Watch in HD
Visitor's to the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Museum's yearly "World War Two Weekend" event would never guess that one of the Star attractions - an airworthy Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVIII (S No SM969) is an ex-Indian Air Force aircraft. The aircraft was flown in by its owner Jim Beasley, and gave an splendid display of aerobatics. This Spitfire is local to Pennsylvania, with its homebase at Coatesville. In a departure from other aircraft, this aircraft was displayed without any ropes cordoning it off.. so visitors could walk straight upto the aircraft, look inside the cockpit, see it ..up CLOSE..
I had captured the start up and taxing on High Definition Video, which can be seen above. Hit the maximise button to see it in all its glory. Watching an ex-IAF Spitfire made my day - and a photo of myself next to it is my now official mugshot on facebook!.
Spitfire SM969 started off with the IAF as HS877 in 1949 (there is a story about it serving in the RIAF Before and getting involved in an accident.. but are now easily disproven). Probably towards the end of 1957, When No.14 Squadron was converting to Hunters and got rid of the Spitfires, this aircraft was flown to Delhi and kept on (semi) permanent display at Western Air Command HQ.
Pic Copyright: Peter Arnold
In 1978, it was one of the numerous Spitfire airframes auctioned off to the West, it was recovered by Haydon-Baylie, and after numerous stops and owners, is currently owned by Jim Beasley Jr , a Vintage aircraft fanatic from Philadelphia - who flies a P-51 and now the Spitfire. (Just in case you were wondering, Jim Beasley is an Attorney, a Medical Doctor and accomplished "Super Lawyer in PA)...
The Spitfire is based out of the airfield at Coatesville, PA, at the Chester County Airport. Thats reason for me to file this post under the "If you go looking for IAF History, you will find it... PA edition".