The Making of the film:
Spitfire Mk.FXIVc RM689
Engine: Griffon 61
Serial/Reg. RM689, (G-ALGT)
Sqdn - code: AFDU (Air Fighting Development Unit), 350-MN-E, 443-2I-
Other codes carried: 130 AP-D
Role in film: Flew, Currently: restoration
RM689 was built at the Chattis Hill facility against Contract No.1877/C23 and delivered to No.39 MU Colerne on 3rd July 1944. Its first unit was the Air Fighting Development Unit at Wittering, to which it was delivered on 5th August 1944, and where it was used to test a new wrap-around windscreen design. It was undergoing repairs of some kind from 13th September to 4th October and these may have been in connection with the installation of the new windscreen. The tests were completed by 10th November, as it was on that day that RM689 was allocated to No.33 MU Lyneham where it remained until 24th February 1945 when it was flown to No.83 Group Support Unit at Dunsfold and prepared for squadron service with No.350 (Belgian) squadron, which it joined on 1st March.
As with other 2nd TAF units, No.350 squadron was stationed in Europe in early 1945 and in April 689 suffered damage which required the attention of No.409 RSU (Repair and Servicing Unit) on 5th April. The damage may have been extensive, as on 19th April the aircraft was transferred to No.151 RU (Recovery Unit?) before being returned to Dunsfold on 17th May for No.83 GSU to lend a hand. It returned to its squadron o 12th July and continued in service until 14th January 1946, when it joined No.443 (RCAF) squadron of No.144 (Canadian) Wing 2 TAF. Two months later, on 20th March, it flew home to No.29 MU High Ercall, where it was placed in store, remaining there until February 1949, when it was sold to the Ministry of Supply acting on behalf of Rolls-Royce Ltd, to whom it was registered as G-ALGT and given a C of A on 8th June 1950. Based at Hucknall, the Spitfire was used for Griffon engine development work and then as a chase/high-speed/taxi/communications aircraft until relegated to display work in the mid-1960s.
In 1967 it joined the cast of the Battle of Britain, acquiring a set of wing tips which it has since retained, and was restored in 1944 camouflage as RM619 coded AP-D of No.130 squadron. The reasons for the choice are unclear, but it is suggested that it may have been copied from the Frog plastic kit of the time. The error being corrected.
Crashed 27/6/92 at Woodford Airshow killing pilot David Moore during low level loop. Ten years after the fatal crash it is now being rebuilt to flying condition at Filton. Rolls Royce Heritage Trust at Filton
I contacted the Roll-Royce Heritage Trust for an update on this aircraft the other day. Ian Craighead, who has taken over the restoration of RM689/G-ALGT kindly responded yesterday:
"there has been only a little visible progress (but things have kept moving on).
We had some problems which meant that the wings have still to be finished and so the completion date is now estimated to be mid to late 2010.
While this seems some way off, it must be remembered that the aircraft is being almost completely rebuilt, there having been little left of the original upon which to base the new airframe. That said, everything original that was deemed to be reuseable was retained and has been restored allowing RM689 to retain her original identity.
As you might expect there isn't a one stop shop to get Spitfire parts and so we are reliant on new manufacture or parts becoming available through the "network".
However, it must be admitted that original estimates of the time for rebuild were optimistic.
The fuselage and tail are nearing completion and the Griffon engine has been installed. I am expecting one wing to be delivered by April 2009 with the other around June/July.
After the wings are fitted the aircraft will start to look more complete, however, there are fuel, hydraulic, electrical and pneumatic systems to be plumbed in and connected. From a personal viewpoint the wings will mark a significant milestone and the finishing post will be almost in sight.
In the meantime our PR XIX Spitfire PS853 continues to fly during the summer months, maintaining our presence in the air for the benefit of local charities and adding that little special touch for our customers.
The [Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust] website is admittedly woefully out of date with respect to the Spitfire and it is one of my missions this year to get it up-to-date and maintained on a regular basis. Your suggestion of 6-monthly updates is feasible. We do occasionally publish some information on Spitfire progress to Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust members and I hope that as completion nears I will be able to report more advanced progress. If you are interested in becoming a Trust member, please let this office know.
I am glad to hear that our Company Spitfires have fans abroad as well as here in the UK."
RM689. Whilst repainting the Mig 23ML at Newark , I heard through a
visitor who is writing a book on this aircraft that it's at Filton ready,
Current location Rolls Royce, Filton, Avon restoration.