Shuttleworth Spitfire fires up

You can almost hear the Rolls- Royce music as Ian Laraman runs up the Merlin 46 in Spitfire AR501 at Old Warden on 25 April.

THE Shuttleworth Collection’s Supermarine Spitfire Vc AR501 had its Rolls-Royce Merlin run for the first time in 12 years at Old Warden on 25 April. Full-time Shuttle worth engineer Ian Laraman — the key individual behind the rebuild — was at the controls, and expressed his relief. “With any engine being tested for the first time you always hope it will run smoothly, and happily today the first engine run couldn’t have gone any better”, he said. “Higher-power runs will now follow, which will give us a better indication of how close we are to flight-testing, but for now hearing this aircraft powered up again after all the work that’s gone into it has just been fantastic!”

On 26 April the coolant systems were due to be flushed out, and checks carried out on the oil filters in advance of further testing of the 1,440hp Merlin 46. The Spitfire last flew in 2005, after which the restoration began.