Aircraft Type: Vickers Armstrong Spitfire FR XIV, G-SPIT
Year of Manufacture: 1944
Powered by: one Rolls Royce Griffon 65 engine
Colour scheme: Tribute to Johnnie Johnson, JEJ
The Rolls-Royce Griffon engine was designed in answer to Royal Naval specifications for an engine capable of generating good power at low altitudes. Concepts for adapting the Spitfire to take the new engine had begun as far back as October 1939; Joseph Smith felt that "The good big 'un will eventually beat the good little 'un." and Ernest Hives of Rolls-Royce thought that the Griffon would be "a second power string for the Spitfire”. The first of the Griffon-engine Spitfires flew on 27 November 1941.
Although the Griffon-engine Spitfires were never produced in the large numbers of the Merlin-engine variants, they were an important part of the Spitfire family and in their later versions, kept the Spitfire at the forefront of piston-engine fighter development.
Built at the end of 1944 at Keevil, this Spitfire Mk XIV was stored by the RAF until early 1945. It was sent, from 33MU at RAF Lyneham, to India where details of whatever service she saw have been lost in the mists of time – and the Royal Indian Air Force records system. She was recovered to England in the early seventies and formed part of a UK collection. The restoration was completed in August of 1992 and the aircraft has been operational ever since.