Once again Carolyn will post hints and clues every Friday in her updates! But this time, you don't need to be a supporter to enter. All the questions will be posted on the forum a few hours after they're posted on Carolyn's Updates. To become a supporter, download the form and send it off!
Head over to the Forum Thread to enter, and good luck!
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!
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!
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.
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 email@example.com.
The Displays page has been updated with the schedule for 2012. Click the link to find out where you can see The Grace Spitfire flying during the 2012 display season.
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.
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'
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.
As promised, there's a new ML407 CD now available: it's a little bit different from the previous disc, in that it's got some music on it as well as some really terrific recordings of ML407 and many others. In particular, there are two sequences using music that Carolyn and Richard display to - The Spitfire Prelude & Fugue and Nimrod - and a recreation of a Battle Of Britain skirmish, mixed with Walton's Battle In The Air. This sequence uses actuality recordings of aerial battles from WW2 along with edited sections of Spitfire and Hurricane recordings made by me over the last couple of years.
For those of you who weren't able to make it to Duxford last year, there's a recording of the massed Spitfire flypast and the subsequent display, in which Richard took part. There's also Richard's solo display debut, Carolyn's display from Bentwaters Airs Show and her display over Leysdown On Sea for the Historic Airfields occasion. And there's more! Two WW2 popular songs lend themselves to this disc - The Spitfire Song, during which ML407 and friends have a bit of a fly around, and a romantic number called "He Wears a Pair Of Silver Wings". Over an hour of music and Merlins (and lots of other engines) oh, and a Skylark and a rather special bell...
Each one is personally signed by Carolyn on a special signing strip on the CD. This CD is a Limited Edition of 250 selling for £12.00 with P & P
To place your order please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address.
James Wheeler, ML407 Webmaster
This is a brief note to draw to your attention that the merchandise page has been updated to show the new Grace Spitfire car sticker and pen (pictured below) which are both now available to purchase.
Click the link to visit the merchandise page and download the latest order form.
James Wheeler, ML407 Webmaster
This is just a quick note to point out that we have added a new page called Displays to which you will also find a link in the menu above. This will contain all of the bookings for each season going forward and I have added the last few years as well. Hopefully this will make it easier for everyone to discover where they can see ML407 flying each year.
The 2011 displays are now listed so find your diary and click the link!
James Wheeler, ML407 Webmaster
The Merlin engine in ML407 reached 450 hours at the end of 2010 season leaving 50 hours prior to the recommended 500 hour t.b.o. After consultation with our Engineers and pilots the maintenance programme for 2010/2011 was planned not to change the Merlin engine due to the fact that there were no associated temperature or pressure changes nor any adverse changes in performance or running of the engine.
During the planned maintenance the Merlin engine was found to have metal in the filters which came as a shock due to the foregoing. However that is the reason we have the spare Merlin overhauled. The Merlin was removed from ML407 and the overhauled Merlin installed and at the completion of the maintenance programme at the end of the first week in February we were ready for engine runs. This is a remarkable achievement by our small, but clearly very efficient Engineers, Steve Kingman and Richard Grace.
The low power runs were carried out on the 8th February but the high power runs which require the tail to be secured to a one tonne tie down, was delayed due to strong winds until the 12th March. The high power runs which are always incredible to witness as the tail is actually flying with the tail wheel about 3 inches off the ground for the entire run. It takes real application by our Chief Engineer to do this run and observe the required T's and P's which need to be in limit prior to the aircraft being cleared for the first engine test flight.
Late afternoon on the same day Carolyn carried out her post maintenance walk round - this is when Steve 'hands' the aircraft back to me! - and started the 'new' engine for the first time to check that the information the gauges were giving were satisfactory and as expected. The weather was very good and Carolyn took off to test the engine in the environment it was designed to be in - the air. The first flight was very good and the filters when checked the next day were clear. Over the next week a further total of five hours were flown to reach the required hours to do the next checks.
The shores of Southampton Water were lined up to 3 deep in places with spectators and it was a wonderful sight. Carolyn flew ML407 over the site where the planned Spitfire Monument is to be erected when the money has been raised to do so. The media coverage for this was extensive on the Television, Radio, Newspapers and Internet. A link to the BBC item can be found by clicking here.
The first flight of the Spitfire 75 years ago took place at 15.30 and it was planned by Carolyn to have the wheels of the Grace Spitfire leave the ground at exactly 15.30. Her watch had been set to the speaking clock on the day and at 15.29:50 seconds she opened the throttle on ML407 to take off at exactly same time 75 years on. The first flight was done with the wheels down and was a circuit around the airport with the whole flight taking 8 minutes. Carolyn flew the circuit with the wheels down on ML407 and then retracted them at the end of the circuit and flew a display in ML407 to celebrate the occasion.
The media interest carried on with the Grace Spitfire and Carolyn to the following week with a double page spread in the Daily Mail and the online link for that article is here.
The Merlin engine has now done over 10 hours flying and has proved itself to be a smooth running providing very good power performance.
Carolyn emailed the May newsletter out today. So, check your inboxes, grab a cup of tea and have a read! For those who don't receive the newsletter via email, the printed version has also been posted out and should be with you shortly.
If you can't wait for the post, the newsletter has been uploaded to the member's area.
James Wheeler, ML407 Webmaster
The latest version of the ML407 mailing list has been published on our merchandise page. Please do go and have a look, the new fleeces feature as does a new poster print by Darren Harbar.
If you open the mailing list and the title doesn't state 'Mailing List May 2010', please clear your browser's cache which should remedy the problem. If it doesn't help, feel free to contact me on email@example.com as usual.
James Wheeler, ML407 Webmaster
Carolyn was the sofa chat guest on Tuesday morning's BBC Essex breakfast show. Carolyn talked with the host at various points throughout the show about the Spitfire, keeping it running and the history of ML407.
If you would like to listen, you can do so by clicking here which will take you to the BBC iPlayer. Skip ahead to 1:12:20 which is when Carolyn is introduced.
James Wheeler, ML407 Webmaster
On the 16th of April 1985 after rebuilding the aircraft, Nick Grace - with Carolyn occupying the rear cockpit - took ML407 to the skies for the first time. After Nick's tragic death shortly afterwards in 1988 Carolyn vowed to keep ML407 flying in memory of her late husband and took on the challenge of learning to fly the Spitfire herself.
It is now 25 years on and ML407 is indeed still flying, not only in the very capable hands of Carolyn but also in the equally capable hands of their son Richard. The incredible amount of hard work and perseverance shown by Carolyn, Richard, Olivia and Steve Kingman over the years is representative of the hard work and effort invested by Nick during the rebuild and he would be incredibly proud to see what his family have achieved.
The BBC have created a wonderful piece on the 25th anniversary flight in which, as his father did some 25 years before, Richard flew ML407 with Carolyn in the rear cockpit. Please click this link to take you to the BBC website so you can watch this moving footage of the occasion.
BBC Look East also had a feature including footage from the maiden flight, please click this link and fast forward to about 21 minutes 30 seconds to get straight to the piece on ML407.
Another feature on BBC Suffolk's site has some further text with the same video footage, please click here to watch it.
James Wheeler, ML407 Webmaster
It is with truly great pleasure I inform you that the Grace Spitfire has a new Sponsor. They are, as you will see at the top of the main page, JLT. This outstanding Insurance Broker reacted with immense speed and efficiency as soon as they were asked if they would sponsor the Grace Spitfire insurance programme. Their positive decision was made and the insurance cover put into place within 7 days!
On Tuesday 2nd March I flew the first post maintenance test flight of 1 hour and then Richard Grace flew ML407 to Duxford.
The Grace Spitfire ML407 is operational for 2010!
Carolyn Grace is delighted to announce that the Grace Spitfire has a new sponsor, JLT. Further information regarding this will follow shortly.
Photo by James Wheeler
For the benefit of all the web users, please see below the list of public displays that ML407 and Carolyn will be attending this year as confirmed at 24th Feb 2010. Further bookings will be announced in the mid year newsletter (these will also be listed in the calendar on the message board):
James Wheeler, ML407 Webmaster
The deadline for Christmas orders has been extended to the 15th of December.
Head over to the merchandise page and make sure you get your orders in on time to avoid disappointment!
Carolyn has recently been confirmed as appearing at Duxford's September air show on both the 5th and 6th of September 2009.
Today was a landmark in the history of The Grace Spitfire ML407 being 65 years since she was taken on charge delivered by Jackie Moggridge to Flying Officer Johnnie Houlton DFC 485 New Zealand Squadron.
I was so pleased to have a short notice booking for ML407 and be flying her today for 45 minutes down to near Denham and return to Duxford on probably one of the best flying days I have flown in for some months.
Hi all, this news post is a quick update for you all to let you know that Carolyn has had a late booking to display at Duxford on the 17th of May!
This morning the Member's Area password has changed, the new password can be found in your supportership renewal letter. The username has remained the same but don't forget it is case sensitive!
If you have any difficulties at all accessing the Member's Area please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be more than happy to help you.
So, if you haven't done so since the 3rd of March, head into the Member's Area and check out the new look and new features available!
I am pleased to say I have sent out nearly all the renewal letters and cards. Thank you to all those who have so kindly renewed their support for The Grace Spitfire you are a vital part of the Team which keeps ML407 flying. I have to now do a check run to sweep up any I have missed out on!
Along with them was the bookings for 2009 which will also be put onto the display bookings section of the website shortly (and also below this article). It will be updated when new bookings come in. The reason for the delay in sending out the renewal letters- acknowledging your renewal made in November December - and the renewal card is due to my wanting to minimise on costs and combine as much as I can in one letter. The bookings are rarely confirmed until end February due to the Military participation committee issuing what they will provide to the Airshow organisers - then the Airshow organisers decide on civilian (ie us) participation.
With the renewal I also sent out the tickets for the Gathering on the 13th June. There are still places available for this event due to the large venue. You do have to be a Supporter to attend but you can still become a Supporter now and still be in time to obtain tickets for this popular occasion.
For the benefit of all the web users, please see below the list of public displays that ML407 and Carolyn will be attending this year as confirmed at 22nd Feb 2009. Further bookings will be announced in the June newsletter (these are also listed in the calendar on the message board):
James Wheeler, ML407 Webmaster
I am very pleased indeed to announce that on Tuesday 13th January I test flew The Grace Spitfire following the winter detailed successful maintenance programme. There were no 'snags' and all required checks completed in the second flight that day in which I did a navigation exercise to check the compass (it is the original wartime P11 compass) and give the engine a good steady run. High power checks were done - flying at all power settings.
It is a great credit to Steve, Richard and Gerbs that ML407 is ready promptly. We had our first booking on the 14th and 15th January and have three more in February - more information to follow when I receive a public booking.
I strongly recommend that you purchase the February issue of Top Gear Magazine out in the shops in about a weeks time - you will be impressed.
We wish you all a very Happy New Year and it is an even happier new year for The Grace Spitfire - we are very pleased to announce that HSBC Insurance Brokers are continuing their most generous sponsorship of the insurance programme for ML407 in 2009. They very kindly informed me during the festive season and I am delighted to pass this wonderful news on to you all at this time.
The sponsorship by HSBC Insurance Brokers means that we will be able to keep The Grace Spitfire in her element - the sky - where for the past 65 years she has exhibited her true form and beauty, where her history lives on as we honour the past generations who have enabled the present and future generations to live in a free world.
At last 'phase 1' of the new look website has been released! After much hard work and double checking the site has now been given the nod by Carolyn, so here it is!
If you find any sections on the site which don't work correctly please drop me an email at email@example.com and I will look at fixing them. I have tried to test the new site in as many browsers as is practical so hopefully it will be ok for most. If you don't wish to email me you can post remarks about any issues you may have on the message board.
Currently only the public section of the site is overhauled. 'Phase 2' is to push this new look into the member's area as well. This will be my next task and now I have laid the foundations the work should take less time to complete.
I hope you all like it!
The Grace Spitfire Supporters will have had a 'heads up' from the Newsletter and indeed the message board about ML407 appearing in one of the Top Gear programmes. Well it is the finale in the current series and it will be shown this coming Sunday 27th July at 20.00.
I do not know what the final format will be like but sure to be good viewing as this is one of my few favourite programmes I have to say, and to be involved with it was a real honour.
Hope you like it - let me know.
I am extremely pleased to be posting these pictures, taken today around 14:00 at Old Warden, of ML407 taking to the air once again with Carolyn Grace at the controls. I am sure you will all agree that this is a most pleasing sight!
By the evening of 7th June the team at HSBC Insurance Brokers had already secured the approval of Underwriters to put the framework in place for repairs to begin on ML407. By Sunday 8th June I received confirmation that all essential personnel involved with the insurance claim process had been briefed and we were given the green light to commence the necessary work.
At 14.30 hrs today Friday 13th June The Grace Spitfire was declared serviceable following nearly 6 days of intensive work by Steve Kingman, Richard Grace and Pete Jeffery together with Michael Barnett of Skycraft who assembled our spare propeller.
This remarkable achievement has been attained as a result of the outstanding professional support of HSBC Insurance Brokers and our insurance Underwriters, who enabled our team to effect the necessary repairs safe in the knowledge that they were supported without encumbrance.
I plan to fly ML407 out of Old Warden tomorrow afternoon back to our maintenance facilities.
We are delighted to be able to supply some images of ML407, taken today by Darren Harbar:
Today, on the 7th of June 2008 at the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden, the Grace Spitfire suffered a minor taxiing incident. The pilot, Carolyn Grace, was not injured and is absolutely fine.
Whilst taxiing out to display, the Spitfire unexpectedly crossed a patch of soft ground causing it to nose over at low speed. The propellor blades broke upon contact with the ground, and the engine will be tested for shock loading.
The aircraft has been recovered to the hangar and will be inspected by the engineering team.
The aircraft should be serviceable again soon, further updates will be posted.
See below the details of this wonderful event at the Shuttleworth collection on the evening of 7th of June. See their website for information by clicking here.
Join us for a special evening recreating the era of the 1940's hangar dance followed by a delicious authentic wartime supper. Then, more dancing, let's jive and jitterbug!!
Please come dressed in period costume if you wish to - there will be a prize for the best dressed couple! Go on have a go.
Dance the night away with Paul Roberts and the "Swingers" also featuring the stunning "Kas", our delightful Forces sweetheart.
Ticket prices £25 per adult in advance only. 10% discount for 10 or more persons.
Arrive 8pm for 8.30pm start Music finishes at midnight, the function ends at 1am
Period costume is encouraged, this is not a black tie event. A lounge suit is acceptable.
Ideal for re-unions, groups and makes an ideal birthday or anniversary treat.
A great evening of entertainment - not to be missed!
Secure your tickets NOW! and get in the mood.
Call our special ticket hotline 01767 627933
On Sunday the 8th June you can attend the Bentwaters Cold War Museum Open Day at which I will be displaying The Grace Spitfire ML407 and Richard Grace and company will be displaying The Dukes Of Cassutt formula One racing aircraft. The details are on their website www.bcwm.org.uk.
The museum will be holding a special open day on Sunday June 8th 2008 from 10 am until 4 pm.
With something for everyone to enjoy including-
On Friday 25th April The Grace Spitfire was greeted at Bentwaters Airfield (in Suffolk) by Rendlesham Primary school who have designed their own school emblem with a Spitfire on it (some 18 months ago) now they were standing with a real Spitfire. It was a most moving experience to have the young children so fascinated to be close and take in the aura of The Grace Spitfire and all it represents.
It was an enchanting day and most welcoming to us. We have set up our maintenance organisation at Bentwaters due to the limitations placed on the hangarage of aircaraft and maintenance at Duxford. One of the Duxford policies is that you may not run a commercial operation on site. Because it is a working museum and the aeroplanes based there are historic a commerical maintenance organisation would not meet with Duxford's impressive conservation ethos.
Bentwaters was built during the Second World War as a British base. It was taken over by the Americans and continued to expand to be a significant Cold War Station which is wonderfully reflected in their own Cold War Museum www.bentwaters-as.org.uk.
For the benefit of all the web users, please see below the list of public displays that ML407 and Carolyn will be attending this year (these are also listed in the calendar on the message board):
James Wheeler, ML407 Webmaster