MH434 BACK AS ‘AC-S’

Spitfire IX MH434, wearing freshly applied AC-S codes, taxiing at Duxford on 18 September prior to heading off for its appearance during former owner Sir Adrian Swire’s funeral, with Paul Bonhomme at the controls.
COL POPE

Supermarine Spitfire IX MH434 flew in tribute over the Church of the Holy Rood at Sparsholt, Hampshire on 18 September following the funeral of its former owner, Sir Adrian Swire. Owned today by the Old Flying Machine Company at Duxford, the combat veteran was repainted for the occasion with the AC-S codes it wore while owned by Sir Adrian between February 1972 and May 1983. During Swire’s ownership, ‘434 was usually flown by Neil Williams or Ray Hanna, regarded by many as the greatest of all Spitfire display pilots.

On 7-9 September, MH434 made its customary appearance at the Goodwood Revival, having been among the historic aircraft featured at the inaugural event 20 years earlier. For the first time, the Spitfire was adjudged the winner of the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation Concours d’Elegance, with the Aircraft Restoration Company’s newly restored Westland Lysander (see News, Aeroplane October 2018) in second place.