3200 (G-CFGJ)
By Alan Wilson from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs, UK
CC BY-SA 2.0 ( via Wikimedia Commons

Personally I always thought there was something exotic about the so-called “low-back” or bubble-canopied mark IX and Mark XVI  Spitfires. You saw them preserved  all over the place. I even took a few pictures of TD248 while it was still on top of a pole at RAF Sealand  in the 1980s.   I never thought I’d see one flying around,  and now we have three, at least since TE311 flies with the BBMF and RW386 is in Sweden.  I was going to include RW382  but I’d forgotten it was restored from low-back to high-back configuration.

Not up a pole any more. Spitfire LFXVIe TD248 flying at Duxford

The influx of Mark XIVs and Mark XVIIIs from India have given us a couple more exotic models.  I followed NH904 (now N114BP formerly G-FIRE) from England in the 1980s to Palm Springs,  California and took its picture in 2010.  It’s painted to look like a Mark 24 Spitfire of 80 Squadron for some reason.   At some point I ought to travel down to Dallas and catch the Mark VIII MT719 since there aren’t many of those around at all.

Spitfire FRXIVe NH 904
Spitfire FRXIVe NH 904 N114BP (formerly G-FIRE) at the Palm Springs Air Museum, June 2010. (Own Photo)

The Seafires have been an amazing addition, and we have somewhere down the line the prospect of EN224, the prototype Spitfire Mark XII, and one of the  Seafire FR46s that Peter Arnold recovered some time  ago also taking to the skies.   Anticipation is a wonderful thing.