LF363 - Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc, Duxford 2013 ©Nigel Key
The Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc - LF363, first flew on the 1st January 1944 and is believed to be the last Hurricane to enter service in the RAF. It was in service with 63 Squadron and 26 Squadron.
After hostilities, LF363 was spared the scrap yard and used on various station flights and also appeared in films 'Angels one five', 'Reach for the Sky' and 'The Battle of Britain'.
Whilst flying to Jersey in September 1991, LF363 suffered engine problems and had to be diverted to RAF Wittering but on the final approach the aircraft suffered complete engine failure and had to make an emergency landing. The pilot was saved with relative minor injuries (a broken ankle and minor burns) but the aircraft suffered severe damage.
Historic Flying Limited completely rebuilt LF363 and by 1998 it was flying again as part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (B.B.M.F.).
LF363 wore the colour scheme of a Mk I Hurricane of 17 squadron, P3878 'YB-W' which was flown by Flying Office Harold Bird-Wilson at Debden and Tangmere. Harold 'Birdy' Bird-Wilson had previously been badly burned in a pre-war flying accident. Upon his recovery he joined 17 squadron and fought through the 'Battle of France' and the 'Battle of Britain' achieving 6 confirmed kills.
On 24th September 1940, 'Birdy' was shot down by Adolf Galland, his 40th 'kill', and had to bail out. 'Birdy' survived the war and when he retired from the RAF he had reached the rank of Vice Marshall and had been awarded the CBE, DSO, DFC & Bar and the AFC & Bar.
LF363 appeared with the livery of aircraft ‘JX-B’, armed with eight machine gun as flown during the Battle of Britain era.
Since June 2017, LF363's port side is marked up as GN-F, representing Tom Neil and his 249 squadron Hurricane and the starboard side is marked up with SD-A, representing one of the 501 squadron Hurricanes flown by Paul Farnes.
|SPECIFICATION (Mk IIc)|
|Length - 32ft 3in (9.84m)|
|Wingspan - 40ft 0in (12.19m)|
|Height - 13ft 1.5in (4.0m)|
|Engine - R.R. Merlin XX|
|Power - 1,280 Hp|
|Max. Speed - 340mph (547km/h)|
|Range - 460 mile (740km)|
|Machine Guns - 8 x 0.303" Browning|