A ‘Supermarine Spitfire Super Saturday’ at North Weald

Photo by George Land
Aircorps Art Dec 2019


by George Land

 

June 12th, 2021 unexpectedly became a ‘Supermarine Spitfire Super Saturday’ at North Weald’s historic aerodrome thanks to the participation of Aero Legends’ beautiful Spitfire Mk.IX (TD314) and Tr.9 (NH341) and Peter Teichmann’s recently-restored, former Soviet Air Force Mk.IX, PT879.

 

North Weald’s airfield, situated as it is just outside of London, England, is steeped in aviation lore. It began life as a training base for the Royal Flying Corps in 1916, and remained involved with military operations through the end of the 1970s. It served as a pivotal fighter station during the Battle of Britain, and indeed two American-manned Eagle Squadrons (No.71 and No.121) called the base home at various stages of their brief existence. North Weald has been in civilian hands since 1980, but has had an almost continuous presence of airworthy vintage military aircraft on its premises since that time, with the fabled Aces High having been based here during those early years in mufti. Other groups, such as Peter Teichmann’s Hangar 11 collection and the recently-arrived Aero Legends and are now in residence.
A Spitfire Mk VI at North Weald in 1942. Image via Wikipedia
But getting back to this past Saturday, I had simply chosen to go to North Weald for my morning coffee at the Revetment Café situated on the old aerodrome, but this proved to be an excellent choice as Aero Legends were conducting a passenger ride day from their new North Weald facility. Aero Legends has been operating out of Headcorn for a number of years now, but with their owner, Vintage Legends Group, acquiring North Weald Flying Services two years ago, there are exciting developments ahead for this site. These future plans will include a museum, restaurant and workshops, along with a reception centre for passengers and guests. They will offer two-seat Spitfire rides, helicopter rides alongside a Spitfire, and also passenger flights in a de Havilland Tiger Moth and North American AT-6 Texan.
Spitfires on the ramp outside the Revetment Cafe. Photo by George Land
Spitfire Tr.9 NH341
Supermarine Spitfire Tr.9 NH341. This aircraft is mostly new-build, reconstructed as a Tr.9 from the wreck of NH341, an LF Mk.IXe of No.411 (Grizzly Bear) Squadron RCAF which crashed in France on a combat sortie during July 2nd, 1944. Photo by George Land
Spitfire Mk.IX TD314
Supermarine-Vickers Armstrong Spitfire H.F.Mk.lXe, TD314 is marked as FX-P from No.234 (Madras Presidency) when based at RAF Bentwaters. She was one of the very last high-back Spitfire Mk.IXs built, and arrived too late to see combat in WWII. Post war, she served with the South African Air Force, and ended up in a scrapyard, from which her mortal remains were resurrected about ten years ago. Photo by George Land
An added bonus regarding my decision to head to North Weald that day involved Peter Teichmann preparing to fly his newly-restored, former Soviet Air Force Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX to Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire for the opening of the Sywell Aviation Museum; I hoped to see him start off on his flight. Furthermore, as a result of Teichmann needing to get his Spitfire outside, Hangar 11’s P-51D Mustang Tall in the Saddle (44-72035) also had to move outside for the first time this year.
P-51D Tall in the Saddle sitting outside in the sun in front of Hangar 11 for the first time this year, her movement allowing PT879 to come out for Peter Teichmann’s flight to Sywell later that day. Photo by George Land
Supermarine-Vickers Armstrong Spitfire L.F.Mk.lXe PT879. This aircraft was restored from a wreck recovered from Russia, and she is now the only known complete surviving Spitfire which saw service in the Soviet Air Force. She is marked as she likely was originally when serving with the 2nd Squadron, 767th Regiment, 122nd Division, Murmansk Air Defence Force of the Soviet Armed Forces. Photo by George Land
It is clear that North Weald is fast becoming a go-to place, both for locals and aviation enthusiasts, who want a nice jaunt out. With the catering on site and a constant flow of aircraft movements all day, there is a lot on hand to entertain. Indeed, for me at least, Saturday proved to be the best day of the year so far for a coffee trip!


1 Comment

  1. There is a lot of interesting history parked and clown at your airbases.

    Best of luck to call.

    T. Glenn
    USMC retired
    USA

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