Spitfire For Türkiye

The airworthy Supermarine Spitfire IX TE517 (G-RYIX) is set to find a new home in Türkiye, having been sold to Ali İsmet Öztürk’s MSÖ Air & Space Museum. The aircraft will be ferried to the museum in Sivrihisar, located in the province of Eskisehir, 85 miles southwest of Ankara, next week.



Airworthy Supermarine Spitfire IX TE517 (G-RYIX) is destined for a new home in Türkiye, following its sale to Ali İsmet Öztürk’s MSÖ Air & Space Museum. The aircraft will be ferried to the museum at Sivrihisar, in the province of Eskisehir, 85 miles southwest of Ankara, next week. The museum, which has operated the former Duxford-based P-51D Mustang Ferocious Frankie since 2018, had previously been having Spitfire IX MA764 rebuilt to airworthy condition at the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar.

This new acquisition will now enable it to pay tribute to the Spitfires operated by the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri at events in 2024. Speaking at the time that MA764 was acquired in 2021, Öztürk commented that the aircraft would be restored into the colors of a c, one of the nation’s most famous pilots, who went on to found the F-86 Sabre-equipped Flying Swans aerobatic team in 1955. It is thought that TE517 will now gain this distinctive scheme instead.

The newly acquired Spitfire was built in 1945 and initially delivered to 33MU at RAF Lyneham before being allocated to 313 (Czech) Sqn at RAF Manston on 21 July as RY-A. With the war now over in Europe, TE517 soon had her RAF roundels overpainted with Czech markings and it became the personal mount of the unit’s Officer Commanding Sqn Ldr Otmar Kučera DFC as the unit relocated back to Czechoslovakia and became Letecký Pluk (LP) 8. Following the operation by the Czechs as KO-1, the Spitfire was shipped to Israel in 1949 for operation by the newly formed Israeli Defense Forces as IDF2046. In 1976, UK-based warbird pioneer Robs Lamplough found the dilapidated – but substantially complete – remains of TE517 on a kibbutz at Gaaton, where it was being used as a climbing frame by local children. Following its repatriation to the UK in 1977, TE517 went through various owners – including Charles Church, who used the wing from the Spitfire in the creation of his Spitfire Tr.9 PT462. The partly-restored aircraft was later sold to US collector Kermit Weeks in 1992 and following years of storage at Booker Air Park in the UK it was sold to Paul Andrews in 2009. Peter Monk took over ownership in 2016 and he, in turn, sold it to 517 Ltd in 2021 and finally completed the protracted restoration to airworthy condition – more than 45 years after it was recovered from Israel.

The Turkish Air Force wanted to add Spitfire Mk 1’s into the inventory in order to reinforce fleets just prior to the Second World War. Türkiye ordered 15 Spitfire Mk.1a (Type 341) aircraft. As Britain decided that it needed the airplanes more than its overseas customers due to war, the contract was cancelled after the delivery of 2 aircraft. Another Spitfire also came via a very long route from England. In 1939, Poland was interested in purchasing the Spitfire, and the aircraft was set sail for Poland. As the Germans had invaded Poland, and controlled the seas, the ship changed its course and set sail for Romania. However, Romania banned the transit of any arms to Poland. As a result of this, Spitfire was sent to Türkiye. All three Spitfires were allocated to 42nd Fighter Command, the 8th Fighter Battalion, 4th Air Regiment at Çorlu. By late 1940, all three Spitfires were grounded due to lack of spares. 2 Spitfires which directly came from England, were ferried to Egypt where they were used by the RAF and given the new serial numbers. Spitfire P9565 (number 4), was one of the original 15 ordered by Türkiye, but upon cancellation of the contract was retained for use by the RAF.

More details about the Turkish Spitfire are here: https://msomuseum.com/en/supermarine-spitfire/

A recently posted photo by Ali Ismet Ozturk over Le Touquet, France. Photo by Ali Ismet Ozturk
 
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5 Comments

  1. Please do not write “Tyrkiyie’ or whatever. You do not write ‘Deauchlans’ or ‘Italia’ or ‘Austrie’ or ‘Espana’ etc etc etc. That is cultural cringe.
    The correct spelling in English is
    ‘Turkey’ – NOT the Turkish, or French, or Polih spelling.
    Thanj you.

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