VICKERS SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE
HF MK.IX - RR232 / G-BRSF
A SPITFIRE THAT'S BEEN AROUND THE WORLD
BUILT CASTLE BROMWICH, 1943
SOLD TO SOUTH AFRICA, 1948
SHIPPED TO AUSTRALIA, 1976
Built in Castle Bromwich by Vickers Armstrong and delivered to the RAF in October 1944 as an 'HF.IX' high altitude fighter. Allocated to an anti-aircraft co-operation Squadron.
Sold to the South African Air Force (SAAF) in 1948 with designation '5632'. Last flown there by Lt. Ron Beamish of 2 Sqdn and stored derelict at Salt River after being 'ground looped' in 1954.
Bought by Australian collector Peter Sledge in 1976 RR232 was shipped and restored to static display standard, as shown in this picture from c. 1984.
A GREAT BRITISH RESTORATION
Spitfire RR232 finally made it back to Britain in 1986 when purchased by Charles Church, who in turn sold the airframe to Jim Pearce of Sussex Spraying Services. But it was not until 2001 that current owner Martin Phillips bought the aircraft and began in earnest a full restoration to airworthy condition that would take nearly 13 years, having been challenged by friends on his 40th birthday to produce a Spitfire from the single rivet with which they presented him!
With parts having been sourced from myriad locations around the world, this Spitfire is a story in itself of an epic restoration project that saw parts contributed, sold and scavenged from across the globe, and one man's dogged determination to return an iconic fighter to the skies above Britain. Some parts were found very close to home however; one of the wings for example being salvaged from a hedge outside a pub near Exeter. With a fully rebuilt Merlin engine installed and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) happy that all had been done to the highest standards, in December 2012 Spitfire RR232 took to the skies again, becoming the last aircraft to be assembled at Filton Aerodrome (home of Concorde) before its closure for redevelopment.
She is now known as the 'City of Exeter' in honour of a presentation Spitfire donated to the war effort as a result of local fundraising. That aircraft was presented to the Royal Air Force at RAF Westhampnett almost 75 years to the day before RR232 arrived at its present operating base where she flies off the very same grass runways, now known as Goodwood Aerodrome.
ENGINE: ROLLS-ROYCE MERLIN 70
MTOW: 3,402 KG
CRUISE: 180 KTS
VNE (MAX. SPEED): 400 MPH
OUTPUT: 1,350 HP
FUEL: AVGAS 100LL
CAPACITY: 85 GALLONS