Photographic Reconnaissance Spitfires

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by mfg495, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. mfg495

    mfg495 Member

    First Photo-reconnaissance Spitfire Mk1A leaving on the first spitfire recce sortie of WW2

    Spitfire PRXI - The most produced recce version of the spitfire.

    Another Spitfire PRXI - This time in USAAF colours

    The last version of the reconnaissance spitfire the PRXIX - The last ever reconnaissance sortie in a PRXIX was in 1957
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  3. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Great pics. Is that US one PA950?
  4. mfg495

    mfg495 Member

    Its MB950 "Upstairs Maid" 14th Photo Squadron,

    The aircraft in the image below started life as PA908 of 681 Sqn RAF, it was handed over to the Royal Indian Air Force in 1947 and became a ground instructional airframe-M-342 at Allahabad. It was found in Poona in 1984 and sold to Jeet Mahal of Canada and today sits at the USAAF museum at Dayton Ohio painted as MB950

    Another USAAF Recce Spitfire PRXI
  5. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Ahh I could see the 950 but couldn't quite make out the preceding letters. Thanks.

    That last picture - PL965 - is interesting. The Spifire files don't show it having served with the USAAF. I have it as 16 Squadron and then RNethAF. And then its subsequent history - A Warbirds Resource Group Site - Supermarine Spitfire

    Do you know when the photo was taken and why it has US markings?
  6. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Kyt, looks like she flew in those colours with OFMC. Don't have a reason for the colours though. Something different on the display circuit perhaps?

    - First flight, at Rochester Airport, Dec. 23, 1992.
    - Flew as USAAF/PL965/R.
    - Operated by Old Flying Machine Company, Duxford, 1993-1995.
    Robert A. Fleming & Anthony J.E. Smith/The Real Aeroplane Company, Breighton, July 6, 1997-2002.
    - Flown in pink scheme.
    - Damaged during landing, Woodchurch, Aug. 2, 1998

    Certainly rings a bell with me. Gary might have a better reference.
  7. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    And that was the last Spitfire sortie in RAF hands, wasn't it, mfg?
  8. mfg495

    mfg495 Member

    Sorry Andy, yes that was the last reconnaissance sortie by an RAF Spitfire PRXIX.
    However, one Spitfire PRXIX was used in mock dogfight trails against an English Electric Lightning, I think this was in 1963. This was in anticipation of possible combat against Malaysian Air Force P-51's
  9. Nostalgair

    Nostalgair New Member

    Hi All,

    Here's a shot I took at Duxford a few years back of a Spitfire PRXIX, as previously mentioned. Those clean leading edges are something to behold on a fighter aircraft.

    View attachment 1325


  10. mfg495

    mfg495 Member

    PR Spitfires were used by 7th Photo Reconnaissance Group, however in my listings there is no PL965.

    A bit more history post 1997,

    2004 Hangar 11 Collection, North Weald
    1998 Real Aeroplane Co., Breighton

    The history of this PR XI - Hangar 11 Collection

    I have just sent an email to the company to see if they have any infomation

    Attached Files:

  11. mfg495

    mfg495 Member

    Just received this from Peter Teichman of Hangar 11 Collection

    "I understand that in early 90's when she was in the hands of Old Flying Machine Company at Duxford, she was painted in these colours for some time. I am not aware that PL 965 served in USAAF at any time, just 16 squadron RAF and after Dutch squadron"
  12. Geedee

    Geedee Guest

    A few more from DX. Was there ever a more shark like shape in the air ?

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  13. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Gary, was that the XIX that was converted to contra-rotating props for an attempt at the climb to height record in the US a while ago or am I out of date with my new Spit restorations (not hard!)?
  14. Geedee

    Geedee Guest

    Hi Andy

    She was with Air Museum/Planes Of Fame, Chino, CA, Jan. 7, 1999-2004. During this time she was restored, then the grunt was changed to a growl courtesy of an Ex Shackleton Griffon 58 with the fancy props followed by a first successfull flight in May 2002.

    I dont know if any records where attempted but having seen the take off run at Duxford, I certainly vouch for a 'sprightly' performance !!
  15. mfg495

    mfg495 Member

    A different sort of recce Spitfire.

    The high speed Spitfire was designed for an attempt on the World Air Speed Record. The modified aircraft was known as the Speed Spitfire K9834 and first flew on 11 November 1938. Unfortunately, before an attempt on the record could be made, the Me 209 raised the record beyond the reach of a modified Spitfire.
    When the war did start, this aircraft was converted to usable operational condition by the fitment of a Merlin XII engine with a three bladed airscrew.
    Because it would have needed a lot of work to change it to the fighter version, it was fitted with a PR.MkIII camera equipment and sent to the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) Heston in 1940.
    It only flew one operational reconnaissance mission. Because having only a 60 gallon fuel tank (designed for its record attempt) it did not have the range require for recce work.
    Then the PRU moved to Benson, the aircraft became the personal run-around for Air Comdre. Bootham who flew over the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
    It remanded in service until struck off charge on 14th June 1946

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  16. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    SoC? The shame of it! :mad2:
  17. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Would have been an impressive aircraft to preserve.
  18. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Disappointed that it was blatantly painted in USAAF colours when there was no history of it flying as such (sorry, a bit snobbish I know)
  19. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Just came across this cool link while idly googling "Chinese Spitfires"! LOL.

    Spitfires Over China
  20. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Nice one. I was just about to check Spidge/Adrian's comment too :)

  21. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    The latest copy (April 2008) of Aeroplane magazine has a long feature on Photo-recce Spitfires

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