The Rolls-Royce Spitfire, PS853, took to the skies once more after a full overhaul on Tuesday 9 October 2012. The aircraft had just emerged from an extensive refurbishment over the last 23 months at the Aircraft Restoration Company and Historic Flying Limited at Duxford airfield, Cambridgeshire.
All major systems and structures have been dismantled, inspected, repaired and reassembled. Aircraft Restoration’s owner and chief pilot, John Romain, completed his final checklists before taxiing PS853 out to the Duxford main runway for the first flight.
The 36.7 litre, V12 Griffon engine powered Spitfire accelerated smoothly down the runway and lifted off into the air to the delight of the restoration team and Duxford visitors alike.
After a series of preliminary handling checks to assess the feel of the aircraft after such extensive work, John returned to the airfield after 20 minutes and landed with a very satisfied smile on his face. With some minor trim adjustments to the trailing edge of the port aileron and with fuel in the wing tanks, John was ready to take to the air again.
The second flight test explored the aircraft systems further and checks were made for airspeed at a variety of throttle settings. After landing and one last adjustment, the final flight of the day was capped off by some aerobatics to confirm to his team just how well the aircraft had been rebuilt.
With the day’s flight testing over, John Romain declared that PS853 had behaved impeccably throughout and had been a delight to fly, adding that she was “very fast”. The day’s test was also significant in that our Spitfire PRXIX is the 100th aircraft type he has flown.
Our congratulations go to John and his team for their hard work in restoring the Rolls-Royce Spitfire back to as-new condition in 16 Squadron, 2nd Tactical Air Force colours exactly as when first delivered into RAF service in January 1945.