Spitfire in Eastleigh skies again

The real thing at Eastleigh Airfield. Mutt Summers in cockpit. Pirelli Chimney in distance.

A Spitfire will be taking off from Southampton Airport in Eastleigh this morning to commemorate the anniversary of its maiden flight. The iconic fighter plane, piloted by Carolyn Grace, will take off at about 11.30 am and fly out over the Solent returning over the site of the Supermarine factory in Woolston where many of the machines designed by Southampton engineer Reginald J Mitchell were constructed. The plane will do some demonstration circuits around the airport and Eastleigh area for the benefit of council bigwigs later in the day. The event is being organised by Spitfire Tribute Foundation in association with Solent Sky Museum and Southampton Airport. A model of the first flying prototype, numbered K5054, stands on the roundabout at the entrance of the airport. When Supermarine chief test pilot ‘Mutt’ Summers finished the maiden flight on March 5 1936 he is said to have told the engineers as he walked away from the aircraft:

“Don’t touch a thing!”

Southampton Airport’s managing director Dave Lees said: “Southampton Airport has a long and proud history of being at the forefront of aviation innovation over the last 101 years. The airport is especially proud to be the site of the very first ever flight of such an iconic and important aircraft in British history. Photo: From postcard owned by Stephen Slominski (ex 424 Sqn ATC!)

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