|Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar Nightshoot - Biggin Hill,
Kent, 15th November 2014
Comment - After visiting the inaugural nightshoot at
Biggin Hill in 2011 I had not ventured back again until this November.
While the price remained the same I have to admit the value for money had
dropped. In 2011 once the airframes were back in the hangar everyone had
the opportunity to sit in a Spitfire (for me it was MkIX MK912) and then we
had a talk and Q&A with warbird pilot Clive Denney. Additionally the pan
was open and so there was the opportunity for a lot more different angles on
the aircraft while this time a rope across the hangar door prevented anyone
from being ‘liveside.’ While I understand this last factor was imposed by
the airfield operators, the lack of the other factors (‘Sit in a Spitfire’
tours are now run separately) did leave me feeling a little disappointed.
Notwithstanding the above, the
opportunity to visit the Heritage Hangar and hear the spit and cackle of
Rolls Royce Merlins on a chilly November night was still something to
The Hangar itself was definitely
bulging with more Spitfires than back in 2011, with Stephen Stead’s MkXVI
TE184 undergoing its annual inspection and MkI X4650 (owned by Tom Friedkin)
and MkXVI RW382 G-PBIX also resident. Three fuselages were in the
restoration queue namely MkV EP122, MkIX LZ842 and MkIX EE602, the last of
which could be flying as early as spring 2015.
In terms of the engine runs we were
treated to Spitfire MkIX TA805 ‘Spirit of Kent,’ Harvard IIB G-CTKL, and
Hurricane MkX AE977. The Hurricane had recently been repainted in the
markings of Mk1 P2921 flown by Pete Brothers of 32 Squadron which was based
at Biggin Hill during the Battle of Britain.
photographs from 2014