AB910 - Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb, Kemble 2009 ©Nigel Key
Supermarine Spitfire AB910 was built at Castle Bromwich and delivered to 222 Squadron, North Weald, on August 22nd 1941.
It subsequently served with 130 Squadron, 133 (Eagle) Squadron at Biggin Hill, 242 Squadron, 416 Squadron (RCAF), No. 3501 Support Unit, 402 Squadron (RCAF), 53 Operational Training Unit at Hibaldstow, 527 Squadron and the RWE, finally going into store at 29 Maintenance Unit on May 30th 1945.
Whilst serving at RAF Hibaldstow Flight Lieutenant Neil Cox DFC was preparing to take-off in rough weather assisted by a WAAF ground crew who sat on the tail to prevent ground looping in the adverse conditions.
This was standard practice and the pilot carried out all necessary checks but he forgot that Margaret was sitting on the tail and he calmly taxied down the runway and took off!
Sensing that the aircraft wasn’t handling correctly Neil turned into the circuit and landed safely with his unexpected passenger much to the relief of onlookers.
On July 14th 1947 AB910 was bought by Group Captain Allen Wheeler who used it mainly for racing as G-AISU. It was sold to Vickers-Armstrong in 1959 and presented to the BBMF on September 15th 1965.
AB910 flies with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) and wears the desert camouflage scheme of the Commanding Officer of 244 Wing, Wing Commander Ian Richard Gleed DFC, from the Tunisian campaign of 1943.
For the 2007 season, AB910 was in 303 (Polish) Squadron markings.
After undergoing a maintenance programme with the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford between 2012 – 2015, it was painted in the colour scheme of a 64 Squadron Spitfire as it would have looked on D-Day with full invasion stripes before being returned to the BBMF.
AB910 was the star of the 2015 display season and continues to delight aviation enthusiasts to this day.
|SPECIFICATION (Mk Vb)|
|Length - 29ft 11in (9.12m)|
|Wingspan - 36ft 10in (11.23m)|
|Height - 11ft 5.5in (3.48m)|
|Engine - Rolls Royce Merlin|
|Power - 1,470 Hp|
|Max. Speed - 371 mph (597 km/h)|
|Range - 470 mile (756 km)|
|Cannon - 2 x 20mm Hispano|
|Machine Guns - 4 x 0.303" Browning|