Author Archives: James Wheeler

New Photo Galleries

Supporters of the Grace Spitfire now have two new galleries available in the Supporters’ area.

These are the long overdue 2013 Annual Gathering gallery and the photos taken at the 2014 Annual Gathering.

Please login using the Supporters’ login link on the main menu to see the photo galleries. I hope you enjoy them.

January Competition: Win a Grace Spitfire Fleece and a phone call from Carolyn!

Carolyn’s at it again, this time with the January competition! The questions are a little more tricky, and will require either some knowledge or some investigation to answer. Carolyn wants you to answer with as much information as possible so we can all learn something about the Grace Spitfire’s history!

But don’t worry, if the questions are too difficult, Carolyn will post hints and clues every Friday in her updates! You will have to be a Grace Spitfire supporter to enter. To become a supporter, download the form and send it off!

Head over to Carolyn’s updates to get the questions (you’ll need to log in), then go to the Forum Thread to enter, and good luck!

Free Ringtones and Win a Calendar!

Following James’ update last week, I wanted to let you all know about two new supporters-only additions to the Website.

Firstly, thanks to John Leonard’s expertise and generosity, we are very happy to announce that, as mentioned in the most recent Newsletter, we now have Spitfire ringtones available for all our supporters to download! You can find the ringtones by clicking here, and entering the username “Spitfire” and the password as per your 2011/2012 renewal letter, and the flyer for the advent giveaway included in the 2012/2013 renewal letter.

If you’re having trouble with the ringtones, getting them onto your computer or phone, or using them, James and I are monitoring a thread in the Forum for help requests. Do head over there if you’re struggling and we’ll do our best to help you!

Advent Giveaway! In order to get you all using Carolyn’s new twitter-powered updates in the Supporters Area, we’re running an Advent giveaway. And, rather in keeping with the Advent theme, what we’re going to give you is a calendar!

We’ll be giving away three calendars, signed by Carolyn, one every week from now until Christmas. Winners will be decided on the 7th, 14th and 21st of December, and their calendars shipped the Monday after! This giveaway is only open to supporters, but if you want to support the Grace Spitfire, it’s not too late to join up and enter! All the details are here.

In order to enter the competition, simply head over to Carolyn’s Updates to find the current code and question, these will change every week, then go to the forum and enter your response on the competition thread.

There’s no limit on how many of the competitions you can enter, and the winners are not simply the first to enter, we’ll pick them according to their question responses. So head on over and enter now!

Olivia Grace

Website Updates

James Wheeler our Webmaster has been working hard this week using information provided by Carolyn and also he and Olivia Grace have been very creative in the Supporters Area with the new Twitter Feed which you can access even if you are not a ‘Twitter’ person. I am very impressed with Olivia and James’ joint skill in creating this feed and I shall keep it current. No doubt in the early stages it is inevitable that I will make some huge blunders so worth looking at it.

The Home Page of the website has been updated to reflect the changes that have occurred with the Grace Spitfire and provides a little more information on the Pilots who fly ML407. This year Pete Kynsey was seen flying ML407 in formation displays at the Duxford May Airshow and Duxford Autumn Airshow which was appreciated by the spectators. We have also increased our offers for what we can display the Grace Spitfire for and hopefully giving visitors to our website ideas for a special occasion that may be coming up in 2013.

The History page has also been updated to be more accurate with the current history of ML407 and detailing a little more of the older history with more information coming to hand.

The Grace Spitfire has been in winter maintenance for a month now and the Team are working through the 100 hour Maintenance Schedule. More on this a bit later.

Our Shop catalogue for 2013 is up and running and Daisy can take Christmas delivery orders up to the 13th December.

Carolyn

Annual Gathering 2012 Gallery

This is just a quick post to let you know that I have added a gallery with some photos from the 2012 Grace Spitfire Annual Gathering to the Supporters area on the website.

Click here and enter the current username and password to take a look. If you don’t have the latest user details, you can contact me at the address below.

Thanks go to Graham Haynes who contributed some images. If anyone else that attended would like to send me some images to add, please send them to webmaster@ml407.co.uk.

James Wheeler

The Grace Spitfire Post Winter Maintenance Flights

It is with great pleasure I advise that I flew ML407 from our base at Bentwaters on the 30th March following the winter maintenance and the incredible continued generosity of JLT Insurance Brokers in sponsoring the insurance of the Grace Spitfire for 2012.

ML407 was fully operational and ready to fly at the end of January, as is our usual timing. However we had to install an updated radio removing the 1984 installation to meet with current requirements, as I said in our newsletter. This installation, though replacing like with like, required a modification to be submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority to be compliant with regulations. The modification process is long and difficult and it was fortunate that we managed to get it through as quickly as we did.

One of the many impacts on aviation of the Olympics this year has been that a transponder, that identifies your exact position on radar when you put in an issued number, which provides a read out of your altitude is fitted. Without this there would be no opportunity to fly the displays booked in the Olympic period and new allocated airspace created for the time. As ever this was an expense we could ill afford and we were very fortunate indeed when Trig Avionics said they would provide their latest Transponder completely free of charge, bringing ML407 right up to date. Such generosity is inspired and I am delighted to advise that the Trig TT22 Transponder was tested by me yesterday with RAF Wattisham Air Traffic and it passed with flying colours. Not only does it work perfectly but the ease of use meets all a pilot could wish for. Have a look at Trig Avionics website for the press release on ML407.

The overhauled oil cooler is truly excellent giving our Merlin engine lovely cool oil throughout the flight resulting in comforting high oil pressure. Jerry Marshall at Anglia Radiators has done an outstanding job on our oil cooler.

The engine performance was exactly as required with the flying characteristics being crisp and responsive. The rudder has had the fabric replaced and looks pristine and also handles as I would expect.

All systems worked correctly with the gear, flaps and brakes all operating swiftly and in accordance with the book figures. The engine driven fuel pump was overhauled as well which involved the specialised setting of the fuel pressure, that controls the fuel sent to the carburettor. Nothing is simple!

As you can see the two flights I carried out were very informative and show what an experienced and meticulous team our Engineers are having completed a 100 hour inspection together with the additional items above to the standard resulting in a fully serviceable aircraft.

The Grace Spitfire supporters’ continued generosity with their renewals in November/December, in this difficult financial climate, contributed enormously to the funding of the expensive winter maintenance and additional parts.

It is hugely pleasing and rewarding for us all that ML407 is ready for the 2012 season and I would like to seriously thank all involved in this successful outcome.

Carolyn Grace

The Grace Spitfire on BBC 2 on the 22nd September at 21:00

The Grace Spitfire did some filming in late July this year for BBC 2 programme. The programme features our very own Joe Roddis and Betty Drury with their remarkable story that features ML407 and the presenter John Sargeant talking with them and him also flying with Richard (Grace) in ML407 from Bentwaters.

It is my understanding that this will feature at the end of the programme, but watch out for small sequences with ML407 being used during the programme. I have to say that John Sargeant was just the nicest and most interesting man, it was a pleasure to work with him and delightful to spend time with Joe and Betty.

Watch for it on: Thursday 22nd September, 21.00 on BBC2. ‘Spitfire: Britain’s Flying past’

Carolyn Grace

Air Leasing Spitfire Rebuild Contract Announcement

It is with great pride and pleasure I inform you all that the owners of the Mk XII Spitfire EN224 have confirmed the rebuild contract for this historic aircraft has been given to Air Leasing Limited and upon completion will be flown from Bentwaters. The registration of this aircraft is being re-activated today.

It is excellent that the high standard of work by Air Leasing Limited, having maintained and kept fully operational the Grace Spitfire ML407 for the past 26 years, has been recognised by getting this important contract which will ensure the longevity of the company and in turn that of the continued maintenance of the Grace Spitfire ML407.

Carolyn Grace