It’s no secret we love EAA AirVenture. So much to do and see and hear! The recording of incredible video footage and eye-watering pictures happens all day long, but sometimes something rare occurs. This year the Royal Air Force (RAF) celebrated its 100th anniversary. At many airshows, all around the world, warbird tribute flights were conducted to highlight the RAF’s birthday. EAA AirVenture 2018 was no exception. We’re fortunate to be able to bring you this awesome helmet-cam video of the Vintage Wings of Canada’s Spitfire Mk IXe flying one memorable RAF tribute flight. The video was uploaded to YouTube by our good friends at AirshowStuffVideos.
Like so many warbirds th Spitfire flown in the video has a bit of backstory. She is a Spit Mk IXe serial number TE294, and was built by Vickers Armstrong at Castle Bromwich for the RAF. After TE294 was completed on 9 June 1945 she saw service with the RAF’s 39 Maintenance Unit at RAF Colerne located in far western Wiltshire in the south of England. TE294 was powered by a Merlin 70-series engine optimized for high-altitude performance with a two-speed, two-stage supercharger and a Bendix-Stromberg carburetor.
The Spitfire TE294 is painted to represent was also built by Vickers Armstrong at Castle Bromwich. MK304 briefly saw service with 310 Squadron (Czech) before being transferred to 442 Squadron RCAF. The aircraft was flown several times by Flight Lieutenant Arnold Roseland. MK304 was powered by a Merlin 66- the most powerful Merlin engine installed in Spitfires, producing 1,720 horsepower. Roseland flew some 65 combat sorties with 442 Squadron, including a memorable scrap over the Normandy beaches during which “Rosy” Roseland bagged a pair of Focke-Wulf Fw-190 Würger (Shrike) fighters.
Unfortunately only about a month after his engagement over Normandy Roseland lost his life in combat against the Luftwaffe. MK304 was damaged, repaired, and damaged again before the end of September 1944 and soon thereafter retired from RCAF service. TE294 served with 122 Squadron RAF before she too was damaged and sold off to the South African Air Force (SAAF) where she was damaged again and was subsequently stored for decades. In 1999 TE294 was acquired by the Comox Air Force Museum for restoration. In 2013 Vintage Wings of Canada took over the project to restore Spitfire IXe TE294.
BONUS: Here’s a look at what we think may be the same RAF Tribute Flight from the ground. This was also uploaded to YouTube by AirshowStuffVideos. Turn those speakers up (and ignore that pesky PA guy!).