A Box of Joy - Christmas in April
This morning, a cold and damp Ottawa April day, our spirits were warmed by the arrival of a sea container full of future dreams and inspiration. Inside the steel gray box from the Aircraft Restoration Company in Duxford was a slightly used Spitfire XIV and a shiny, refurbished and frankly, long overdue Bristol Pegasus radial engine to power our Fairey Swordfish. The engine last saw its mated aircraft more than four years ago and we cannot wait to buckle her down and set in motion the Gray Ghost 2 Swordfish Program.
The Spitfire, serial number RM873, has loads of maple-flavoured Canadian heritage, for pilots of RCAF 402 and 401 Squadrons had flown her in combat ops in Europe at the end of the Second World War. Afterward, she was sold to the Royal Thai Air Force. A more complete history of RM873 can be found in a story we ran last year
. The Griffon-powered, 5-bladed beauty will be restored at Vintage wings of Canada over the next five years and will join our two other Spitfires - The Arnold Roseland Spitfire IX (442 Squadron) and the William Harper Spitfire XVI (421 Squadron). She will wear the markings of Spitfire RM873 YO-W of 401 Squadron RCAF.
Let's take a quick peek at this morning's arrival shall we?
Too big to shake to see if it actually does contain a Pegasus, Vintage Wings staff remove the long awaited Pegasus ... or is it just a Pegasus-jar? Photo by Rob Fleck
Director of Maintenance and Restoration, Andrej Janik (in container) directs the off loading. Photo by Rob Fleck
Oscar Verdugo removes some of her tie-downs prior to lifting her into her new home. Photo by Rob Fleck
A bit of good olde British humour or an insurance necessity, we found this note written on the fuselage of the Spit. Dang, and we were right ready to fire her up and see what she'll do! Photo by Rob Fleck
Andrej Janik inspects the remains of the empennage. Photo by Rob Fleck
Looking more like we had dredged her up from the bottom of the ocean, the hardly recognizable chunks will indeed become a perfectly flying and beautifully Canadian Spitfire XIV in the years ahead. Photo by Rob Fleck
The Spit is forked on to a pallet for moving into the hangar. Photo by Rob Fleck
Not sure why this serial (PM631) is written on the wreckage, for the main fuselage is well known to be from RM873. Perhaps it is another bit of British humour as PM631 is a fully restored Rolls-Royce Griffon-powered Spitfire XIX of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Cheeky Limeys! Photo by Rob Fleck
The beauty of the high-backed Spitfire can clearly be seen here despite the rough condition. Photo by Rob Fleck