Spitfire Mk IX TE566

Spitfire Mk IX TE566 Spitfire Mk IX TE566

Spitfire TE 566 was part of an order for 1,884 high-back Mk IX Spitfires for the Vickers Castle Bromwich aircraft factory. The serial number 17-1363 indicates it was in fact constructed at a Leicester shadow factory. It was eventually delivered to 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron as 'DU-A' on 15th June 1945.

Following the end of the 2nd World War, it was passed to the Czech Air Force and flown out to Czechoslovakia to be part of the country's post-war air force. In 1948 it was sold on to the Israeli Air Force, arriving in 1949. Following service there, it was donated to a kibbutz as a children's plaything, before being discovered by Robs Lamplough in 1976, being taken to Duxford whereupon it was sold, along with MJ 730, another ex-Israeli Mk. IX, to Guy Black.

Restoration commenced at Guy's engineering works in Sussex, before overwhelming business obligations required the aircraft's completion to be outsourced, eventually being finished by Historic Flying Ltd. at Audley End, the first flight being in July 1992.

The aircraft was operated by the newly-formed Historic Aircraft Collection before being sold to a new owner in South Africa in 1998, where sadly it crashed fatally in 2002. The wreck remained in storage awaiting, perhaps, another reincarnation.