AR213 - Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia, Kemble 2010 ©Nigel Key
Supermarine Spitfire AR213 was built by Westland at Yeovil and delivered to 12 Maintenance Unit (MU) on July 24th 1941. It then went to 57 Operational Training Unit (OTU) on the 31st of July and then transferred to 53 OTU on the 20th February 1943.
It was then sent to 8 MU for storage on the 17th August 1944 until it was struck off charge on the 30th November 1945. Consequently, AR213 was never used in a combat role but did suffer at the hands of fledgling pilots.
AR213 was sold to Group Captain Allen Wheeler on the 10th March 1947 and registered G-AIST who intended to race the aircraft but instead it went into storage.
In 1967 it was brought to flying condition to be used in the film ‘The Battle of Britain’.
The aircraft was then flown by Allen Wheeler at Wycombe Air Park for several years before being sold to The Hon Patrick Lindsay in 1978.
Following Lindsay's death on January 9th 1986, AR213 was sold in April 1989 to Victor Gauntlett, and Peter Livanos at PPS at Booker.
AR213’s flying permit had expired in 2002 and it was decided to completely rebuild AR213 to give it another 20 years of airworthy life, so it underwent an intensive and costly restoration by Personal Plane Services (PPS) to bring the aircraft as close to its original build as possible.
Its first post-restoration flight was on 12th November 2007 from Booker, High Wycombe, still in primer and awaiting a new paint scheme.
AR213 was painted in authentic 57 OTU colours and coded JZ-E, which was the colour scheme of Flight Lieutenant James Harry 'Ginger' Lacey who had shot down more enemy aircraft than anyone else during the Battle of Britain. He was posted to 57 OTU for a rest as an instructor and flew AR213 as his personal aircraft.
Currently residing at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford the aircraft was repainted to represent No. 71 Eagle Squadron which was based at North Weald in 1941 flown by Pilot Officer William Dunn; it wears the 'Eagle' Squadron crest on the nose and XR-D markings of P7308.
It has been temporarily repainted for its role in the new 'Dunkirk' film and has the Squadron code 'LC' and 'R9632' on its side. Owned by Comanche Fighters in Texas but still based in Duxford with The Fighter Collection.
|SPECIFICATION (Mk Ia)|
|Length - 29ft 11in (9.12m)|
|Wingspan - 36ft 10in (11.23m)|
|Height - 11ft 5in (3.48m)|
|Engine - Rolls Royce Merlin III|
|Power - 1,030 Hp|
|Max. Speed - 363 mph (583km/h)|
|Range - 575 mile (925 km)|
|Machine Guns - 8 x 0.303" Browning|