Martin Phillips' Spitfire last aircraft at Filton rebuilt by Aerial Museum's John Hart December 2012




Published on Feb 4, 2013

Then we go to Filton Airfield which closed at the end of 2012.
Aircraft Engineer John Hart runs the Aerial Museum and restored a wartime 1944 Mark IX Supermarine Spitfire RR232 G-BRSF back to flying condition, the last aircraft to be made at Filton before BAe Systems closed the airfield to sell the land for housing.
Filton has been synonymous with aviation development since before World War One when the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company set up a flying ground there in 1911.
The firm developed the iconic Bristol Fighter and the airfield was used by the Royal Flying Corps during the war.
Between the wars, the firm became Bristol Aeroplane Company and built aero engines, while Hurricane fighters were based at Filton.
During World War Two, BAC expanded massively, producing the Bristol Blenheim and Beaufighter, two medium-range twin-engine bombers.
Spitfires were also based at the grass airfield for a time following heavy bombing of Bristol.
After the war, Bristol continued to develop planes, by now branching out into commercial aviation and extending the concrete runway to cater for larger airliners.
Filton's crowning glory was arguably its role in the development of Concorde, in the 1960s and 1970s, by now under control of the British Aircraft Corporation. Pictured above is the famous supersonic passenger jet visiting the airfield for the last time in 2003.
In 1977 BAE acquired the airfield and it was recently used to produce the Bae 146 small airliner.
More than 20,000 Spitfires were built in 24 different marks.
They first flew in the RAF in 1938 and were retired by 1957.
One of the proposed names for the fighter was 'The Shrew'.
Its designer RJ Mitchell only lived long enough to see the prototype fly in 1937.
The Mark I fought during the Battle of Britain, reaching speeds of 400mph - while the Mark IX was used over Normandy.
During the mid-1950s, many Mk 22 planes were sold to the Egyptian and Syrian air forces.
Making a propeller to fit a restored plane today costs £55,000.
Fuel costs £500 an hour and the insurance is £50,000 a year.
The only person on the planet who owns a Spitfire with machine guns and cannon that actually fire is Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates who owns a Messerschmidt ME-109 too, also with firing cannon.

Exeter businessman Martin Phillips, 51, who owns the Spitfire, said the expensive and painstaking restoration project had been worth it.
He said: 'To see her take to the skies today has been extraordinary, and for it to happen at the same time as an A380's final visit to Filton, has made this a sad but historic day.
'I think it's a terrible shame that this famous old airfield is to close.'
Former Rolls-Royce engineer John Hart, who has worked as chief engineer on the Spitfire restoration for the last two-and-a-half years, said seeing the Spitfire and the A380 together on the runway that is also still overlooked by Concorde was 'quite a sight' for aviation enthusiasts.
He said: 'It's funny to think the last aeroplane to be put together here at Filton has turned out to be a Spitfire.'
Filton aerodrome, which has one of the longest and widest runways in the country, witnessed the first test flights of Concorde and was where American soldiers injured in D-Day were taken to before being treated at Bristol's Frenchay hospital.
The West Country's aviation industry grew up around the airfield, which developed an international reputation.

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