Restored Spitfire Fin on Display to Mark 80 Years Since First Flight

This Sunday (17 October) marks 80 years since AA810 first flew from RAF Henley on Thames and to mark the occasion the A810’s fin unit will be on display along with other restored and display items together with information about the restoration.  The event will take place from 10.00-5.00pm in Market Place.

AA810 is the earliest known example of a surviving PR.IV Spitfire and completed 14 long-range operational sorties during the 6 months it was in service. It was built in a secret hangar at RAF Henley (Upper Culham Farm site, off Culham Lane, Wargrave).  With a range some 4 times that of a standard Mk1 Spitfire, AA810 would often spend up to 5 hours in the air with the vast majority over hostile country. The Operational Record Book for 1 PRU shows that AA810 crashed with 49hrs and 47 minutes of operational flying making it the highest front line houred machine of all the surviving flying Mk1s.
When the aircraft was recovered in July 2018 in a Norwegian mountain, some 70% of the aircraft remained intact either at the wreck site or in the immediate local area, making this one of the most substantial recoveries in recent decades. With the site largely covered in snow for the most of the year and what wasn’t covered in snow being submerged in a peat bog, the level of preservation was superb, including a lot of the rubber fittings.
The aircraft is now undergoing a full restoration to flying condition and will incorporate a significant amount of original material. A few elements of the aircraft that are not suitable to be used in an airworthy rebuild are being incorporated into various memorials.
AA810 was flown by a number of different pilots through its operational history. These men differed vastly in their backgrounds and their achievements, but were all united in a common goal flying for the same cause and all exposed to the same risks. Flight Lieutenant Alastair Donald Mackintosh “Sandy” Gunn was at the controls of AA810 on the morning of the 5th March 1942, a mission which proved to be the final flight of AA810 and the beginning of a dramatic and ultimately tragic chapter in Sandy’s life.
Read more about AA810 and Sandy at www.spitfireaa810.co.uk/home

Spitfire Heritage GIN will be with the team with a gin & tonic bar along with their bottled products. They will be collecting for the Sandy Gunn Aerospace Careers Programme Charity – helping young people today into future careers in aerospace.

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