AB910 - Engine Runs at Duxford!

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She looks superb! I'm so happy to see her looking like a Vb again. Great photo too!

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The colour scheme layout is correct to the photo's supplied from Tony Coopers personal archive. You really can't get it much more accurate than that and it was a joy for me to have such material to work with. The font style for the serial number is based on the style prevalent on many "AB" series aeroplanes at the time. So that is correct to "AB" series but different to Tony Cooper's aeroplane. There are always compromises and difficult decisions to make when you have the responsibility of making such decisions and the boundaries of accuracy can become vague. The font style was my decision and it is correct and incorrect. So I am both wrong and right depending on how you wish to see it! The artwork is directly copied from the two surviving images of the name "PeterJohn I". It was scanned, flattened out, drawn and then the original over-laid onto the drawn version and the drawn version tweaked to take in the original artists stylisations of the font. The wing "invasion stripe" measurement point was set using an "out of the cockpit" shot taken by Cooper on D-Day. They are straight edged because that is what the client required. The exhaust stacks are new and are as desired by BBMF. However for the Tony Cooper aeroplane on the date period represented they are actually incorrect. The surviving photos show it having individual ejector stacks rather than the new Siamese ones now fitted.

Roobarb

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Did she already have the "ejector"-type exhausts fitted before the overhaul, or are they new too..... ?

There was a time when most (all?) of the then airworthy BBMF Merlin Spits had stub exhausts whether correct for the mark or not... good to see that they have progressively been made ever more representative of their "time" .

Looks lovely doesn't she, can't wait to see her back on the display circuit. Well done to all involved.

The exhaust ejectors may be new, but it already had that design of exhaust when it flew in the colours of Jan Zumbach of 303 Squadron.

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Thanks to all for the additional snippets of info!

I believe Mark12 has posted the images he mentions of Tony Cooper's aircraft either here, or on another site.

As for the exhausts, since BBMF started using the siamese ones, it seems that in past seasons, they swap them between these and the individual ejector type on the 'Baby' Spits and Hurricanes.

Cheers

Paul

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That looks super! Like others I'm glad to see it back with the three-blader :)

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My thanks to the many responses to my post re invasion stripes. Live and learn!

Regards

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It looks really good. Well done to the team that did all the work.
I have a question for the Spitfire experts. When was the last time AB910 flew with a three blade prop?

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My friend has an 80s print of her with LF363 and she has a 4 blader - was it put on following the 1977 accident?

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There are pictures of AB910 taken in the 60's with a 4 blade prop .
Certainly looks good , hope to catch it on the ground somewhere.

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Did she have a 3 blade for Battle of Britain?

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I think I have pretty much answered my own question. Just checked in Spitfire Survivors (should have looked there first) A four blader was fitted in May 1950, and every picture of it since then shows it with a four blader, so early 1950 seems like a good bet.

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[ATTACH=CONFIG]234972[/ATTACH]Thats when she was still owned by Vickers? She had longer exhausts too.

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Profile picture for user DazDaMan

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Wow! That's something I've genuinely never seen before!

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The font style for the serial number is based on the style prevalent on many "AB" series aeroplanes at the time. So that is correct to "AB" series but different to Tony Cooper's aeroplane.

Why would you elect to duplicate the font style which was prevalent on other Spitfires in the same serial range rather than the font style of the specific airplane you were trying to duplicate? Not being critical or argumentative at all, I am truly interested in the reasoning behind the decision.

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The font style is not clear or complete and only very slightly visible on the Tony Cooper picture. Do you have any better material of her?

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The font style is not clear or complete and only very slightly visible on the Tony Cooper picture. Do you have any better material of her?

Ah, lack of documentation! Now it makes more sense, thank you. As a scale model aircraft designer and competitor I can certainly relate. Wish I could offer you something but, alas, I am afraid I cannot.

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[QUOTE=Spitnut;2199607]AB910 with a three blade prop at Culdrose 1977,

Thank you very much for posting that Spitnut. Just shows how you can think you know something and still be wrong. Of course its 4 blader was damaged in the landing accident at Duxford in 76. I wonder is it borrowed off P7350 or another one. It would be interesting to see what prop it had on that fateful day in Switzerland. Does anyone have a picture?

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I wondered if they swapped it off the Hurricane, and the Hurricane had to fly with a 4 blade for a while?

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I first saw AB910 at the Wisley RaES Garden Party on July 15th 1956 when Jeffrey Quill flew it 'against' Bill Bedford in Hawker’s Last of the Many Hurricane from their heritage collection. It was unrehearsed – as Bill Bedford told me some years later and he also thought possibly it was the first of many occasions they did so.

My late father then worked for Vickers Armstrongs at Wisley where AB910 was then kept handy for JKQ who was then working four miles away at Brooklands. Later that afternoon Dad introduced me to Arthur Luscombe who had been tasked with rectifing the accident damage and largely on his own rebuilt it for Vickers at Supermarine's Long Marston works. My father was then, apparently, the last Vickers Wisley & Brooklands employee to then have a current, fabric covered surface 'inspection ticket' to check and confirm the airworthiness of the surfaces hence previous contacts with Arthur.

I recall Arthur saying to us that the work he did at Long Marston was frustrating. He couldn't find a correct mark of Merlin anywhere and nor could the manufacturer, a three bladed propeller was impossible. Quite a number of other details including replacement exhaust manifolds were difficult and the ones he found constantly burned through! Everything had to be “worked around”. Remember this was 1954 -1955. The Directors had also insisted that it should be in a camouflaged livery but as “Spitfire Survivors Vol. 1 rightly says it was crude and in fact was made much worse because it was a very high gloss finish “to assist with the maintenance”.

Arthur previously had been the Ground Engineer at Chilbolton in charge of Vickers fleet of ferry aircraft and he was invited to move to Long Marston for this job. I also have a note that the Long Marston Works Inspector a Mr. I D Ashley did the necessary on AB 910 That it did ever fly again was a tribute to Arthur and his perseverance and he also said he had much unofficial help from many other colleagues in Supermarines at Long Marston who were keen to seen any Spitfire take to the air again.
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