The Spitfire TE311

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Battle of Britain Memorial Flight – The Spitfire MXVI TE311

The Spitfire MXVI TE311 was built at Castle Bromwich with a low back, clipped wings, and powered with a Packard Merlin engine. The Air Ministry took over the aircraft on the 8th June 1945, delivered her to No 39 Maintenance Unit at RAF Colerne and there she was placed in storage.

From October 1945 to February 1946, TE311 was flown by the Handling Squadron of the Empire Central Flying School at Hullavington. She was then stored at No 33 Maintenance Unit (MU) at RAF Lyneham until May 1951, and then she was allocated to No 1689 Ferry Pilot Training Flight (FTP) at Aston Down.

On 21st June 1951, TE311 suffered damage in an accident and Vickers Armstrong completed repairs. The aircraft was returned to 1689 FPT Flight on 31st December 1951. She was subsequently allocated to the Ferry Training Unit at RAF Benson until September 1953 before returning to 33 MU at Lyneham.

In January and February 1954, TE311 served briefly with No 2 Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit at Langham, Norfolk, before returning to the MU at RAF Lyneham again on the 23rd February 1954.

TE311 was officially grounded on 13th December 1954, and transferred to non-effective stock. In 1968 she was loaned to Spitfire Productions Ltd; they then temporarily modified her with a false rear fuselage to resemble a MkI Spitfire and restored her to taxiing condition so that she could be used to film ground sequences for the film Battle of Britain. Yet another film star on the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the TE311. This Spitfire was then put back to its original configuration, and she was then allocated to the RAF Exhibition Flight. Between 1968 to 1999 the TE311 was displayed as a static exhibit at Air Shows around the UK. January 2000 she was delivered to RAF Coningsby to be used for spares.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight then decided that she was worth rebuilding to flying condition. The work commenced in October 2001. A small team of engineers initially started working on the aircraft in their spare time, until the Ministry of Defence in 2007, approved her return to flying condition as part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

On the 19th of October 2012, for the first time in 58 years, she took to the air again.

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