Spitfire From ‘Great Escape’ About To Be Restored To Flying Condition

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Spitfire From ‘Great Escape’ About To Be Restored To Flying Condition | World War Wings Videos

Spitfire AA810 / Twitter

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Spitfire AA810

Spitfire AA810, known as Sandy’s Spitfire, is an impressive aircraft. She’s the earliest example we have today of a surviving PR.IV Spitfire. She also has quite the history, having flown 14 long-range operation sorties. It’s not often you hear of Spitfires going the distance, but this one would often spend up to 5 hours in the air.

When she crashed with 49 hours and 47 minutes of operational flying, AA810 went down in history as the highest front line houred machine of all surviving MK1s.

Recovery


Recovered in July 2018, she was still in decent shape at about 70% intact. Thanks to snow and a peat bog, even a lot of the rubber fittings were still in good condition. She’s now undergoing a complete restoration and expected to be flying again by 2023!

Sandy And The Great Escape

AA810 had a number of pilots who flew her during their services. But the last pilot to fly her would also never fly another plane.

His name was Alastair Donald McIntosh “Sandy” Gunn. The Flight Lieutenant had learned to fly Spitfires for photo reconnaissance and on March 5, 1942, Sandy was one of six men searching for the elusive Tirpitz.

Experiencing some trouble with the AA810’s engine, Sandy’s attention was focused inside the cockpit when two Bf-109s knocked him out of the sky. He survived, but was captured and sent to Stalug Luft III. Sandy was just the fifth prisoner to arrive and would become a pivotal character in the famous and tragic Great Escape.

Sandy was number 58 to leave the tunnel nicknamed “Harry” that he helped dig. He and Mike Casey, his escape partner, traveled underneath freight trains before being recaptured about 25 miles away from Stettin. Sandy was tragically executed on April 6th after interrogation and his ashes were sent back to the camp. He now rests at the Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in Poznan, Poland.

And if you’re looking for a good read, pick up a newly published copy of Sandy’s Spitfire by Tony Hoskins!

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