Jane B (knally) wrote,
Jane B

Spitfire at Hursley

I work on a site called Hursley Park which is situated in a small village just oustside Winchester. It's now owned by IBM, but during the Second World War, it was the headquarters of Vickers Supermarine after they were bombed out of their factory in Southampton. This is the company that designed and manufactured the Spitfire fighter aircraft. At the end of November Harry Griffiths died, who was one of the original design team who worked with R. J. Mitchell on the Spitfire.

As a mark of respect for Harry The Spitfire Society organised a flypast over Hursley House today at 2:45. If you look at this Interactive Map of Hursley you can see the house towards the top right, with a long lawn in front of it, leading down to the sports field.

It was sunny today with only a little cloud, so perfect for seeing the solitary Spitfire, and a smallish crowd came out onto the lawn while others just peered out of the windows. The plane came in over the gardens and then performed loops and circles for five to ten minutes. I had never seen a Spitfire so close before, and was surprised by just how manoeuvrable it was. It could fly straight up into the air, and then do the smallest of turns at the top to drop out of the climb. I used to read Biggles books when I was young, and because of those I kept expecting it to stall as it slowed in the ascent. But it never seemed to suffer the slightest hesitation even when it appeared to almost hang in the air at the steepest part of the loops. It also didn't seem to need much space for getting up speed since it kept mostly within the bounds of the map above, but was able to get enough momentum for turning into rolls and loops. I've no idea who the pilot was, but the whole display was beautifully smooth, and a real privilege to be able to watch.

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