SM969 Spitfire Mk XVIIIe in Markings of 28 Squadron RAF Coded: S
Related Notes by Caz
SM969 a Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVIIIe FR Sub-type was built in mid 1945 and delivered directly to 6 Maintenance Unit (MU) on 30th August 1945. Shipped out to join, on loan the then Royal Indian Air Force (Royal dropped in 1950 when India became a Republic) in 1946. Tragically the Aircraft crashed during an Aerobatics Display on 12th December 1946, killing the Pilot.
There is now a strange twist, it appears the remains returned to the United Kingdom and delivered to to No 47 MU (for a rebuild?) and was then sold to R.J.Parkes, who in turn Sold to back to the Royal Indian Air Force when it was given the serial HS877. It finally ended its career with the now IAF as a Gate Guardian at HQ Western Air Command, Delhi in 1972.
After being retired from Gate Guardian duties HS877 remained in Delhi until recovered by Haydon-Baillie in July 1978, when the Aircraft was returned to the United Kingdom and sold to Doug Arnold to be rebuilt at Blackbushe for the Warbirds of Great Britain. First Post-restoration flight took place on the 12th October 1985, and registered as G-BRAF. Shortly after Doug Arnold's death in late 1992, the Aircraft was sold and shipped to the USA.
Returned to the United Kingdom in April 2006, after being acquired by the The Fighter Collection at Duxford. After Restoration work was apparently completed in early 2008 And the Aircraft was painted in the Markings of 29 Squadron Royal Air Force, Coded S, after which initial Ground Run testing was carried out. Although rolled out to the Duxford Flight Line occasionally, the Aircraft spent most of its time in Duxford's Hangar 2 and was not flown.
In late 2008 SM969 was sold to Jim Beasley an American warbird pilot. After being shipped to the USA and joining the American civil register as N969SM, the Aircraft made its first flight since 1992, on the 21st December 2008 at Chester County Airport in Pennsylvania.
The above Photograph was taken on one of the rare occasions SM969 was rolled out to the Flight Line at Duxford during its time with The Fighter Collection.
Photographed at Duxford 'Flying Legends' on 13th July 2008
For a bullet point summary of SM969 with the RIAF/IAF of history with see:
Supermarine Spitfires - FR.XVIII Survivors - Warbirds of India Website Scroll down to SM969.