Kudos to the Committee to save the Y2K Spitfire for their recent promotion to keep the MK IX Roseland Spitfire here in Comox, once it is rebuilt.
For eight enthusiastic years, a group of dedicated community volunteers spent countless hours trying to bring this rare Second World War aircraft back to its former glory.
Volunteers put their heart and soul into this incredible project, however when restoration efforts began to falter a few years ago, the Canadian Forces decided to transfer the ownership of the Spitfire to Vintage Wings of Canada in order that it could be finished.
The sale of the aircraft to a registered national charity with the experience and resources to do the job dramatically improved the chances of achieving the Comox volunteers’ dream of a fully restored, flight-ready Spitfire.
Vintage Wings of Canada (VWC) has kept the Spitfire in Comox and has so far invested over $1.5 million in the continued restoration of the aircraft.
Ultimately, the goal was to eventually share this incredible plane with other Canadians, from coast to coast. That is what Vintage Wings of Canada does — every year from April to October, the organization flies many of its historic aircraft to dozens of communities across Canada, from Comox to Summerside, PEI.
For example, VWC has recently flown both the restored Sabre Hawk One and the Hampton Grey Corsair out here to Comox, and would like to do more.
The Yellow Wings program, honoring the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, where a fleet of training aircraft toured Canada, is another example. You can follow their programs at www.vintagewings.ca.
Moving forward, Vintage Wings of Canada is absolutely open to any suggestion to operate the Spitfire from Comox for most of the year. But first, significant challenges must be overcome, most notably raising substantial sums of money to:
• Build a hangar for the Spitfire (the Canadian Forces will not house it);
• Pay landing fees to the Department of National Defense (similar to fees paid by airlines at airports across Canada);
• Pay operating and maintenance costs (estimated at $8,000 per flying hour) to cover things such as fuel, spare parts and insurance;
• Hire experienced engineers to maintain the aircraft’s complex mechanical systems.
Vintage Wings of Canada was delighted to read recently about the continued strong base of support for operating the plane from Comox. I invite the committee, or any other interested group, to contact myself to discuss ideas on how to re-energize local supporters and raise the needed funds to keep and fly the Spitfire here.
Together we can make the Comox Spitfire dream a reality that will live on for years to come.
Editor’s note: Terry Chester is involved in Vintage Wings of Canada’s Roseland Spitfire Project.