PT879 MK IX (in restoration) The Russian Spitfire
MK IX Supermarine Spitfire PT879 will be the latest addition to the Hangar 11 Collection when completed, hopefully in 2020. We are all pretty excited about her, as she will be the very first Spitfire to return from Russia, having been consigned as part of the wartime ‘Lend Lease‘ process to the Russian Airforce.
She left the Vickers Armstrongs factory at Castle Bromwich on 4th August 1944 and was shipped via Murmansk to the 2nd squadron, 767th Regiment, 122nd Division of the Russian Airforce, a Spitfire Squadron. She crashed during a dogfight in Spring 1945 with just 29 hours on the airframe and was recovered off the Tundra as a complete aircraft by a capitalist -socialist farmer who must have realised that she would perhaps have value in time.
Roll forward to 1998 a full half a century, she was located and brought out of Russia by ‘Mr Spitfire ‘ himself, Peter Monk, he tells a great story of how he visited Murmansk in 1998, spending three weeks negotiating with some rather ‘interesting ‘ characters but thankfully being successful in purchasing her. The aircraft then returning to the UK by a circuitous route in 1998 she was then acquired by Angie Soper, well known display pilot later that year. A complete although crashed aircraft, we have the fuselage, large sections of the wings, complete engine, parts of the hub and prop, this lot fill a 20 foot container! A huge number of her original parts were used in the restoration of the airframe, some 500 plus from the actual aircraft in her renovated fuselage. The wings will similarly be very original and comprise the core components of the original wings.
The completed fuselage is now in Hangar 11 and we are now progressing with the wing restoration, plus engine prop and other major components. The restoration will encompass electrics, hydraulics, pneumatics, instrumentation. 90% of the systems in a Spitfire are in the fuselage. Her wings will be overhauled in the meantime, again using hundreds of original parts from the aircraft itself.
Presentation and colour scheme will be as accurate as all our other aircraft, especially considering we have the original wings and fuselage at Hangar 11 as the prime reference!!
She will be brilliant, a very special restoration and addition to the Hangar 11 Collection.
To see more images of the aircraft, click here.