The current issue of FlyPast features a blow-by-blow account of what it’s like to fly in the legendary Grace Spitfire, Tr.IX ML407. However, we are not the only ones to recently take to the air in a Spitfire.
Two veterans who flew bombers in World War Two experienced a flight in a Spitfire on April 19 courtesy of the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar (Fly a Spitfire Ltd).
Fg Off Gerry Abrahams completed 31 ‘ops’ on Lancasters with 75 Squadron before gaining his civil license with BOAC and participating in the Berlin Airlift. He later joined the Royal Auxiliary Air Force’s 622 Squadron, and took part in the Suez campaign. W/O Ron Dearman flew Avro Ansons after D-Day, and in 1944 was posted to Burma with 267 Squadron flying Dakotas.
Despite their extensive experience, it was the first time either man had flown in a Spitfire. Gerry, 94, commented: “After having flown a Lancaster and other four-engined bombers I felt very cramped in that tiny space. However, the speed was fantastic. We could never do that in the big aircraft we flew.”
“I actually felt quite at home,” stated Ron. “Once I saw the instruments it all came back to me. They were not so different from what I was used too. Again it was the speed and the sound of that Merlin engine. That was the flight of my life and I am so grateful to the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar for allowing me to experience it. Not many men aged 93 can say they have just flown in a Spitfire!”
Staff at the Heritage Hangar emphasize that World War Two veterans are always welcome to visit their facility. www.bigginhillheritagehangar.co.uk WITH THANKS TO ROBIN J BROOKS