The South African Air Force Museum's (SAAFM) Spitfire HF Mk.IXe, TE213, SAAF 5518, was involved in a serious, although fortunately non-fatal, accident at an air show in April 2000. It has been in storage ever since. A project to restore it is now gathering momentum and may see it return to the air.
Ian Grace and a past Commanding Officer of the Museum, Colonel Tony Smit, lobbied for the Spitfire to be rebuilt. Following a number of presentations to the SAAF Museum Council, the go ahead was given to the Pretoria Branch of the Friends of the SAAFM in late 2014, to manage the project on behalf of the Museum. The project will proceed more actively, once the building of a new restoration workshop hangar is complete. In the meantime, the team are stripping, cataloguing, and assessing all components to establish a repair or replace programme.
The team is also looking at sponsorship deals to repair major components within the local aero industry, as well as utilising other local companies to carry out smaller tasks. The Spitfire Restoration Project (SRP) is a registered Non-profit Organisation and is registered as a Public Benefit Organisation which provides a tax deduction opportunity for anyone who donates to the project.
Short term goals:
This project intends to erect a secure, undercover workshop facility at AFB Zwartkops where Spitfire TE213/5518 of the SAAF museum can be restored. The erection of such a facility and the associated cost thereof is to be funded by identified investors and donors who see the value addition of such a facility to the museum infrastructure.
The association to the Spitfire project does not exclude other current project opportunities from also sharing this space with the Spitfire project.
The restoration facility will further promote restoration skills development, training and provision of a facility that will allow aviation apprentices to complete practical study requirements. The facility's importance to the museum and preservation of vintage aircraft will expand over time.
The workshop will also house a Spitfire Simulator, a first of its type in the world, to generate project funds and to train pilots on the Spitfire.
The planning phase of the project has been completed, and restoration can commence immediately on completion of the workshop facility, and should sufficient Spitfire donor funding be available.Please visit http://www.spitfire-restoration.co.za/ for further information.