The Fighter Collection

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Some of the aircraft of the Fighter Collection in their hangar at Duxford Aerodrome, April 2017

The Fighter Collection is a private operator of airworthy vintage military aircraft or warbirds. It is based in the United Kingdom at Duxford Aerodrome in Cambridgeshire, an airfield that is owned by the Imperial War Museum and is also the site of the Imperial War Museum Duxford.

The Fighter Collection is owned by and was founded by Stephen Grey,[1] a businessman and former RAF pilot domiciled in Switzerland. The aircraft are stored and maintained in Hangar 2 at Duxford Aerodrome; the hangar is accessible to visitors of the Imperial War Museum.

Flying legends[edit]

Flying Legends is a two-day airshow, held at Duxford Aerodrome at the beginning of July every year that is organized by The Fighter Collection. The 2013 airshow saw the celebration of the event's 20th anniversary.[1]

Aircraft[edit]

These aircraft are owned by The Fighter Collection as of 2015. The operator occasionally adds new aircraft to its collection, and occasionally sells aircraft to other parties.

Type Image Identity Date Markings/Notes
Beechcraft D17S Staggerwing Duxford Autumn Airshow 2013 (10542889524).jpg G-BRVE 1945 Flown during World War II by the Royal Navy as Traveller Mk.I FT475. Allocated to the United States Navy post-war before being sold into civilian ownership. Acquired by the Fighter Collection in 2005.[2]
Bristol Beaufighter Beaufighter at IWM Duxford Flickr 4889991710.jpg JM135/A19-144 and JL946/A19-148 A composite aircraft built from the parts of two Beaufighters. Under long term restoration to flying condition.
Curtiss Model 75A-1 Hawk Hawk 75 No 82 flying.jpg 82/X881 (G-CCVH)[3] Issued to the French French Air Force 1939. It was later flown in combat against the British and Americans by the Vichy French Air Force. Post-war it served as a trainer until the 1950s; it was acquired by the Fighter Collection in 1995. It carries the markings of 1ére Escadrille, Groupe de Combat 11/5 Lafayette, the unit that operated it in 1939.[4]
Curtiss P-36C Curtiss P-36C Hawk ‘PA-50’ (NX80FR) (20147422405).jpg 38-210 (NX80FR) 1939 This P-36 is the only flying example of its type. It saw some World War II service in the United States before being allocated to a technical school. Post-war, it passed through several private owners before being acquired by the Fighter Collection and restored.[5]
Curtiss P-40C Warhawk Curtiss H-75A-1 (20412016199).jpg 41-13357 (G-CIIO) After a period of US Army Air Force service, this aircraft was sent to the Soviet Union in 1941. Little is known of its history there until the 1990s, when it was one of two Warhawks recovered from the former Soviet Union by The Fighter Collection. It was restored in the United States, taking its first post-restoration flight in 2011.[6]
Curtiss P-40F Warhawk Curtiss P-40F Warhawk AN2146248.jpg 41-19841 (G-CGZP) 1942 Operated by the 347th Fighter Group in the Solomon Islands in 1942, it was recovered from a dump on the island of Espiritu Santo in the 1970s. Restored to airworthy condition, it has been flying since 2011. As the aircraft's exact wartime history is unknown, it is painted to represent Lee's Hope, a Warhawk based in Italy in 1944.[7]
Fiat J 11 Fiat C.R.42 restoration, Duxford Military Vehicles Day and MAFVA Nationals 2012. (7421570598).jpg Fv.2542 This Swedish Air force aircraft is one of only four survivors of its type. It was lost in 1942 in a crash that killed its pilot on Tärnatjåkko, a mountain in the north of Sweden. It was recovered from the crash site in 1983 and was acquired by the Fighter Collection in 1995. It has since been undergoing restoration to flying condition.[8]
Gloster Gladiator Gloster Gladiator II ‘N5903’ (G-GLAD) (22674049302).jpg N5903 (G-GLAD) 1939 Flown briefly by 141 Squadron, but spent much of World War II in storage. After a period of private ownership, and a some years as a static exhibit at the Fleet Air Arm Museum it was bought by the Fighter Collection from the Shuttleworth Collection in 1994 and restored to flying condition, taking its first post-restoration flight in 2007. It was painted in the pre-World War II markings of No. 72 Squadron RAF[9]
Goodyear FG-1D Corsair FG-1D Corsair - VE Day Anniversary Airshow Duxford 2015 (18056154706).jpg 88297 (G-FGID) A version of the Vought F4U Corsair, built under license by Goodyear Aircraft, this aircraft served in the US Navy between 1945 and 1959; this included wartime service in Guam and the Philippines. It was then sold to a smelting company, however instead of scrapping it, the company sold it to the movie stunt pilot Frank Tallman. It joined the Fighter Collection in 1985 and is currently painted in the December 1945 markings of an aircraft of 1850 Naval Air Squadron, serving on HMS Vengeance of the British Pacific Fleet.[10]
Grumman F4F Wildcat Grumman FM-2 Wildcat 'JV579 - F' (G-RUMW) (13946837749).jpg G-RMMW This aircraft was accepted by the US Navy in 1945 but was immediately put in storage until its disposal in 1946. It had several private owners and spent nearly two decades as a static, museum exhibit before being restored to flying condition in the early 1990s. It is painted to represent a Fleet Air Arm Wildcat.[11]
Grumman Bearcat Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat (21036977771).jpg 121714 (G-RUMM) 1948 Served with the US Navy until 1957. It then passed through the hands of several owners, including a period of being in the collection of the Planes of Fame Air Museum. It was bought by the Fighter Collection in 1981.[12]
Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 G-BUCM Hawker Sea Fury (9457933467).jpg VX653 (G-BUCM) Currently undergoing restoration.
Hawker Sea Fury T20 Sea Fury - Duxford Autumn Airshow 2010 (5072511611).jpg WG-655
Hawker Nimrod Hawker Nimrod I 'S1581 - 573' (G-BWWK) (14083013054).jpg S1581 (G-BWWK) Flown from the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious by No. 408 (Fleet Fighter) Flight RAF until being written off in 1938. It was discovered in a scrapyard in the 1970s and restored to airworthiness in the 1990s, taking its first post-restoration flight in 2000. It joining the Fighter Collection in 2004. It is currently painted in the markings it carried when serving operationally in the 1930s.[13]
Noorduyn Mk.IIb Harvard Harvard - Duxford Autumn Airshow 2010 (5094237109).jpg FE695 (G-BTXI) 1942 A version of the North American T-6 Texan that was built by Noorduyn Aviation in Montreal, Quebec. It served as a trainer with the RCAF, and then the Swedish Air Force until 1972. It joined The Fighter Collection in 1990.[14]
North American TF-51D Mustang P51 - RIAT 2007 (2396219607).jpg 44-84847 (N251RJ) Built too late for World War II, this aircraft flew with the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron during the Korean War. It was acquired by the fighter collection in 1999. It is painted to represent Miss Velma, flown by Captain Frank E Birtciel of the 55th Fighter group.[15]
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb, Private JP6859844.jpg EP120 (G-LFVB) Assigned to No. 501 Squadron RAF in 1942, and then subsequently RCAF 402 Squadron. This aircraft destroyed seven German aircraft during its wartime career. Post-war, it was an instructional airframe, then displayed as a Gate guardian. It was acquired by the fighter collection in 1993 and restored to airworthiness. It is currently painted in its 402 Squadron markings.[16]
Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk XIV Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIV Patina G-SPIT, QFO Duxford, United Kingdom PP1152776041.jpg MV-293 (G-SPIT) 1944 Built by Vickers Armstrong and sent to India in 1945. After service with the Indian Air Force, it was returned to the United Kingdom in the 1970s; restoration was completed in 1992. In 2000 it was painted to represent MV268, an aircraft flown by Johnie Johnston towards the end of World War II.[17]
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XXII Supermarine 356 Spitfire F22, UK - Air Force AN0700111.jpg PK624 1945 This aircraft served in the late 1940's with 614 Squadron . Between 1964 and 1989 it was a gate guardian at a number of sites. In 1994 it was acquired by the Fighter Collection from the Ministry of Defence. It has since been undergoing restoration to eventual flying condition (Photograph taken in 1986).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dunnell, Ben (8 October 2013). "Flying Legends 2013". Wings of History. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Beech D-17S Staggerwing". The Fighter Collection. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Curtiss H-75A-1 82/X881". touchdownaviation.com. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Curtiss Hawk 75". The Fighter Collection. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  5. ^ Marsh, Elliott (6 May 2015). "Airshow News – The Fighter Collection's Curtiss P-36C N80FR bound for Flying Legends". Global Aviation Resource. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Curtiss P-40C". The Fighter Collection. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Curtiss P-40F Warhawk". The Fighter Collection. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  8. ^ "The Fighter Collection's Fiat CR.42 Falco – Restoration Update". Warbird News. 21 April 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Gloster Glatiator G-GLAD". The Fighter Collection. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Goodyear Corsair FG-1D (G-FGID)". The Fighter Collection. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Grumman Wildcat FM2 – G-RUMW". The Fighter Collection. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  12. ^ "Grumman F8F-2P Bearcat". Touchdown Aviation. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Hawker Nimrod Mk.I S1581 (G-BWWK)". The Fighter Collection. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Noorduyn Mk.IIb Harvard FE695 (G-BTXI)". The Fighter Collection. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  15. ^ "TF-51D Mustang Miss Velma". The Fighter Collection. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  16. ^ "Supermarine LF Mk.Vb Spitfire EP120 (G-LFVB)". The Fighter Collection. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk XIV -MV268 JE/J". Touchdown Aviation. Retrieved 30 December 2015.

External links[edit]