Warbird pilot Brian Smith's Spitfire love affair

The world’s most illustrious airworthy Spitfire, the Old Flying Machine Company’s MkIX MH434, is 80 this year. To mark the occasion, one of its pilots reflects on his privileged association with this outstanding warbird — and the Hanna family

Brian Smith has now been flying MH434 for 37 years, with only short breaks in that timeline.
Brian Smith has now been flying MH434 for 37 years, with only short breaks in that timeline. ALAMY

To claim to have fallen in love with an aeroplane would reasonably be felt somewhat dramatic. However, to view such a machine, given that it has provided a lifetime’s worth of ambition, memories and friendships, one can justify a sense of close affection and partnership.

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