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  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 appreciate.

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. 

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