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Thread: 2 Seat Spitfires. How Many Are There?

  1. #1
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    2 Seat Spitfires. How Many Are There?

    Good Morning Guys,

    I was just looking through the Duxford thread, and musing at the recently refurbished Welsh 2 Seat Spitfire and it got me wondering how many are out there now? Obviously a fab idea if you’re an owner, and a “golden era” for non pilots to experience the thrill of flight in an icon. How many have been newly converted? How many of the original Irish ones are still flying as two seaters? Maybe this thread could be a good reference for the type?

    Perhaps we need a layout like this, but could modify it if I’ve neglected anything:


    Former Military Serial:
    Civilian Identity:
    Currently Marked as:
    Factory T.9 Conversion: Y/N
    Converted By Whom and When:
    Current Operator:
    Passenger Flights Available: Y/N

    I think that covers it, but over to you guys to fill in the blanks.

    Many thanks,
    Kurt

  2. #2
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    A couple of hours research and you will have your definitive list or you could wait a few days and buy the Two Seat Spitfire book by Greg Davis.

    There is this old thread is a good start and a lot more interesting than a list.
    https://forum.keypublishing.com/show...fires-How-many

    https://m.facebook.com/TheTwoSeatSpi...?locale2=en_GB

    Then there’s Spitfire Survivors volume 1. The book and Facebook page updates. https://www.abebooks.co.uk/book-sear...y-gordon-trant


    Spitfire International https://www.air-britain.co.uk/actboo...-Offer-58.html

    The BHHH and Airframe Assemblies Facebook pages will give info on recent projects.

    Perhaps a brief read of Key Publishing’s Warbird Directory and top it off with a look on G-INFO. https://siteapps.caa.co.uk/g-info/

    Without access to the hard copy books your list could be pretty complete within a day using the online sources and a search engine.

    To get you started...

    T8 MT818 G-AIDN now based at Biggin Hill

    T9 IAC
    PV202 IAC161 DX
    MJ627 IAC158 BH
    ML407 IAC162 Sywell
    MJ772 IAC159 BH damaged
    TE308 IAC163 USA damaged

    T9 Indian Air Force
    ML417 converted by Vickers to twin stick for IAF 1948 (HS543). Converted back to single seat in 1984 Booker, UK. Now in USA

    T9 Modern conversions
    PT462 DX
    SM520 Goodwood
    NH431 Sywell/DX
    MH367 New Zealand
    EN570 under construction IOW (LN-AOA)
    BS410 under construction BH

    Then there is the fun of speculating other possibilities for future conversions. MJ271 as T9 or perhaps RN203 as a T8.

    [Updated with comments from below]
    Last edited by merlin70; 16th April 2018 at 15:46.

  3. #3
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    Do you have any further details on the two seat Spitfire book, I've tried to find it in a search but no luck.
    LAHarveIs this the real life, or is this just fantasy ?

  4. #4
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    Difficult to call MH367 a modern conversion when is was built by Dick Melton as an entirely new aircraft before the identity if MH367 was found in the Chippenham scrapyard

  5. #5
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    @LAHARVE
    Been a slight delay due to change of publishers and having to go through the proof process again - think it will be available through Amazon when on sale

    @Merlin70
    Isn't TE308 still ground bound after it's accident?
    Last edited by Bob; 8th April 2018 at 11:23.
    Under my gruff exterior lies an even gruffer interior...

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  6. #6
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    I was simplifying things for the OP to get them started. MH367 or DM008 as it was to Dick Melton was, as we know, a new build with some provenance grafted to it at a later date. Discussing it again will only open up the undefinable, what constitutes an original, Trigger’s broom or a re-build. A potentially controversial way to define it is that DM built a fuselage before kicking around in the dirt/sand for a crashed wreck to add provenance, unlike the modern industry that starts with a card board box of oxidised castings, aluminium fragments, a piece of wire and some bakelite shards and builds a new a/c. [Cue gasps and rhetoric.]

    Current flight status wasn’t foremost when I listed the current twin sticks. Both '772 an '308 have had unfortunate incidents and will fly again when time, priorities and funds align.

    The Facebook page for Two Seat Spitfires promises to provide a link to purchase the book sometime in the next week.

    Someone could compile the definitive list for the OP relatively easily, however, the info is all readily available; just not in the suggested format. Compiling such a list would also inform the OP on the current and past history of the airframes, ownership etc.
    Last edited by merlin70; 8th April 2018 at 12:48.

  7. #7
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    You could add BS410, EN570 and 'AB123', the latter being visible 'South of the river'.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark12; 8th April 2018 at 22:57. Reason: Typo corrected
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  8. #8
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    I had read that MJ772 would hopefully be up and about again this year.
    Daren Cogdon

    Spitfire fanatic

  9. #9
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    Tim
    Thanks - I was only asking if it was still awaiting repair/undergoing repair.

    And I'm up to speed on Greg's book...
    Under my gruff exterior lies an even gruffer interior...

    行雲流水

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  10. #10
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    Thanks Bob and merlin70, I'll have to put that in the wish list.
    Last edited by LAHARVE; 8th April 2018 at 13:03. Reason: Spelling
    LAHarveIs this the real life, or is this just fantasy ?

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  12. #12
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    @Mark12. Are there references in the public domain for the 'AB123' restoration you make mention of?

    Would you care to speculate on whether the current Air to Air and pleasure flight industry might encourage a MkXIV restoration to go the route of a conversion to VIII(T)?
    Last edited by merlin70; 8th April 2018 at 16:30.
    Watching the planes fly by...

  13. #13
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    Merlin 70. Nothing in the public domain to my knowledge on 'AB123' although the fuselage sheet metal is complete.

    Speculation on a Mk XIV...A lot of work for not much gain I would have thought.

    Mark
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  14. #14
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    Ok. We will have to wait patiently to see details emerge.

    On the MkXIV to VIII(T) I guess it depends upon whether someone with a MKXIV and a merlin decided to go on an adventure :-). Although I'm a fan of the XIV the revenue option is a conversion to T8. May be one day. :-)
    Watching the planes fly by...

  15. #15
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    Wasn't SM832 going to be restored as a mk VIII originally albeit in single seat form?

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    “AB123” are you sure if that serial I heard it was “ZY987”

  17. #17
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    We should also mention ML417...converted by Vickers to a trainer, but restored back to single seater config.

  18. #18
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    @paulmacmillan. As Peter used the nomenclature for a spurious registration, I assumed it to be a serial not currently in open forums. Then you go and give it away. Outrageous.
    Although I think there’s a typo. AA have disclosed T9 EN570. I don’t recall a EN520.
    Last edited by merlin70; 8th April 2018 at 21:34.

  19. #19
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    As I recall, there as the possibility of a Mk.VIII being converted to two-seat status - JG668 - and a Mk.IX crash recovery - TE566 - to be converted to Tr.IX spec.

    Any more word on these?
    Daren Cogdon

    Spitfire fanatic

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin 70
    Although I think there’s a typo. AA have disclosed T9 EN570. I don’t recall a EN520.
    Typo corrected.
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  21. #21
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    I know that this thread is about extant two-seat Spitfires but it stirred a memory of something I had read in the distant past and, at last, I found it.

    It is a 1947 report of a 'field' modification of a 'tropicalised' Spitfire Vc, in 1944 at Catania, Sicily. The pilot carried out liaison work and took his batman with him when performing these duties. A compartment was fitted in front of the regular cockpit and behind the engine. This compartment had a windscreen but no cover. The aircraft in question was ES127 of 261 Squadron (code: KJ-I), described as "almost certainly .... the first two-seat Spitfire".

    The name of the pilot is not given (nor that of the batman, for that matter).

  22. #22
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    Too bloody many, the Porsche Panamera of warbirds...
    If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: It's all balls. RJM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ianwoodward
    The aircraft in question was ES127 of 261 Squadron (code: KJ-I)
    Field report. A great find. The 261 Squadron link is intriguing. KJ-I is the code for 4 Sqn SAAF.

    Mark



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    An experiment with RR232. It is tight.
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  24. #24
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    A missed opportunity? if a mkV was fitted with mk V11 engine bearers and a mkV engine that would allow the fire wall to be extended forward (above the carry through spars) for a set of rudder pedals, also allowing the seating to be lowered.
    Why be your own worse critic, that's what the forum is for.

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    Stuart,

    The diagonal fuselage cross braces between the upper and lower fuel tanks is a major engineering issue.

    Unless you want your knees under your chin a substantial reduction in the lower tank volume is required.

    Mark
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZRX61
    Too bloody many, the Porsche Panamera of warbirds...


    T J
    "And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!!!"

    Jules Winnfield 1994

  27. #27
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    I hope I didn't mislead anyone. Post #21 was about a report of a 'field' modification, rather than a 'field report'. It came with the same photograph as in Post #23 but, being on newsprint, in inferior quality. My printer-scanner-copier is in for 'repair' at the moment, so this is a camera shot of said 1947 report:
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 16th April 2018 at 01:13.

  28. #28
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    The reporter would seems to have mis-identified the squadron code KJ.

    4 SAAF Sqn with code KJ were North Africa, Sicily, & Italy based, fitting in with Catania.

    261 Sqn were India Far -East based with the squadron code FJ on their Thunderbolts.

    Mark
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  29. #29
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    Is it possible that this was a very senior officer whose initials were used rather than the code for 261 Squadron?

    I have very little knowledge about this subject, so I'm just casting around for an explanation that might fit the statements in that report and be congruent with the evidence in the photograph. The 'pilot' must have been pretty senior to engage in 'liaison' work, pretty senior to have a 'batman' ('bagman' might a better word in this case, but the same would apply) and pretty senior to be able to arrange for such a modification to be undertaken. And I do seem to recall that individual initials were applied to aircraft back then, instead of squadron codes, but I can't remember where I got that notion. Am I totally off-beam here?

  30. #30
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    ES127 was a former 4 SAAF Spitfire based in Sicily and Italy from August 1943.

    KJ was the assigned Squadron code of 4 SAAF and it has been applied in the style and form as all their Spitfire and Kittyhawk aircraft of the period.

    KJ are not the initials of a high ranking office in this case.

    As SM520 has South African Air Force history post WWII it was thought appropriate to apply the KJ-I to this two seat conversion.

    The report is most probably from a 1947 issue of 'The Aeroplane Spotter'...just an enthusiast magazine.

    Mark

    Last edited by Mark12; 16th April 2018 at 09:16.
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

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