Spitfire takes flight in southern Sweden
TT/David Landes · 19 May 2008, 14:44
Published: 19 May 2008 14:44 GMT+02:00
“There’s a bit of a wild animal in her and she’s a bit different to fly compared with modern aircraft,” said Bertil Gerhardt, who describes the Spitfire as “harmonious in her maneuverability and very powerful in her engines”.
The plane became legendary during the Second World War’s Battle of Britain in 1940. Of the 30,000 planes manufactured, only 28 remain today, and only two of those are kept outside of Britain.
Last year Swedish businessman Sten-Åke Lindholm, founder of auto parts retailer Biltema, paid one million pounds ($2 million) for the Spitfire, which is currently stationed in Ängelholm in southwestern Sweden.
Now Gerhardt, retired from a forty-year career in the Swedish Air Force and currently Biltema's company pilot, is responsible for maintaining and flying the old British warrior.
“It is probably every boy’s dream if they’re the least bit interested in airplanes,” he said.
This particular Spitfire was ordered during wartime, but rolled off the assembly line after the fighting had stopped. It was flown in the service of the Royal Air Force until 1952, and since then has been used for a number of different purposes.
The plane is almost completely original, right down to the paint on the fuselage.
The next exhibition of the Spitfire will be in Västerås in central Sweden this coming weekend, followed by another flight in Ljungbyhed in southern Sweden on May 31st.