Iconic Spitfire to land on Wearside
The most iconic fighter plane ever is winging its way to Wearside.
A replica classic Spitfire has been loaned to the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum (NELSAM) in Washington.
The beautiful single seat World War Two aircraft is on loan from the Spitfire Society, based in Devon. It is undergoing a two month’s of refurbishment by local expert Stuart Abbott of Stu-Art Aviation Furniture. It was chocks away, then transported on a low loader lorry from the museum to the Stu-Art workshop in Gateshead.
When work on the refurbishment is complete, the aircraft will take centre stage in the new combat aviation exhibition at the museum later this year. It will be on display before Battle of Britain Day, which is held annually on the third Sunday in September.
The display will also feature a World War One fighter plane, the Morane-Sauliner Type N, flown by Sunderland flying ace Claude Ridley. There will also be an Argentinian Pucará fighter from the 1982 Falklands conflict.
Museum chair, David Charles, was on hand to supervise the move of the aircraft to the workshop.
He said: “It has been a long term ambition of the museum to add a Spitfire to the exhibits on display. Over the last two years the volunteer run museum staff and members have worked hard to change the focus of the museum. I am particularly pleased that the Spitifire Trust have the confidence to place the aircraft on display in Sunderland.”
The display is expected to be a a hit with visitors from far and wide, with the Spitfire as its star attraction.
Along with the Hawker Hurricane, the Spitfire played a crucial role in the 1940 Battle of Britain, especially in the key conflict of 15 September, which saw the RAF gain victory over the Luftwaffe in the skies above London.
Although it was designed in the 1930s, the plane had a maximum speed of over 350mph.
The North East Land, Sea and Air Museum is located next to the Nissan car factory on the former site of RAF Usworth on Washington Road.
For more information, visit www.nelsam.org.uk