Redressing the Balance


The population of airworthy Piston Provosts is about to expand, thanks to James Atkinson. He explains to Darren Harbar how his grandfather’s wartime flying has instilled a passion for the type

Provost Preservation’s Cambridgeshire storage facility houses two additional fuselages and a wide array of spares.

Looking back a few decades, several Percival Piston Provosts graced the UK air display circuit. Over time, the numbers dwindled to just two active examples of the classic 1950s RAF trainer, with The Shuttleworth Collection’s XF603 (G-KAPW) and XF690 (G-MOOS) maintaining the type’s presence in UK skies. But that’s all about to change. In the workshops of Audley End, Essex-based restoration firm Vintage Fabrics, a Piston Provost is taking shape and will be joined by a squadron sister aircraft in due course. This resurgence is thanks to James Atkinson, whose Provost Preservation organisation boasts three significant projects and an Aladdin’s cave of spares.

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