Military Surplus

The Lost Spitfires

The Supermarine Spitfire. A pants-tightening relic from the golden age of piston aircraft. A formidable foe to the Axis. The elliptical wings provided both a beautiful and elegant solution to reducing drag while increasing lift. The 2,050 hp Griffon engine in a Mk XIV could pull the plane almost 450 miles per hour. Though, sitting in crates underground it will go exactly 0 mph.

Towards the end of WWII, a shipment of 20 Spitfire XIVs was sent to forces in Burma. When the war ended the aircraft were deemed surplus and buried to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. I guess they figured this was cheaper than shipping them back, since propeller planes were on their way out in those very early days of the jet age.

Now a group from the UK believes they have found the ultra-secret location of the buried Spitfires. According to reports, the team led by farmer and aviation enthusiast David Cundall, has sent a boroscope down and they saw the crates. They are hoping the preservation techniques used for shipping — the components were waxed, wrapped in grease paper, and tarred — will have worked well enough to preserve these ultra-rare aircraft for 67 years.

There are rumors that more Spitfires are buried around our globe. I have my leather jacket, fedora and whip ready. Let’s go find ’em!

[Image Credit: Spitfireperformance.com]

  • Number_Six

    Please be real. Please be recoverable. Please don't give any of them to air-racers. Please don't put any on a plinth. Please don't let the ruling junta fuck this up.

    /clenched fists

  • <img src="http://farm8.static.flickr.com/7142/6556469681_567c2c5af6.jpg&quot; width="325">

    Rumors have a way of growing with the telling.

  • mike england

    I read a story once about a P-61 sitting on a mountaintop in New Gunieau (sorry, I can't spell easy words much less countries I've never been to). Then those guys from PA went up there and got it. I think they are gonna get it flying. So wild rumors fly when hanger-flying but sometimes they do come true. see: http://www.maam.org/p61.html

  • fodder650

    I would imagine we are going to find more aircraft like this in Russia as well. After the war the rumor was that they had stored a lot of their aircraft in case they would need them again in the future. Somehow I bet they were never scrapped.

    • <img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7244/7182618714_62dfd47db4_b.jpg&quot; width=500>

      Makes you wonder if there's any left over in the US.

      • fodder650

        They just put out a contract for a large amount of scrapmetal sadly. A lot of those planes will be cut up soon.

        • I actually got an email about that, and I had forgotten. Depressing.

          <img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7220/7184412720_5c61d9e210_b.jpg&quot; width=500>

          • fodder650

            Because of SALT and a lot of other Cold War treaties these can not be saved. They have their backs broken before they sold for scrap. Its a shame but its part of what had to happen. Now there are exceptions to this rule. Like the guy who owns a Sea Harrier as a civilian aircraft. Also the military museums are saving a lot of it as well but not flying them.

            Besides I think for aircraft museum flying jets is just to expensive.

  • Will C

    I haven't heard any more info on these. Has there been any more recent news? As for not letting one run at the Reno Air races, I ask why not? There are far more rare things that run there (F2G Corsairs, F7F Tigercats, to name a couple.) In stock form it would be a front runner in the Bronze heat, mid pack in the Silver, and way off the back in the gold race.

    It would be fantastic to have all of these restored (assuming the whole thing isn't a hoax) and flying again.

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