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.
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.
Spitfire Tr.9 NH341
Spitfire Mk.IX TD314
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.
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!