We’ve given ourselves a problem. Planning the most ambitious Spitfire display ever at Old Buckenham means we’ve not actually got a picture of all three extraordinary machines together at once. That’s the slight issue with doing things for the first time.
It’ll be the tenth time we’ve managed to arrange the ex Ray Hanna Mk IX Spitfire, MH434, the most famous single engined aircraft in existence. A movie star with a roster of credits to shame most actors, this is also the iconic machine which the late, great, Ray Hanna flew down the start finish straight at the first Goodwood Revival reputedly lower than the buildings, flagpoles and other obstacles around it. It’s also the only flying Spitfire to have never been fully restored.
For the second year in succession the Imperial War Museum’s Mk I Spitfire will also be on hand, showing that RJ Mitchell’s masterpiece was just that from the very start. It’s operated by the legendary Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford and their chief pilot is John Romain.
John Romain, MBE, to be precise, an honour bestowed on him and his wife Amanda by The Queen for a modern day act of gratitude which has a rightful place in history. Aside from a lifetime devoted to the preservation of historic aircraft, their honour reflects how John and Amanda used the newly restored Spitfire Mk XI which completes our triumvirate to convey a very simple message in the skies above hospitals all over the UK in 2020. You’ll see what we mean when all three share the same piece of sky and a new piece of history to celebrate Old Buck’s 80 years.
Photos courtesy Paul Johnson, Flightline, Aircraft Restoration Co. & John Allan.