A rare Second World War aircraft returns to Comox this summer, coinciding with the launch of a legacy fund named after local legend Stocky Edwards.
Efforts to re-construct the Y2K Spitfire began in Comox nearly 20 years ago, but the plane has been in Gatineau, Que. the past three years for wing assembly, finishing work and test flying.
“She’s finally coming home for a visit,” said Retired Col. Terry Chester. “It’s the culmination of 18 years of work.”
Departing mid-July, the Spitfire will spend a week at AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force.
“It then begins a journey that has never, ever been taken by a Spitfire before, across Canada,” Chester said.
The aircraft will route through the U.S., come up through Winnipeg and arrive in Comox early-August.
“They don’t want to go over the top of the Great Lakes for very good reason. This is a single engine, World War 2 airplane, and if their engine quits, they don’t have a place to land. So they’re airport-hopping out here.”
Pilot Dave Hadfield will fly the Spitfire, which will be here for the Y2K Homecoming Celebration. There will be a flypass over the Comox Marina on BC Day Monday, Aug. 6.
The costs of flying the Spitfire across Canada are about $30,000 to cover fuel, aircraft fluids, maintenance and logistics. As such, a fundraising campaign has been initiated. It includes a sponsorship program, sales of souvenir items and a banquet at 442 hangar.
Edwards — an Order of Canada recipient who was Canada’s highest scoring ace in the Western Desert Campaign in the Second World War — will be the guest of honour at the Aug. 8 banquet, which will seat 350 to 400 guests. The 97-year-old Comox resident will climb into the cockpit of the MK IX Roseland Spitfire.
“He’s going to do a startup,” Chester said.
The banquet will kick off the Stocky Edwards Legacy Fund, a bursary program to support young people pursuing careers in aviation.
For more information about banquet tickets or sponsorship opportunities, visit www.y2kspitfire.ca