HANGAR 11 ‘RUSSIAN SPITFIRE’

The Hangar 11 Collection based at North Weald comprises four superb airworthy examples of legendary World War 11 fighter aircraft, each with extensive wartime histories.

All these special aircraft are regular participants on the UK and European Airshow scene under the Hangar 11 umbrella, operated by Peter Teichman and a selected few of the finest and most experienced display pilots in the UK.

Peter gives us some history…

Between November 1942 when the first MkV Spitfire was shipped to Russia and June 1945 when the last Mk IX Spitfires were shipped to Murmansk via the North Atlantic convoys, a total of 1328 Spitfires joined Russian squadrons as part of the so called “Lend Lease” scheme.

Of those 1328 Spitfires, (all notated by individual serial number in such publications as “Spitfire International”), all have the comment “Fate unknown” apart from just one. That is PT879, which took to the skies today, 75 years after she was last flown by a young Russian pilot, crashing with just 28.5 hours total time on squadron.

This joyous day brings me to the final chapter that started back in year 2001 when I acquired the whole aircraft, complete with original engine and prop hub, inside a 20ft container on a farm in Essex. She had been recovered from Russia by Peter Monk himself in the mid 1990s and sold to Angie Soper who ultimately sold her to me that day.

So starts a new chapter in the life of this unique Mk IX Spitfire, which it was my dream to restore to the skies, I always said that was my legacy, my promise and today it came to pass. I am emotionally drained, excuse my brevity but it’s been a hell of a day. PT879 will now complete her test schedule and then will be granted her Permit to Fly. At which point, yours truly gets to fly her!

I feel deeply indebted and thankful to a special few of the many people involved in this wonderful project. Peter Monk of course, who was ultimately responsible for saving PT879 & the whole brilliant and talented team at BHHH. Steve Atkin our historian who has ensured that she is presented today as she flew on her last mission in 1945, along with my whole team at Hangar 11, and of course my friends, my lovely and sweet wife Karen and super family who have supported me throughout.

Shots are for your interest, taken by my old mate Darren Harbar.

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