Roseland Spitfire set to earn its wings

TERRY CHESTER (LEFT) and Jon Ambler annouce the next step for completion of The Roseland Spitfire aircraft last week through Vintage Wings of Canada to allow the Second World War plane to be ready to fly.

TERRY CHESTER (LEFT) and Jon Ambler annouce the next step for completion of The Roseland Spitfire aircraft last week through Vintage Wings of Canada to allow the Second World War plane to be ready to fly.

It’s been in Comox for more than 10 years, and it won’t be much longer until the Roseland (Y2-K) Spitfire will take flight.

Wednesday, representative Terry Chester and Jon Ambler, program manager and volunteer co-ordinator of the Comox Air Force Museum, announced the Second World War plane could take to the skies in late 2015 with help from Vintage Wings of Canada, a non-profit organization based in Gatineau, QC. which collects and restores historically significant aircraft.

“We’re in an exciting transition stage for this aircraft,” said Chester.

The wings for the iconic plane were built in the United Kingdom, and the plane, which has taken residence for years in a hanger on the far side of the Comox Airport, will be moved to the Gatineau facility, explained Ambler.

“The victories were made by the people inside these airplanes. The people don’t last forever, but you can make the airplane last longer, and that’s why it’s being rebuilt. It’s a symbol of what those young men did during the Second World War,” he added.

The reconstruction of the Spitfire has been a popular exhibit at the Comox Air Force Museum since 2000, when the museum used a Heritage Grant to begin the project.

“…With volunteers, with fundraising and we hired an engineer from time to time, (volunteers) worked away. They took those pieces of wreckage …. and gradually started to build the airplane,” said Ambler, and added an analysis was done in 2008 which highlighted the resources were not in Comox to complete the project.

“It was found that the best possible option was to turn the project over to a like-minded organization.”

The project was then assumed by Vintage Wings, and recently, Col. Jim Benninger, 19 Wing Commander, signed an update to the original contract allowing the plane to be moved to Gatineau.

The move will allow technicians to attach the wings, complete test flights, ensure airworthiness and paint the aircraft in its distinctive 442 Squadron colours, featuring the Y2-K call letters, noted Chester.

He explained more than 2.4 million dollars has been spent on the restoration.

“When finished, it will be the best built spitfire in the world, and only one of two in North America,” he said.

“There will be a fly across — it was promised it would return. There will be a celebratory flight; it will come back to the home where it started.”


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