Famous Y2K Spitfire returns to the Comox Valley

Famous Y2K Spitfire returns to the Comox Valley

Submitted to Black Press

‘She will fly again!’ were the hopeful words of the volunteers of the Comox Air Force Museum almost 20 years ago.

On Tuesday, the iconic Y2K (Roseland) Spitfire, now fully airworthy, landed at 19 Wing Comox from Gatineau, Que. as the centrepiece in an historic Gala Homecoming Celebration Dinner.

This once-in-a-lifetime event takes place on Aug. 8 inside the 442 Squadron hangar at CFB Comox. The Gala Fundraising Dinner is open to all, and will be hosted by legendary Second World War fighter ace, Wing Commander “Stocky” Edwards. With 19 confirmed aerial victories, Edwards is Canada’s highest scoring ace in the Western Desert Campaign, as well as a role model and inspiration to all who have met him.

Stocky’s insightful, soft-spoken and humble manner is his hallmark, and serves as the perfect complement to the beautiful, yet lethal, Spitfire aircraft.

Few aircraft hold such a place of love and respect in a nation’s aviation history that they can be called “iconic.” For members of the British Commonwealth, the iconic fighter aircraft of the Second World War was the Supermarine Spitfire. The Spitfire was physically beautiful, with graceful lines and elliptical wings, while at the same time highly effective in combat. Y2K is the only flying Spitfire in Canada and the only one to have been entirely rebuilt by Canadians in Canada.

Proceeds from the event will be used to create the Stocky Edwards Legacy Trust Fund aimed at supporting, assisting, promoting and furthering the education of Canadians in matters relating to aviation, with a focus on Canada’s youth, especially those enrolled in air cadet programs. Limited tickets to the gala event are available online at y2kspitfire.ca with further information available from y2kspitfire2018@gmail.com

The Spitfire Restoration Project began in 1999 as a Millennium Project of the Comox Air Force Museum. The total cost of the restoration project was estimated in 2001 to be $940,000 and, for the most part, was carried on the shoulders of devoted and tireless volunteers. Unfortunately, restoration proceeded slowly, despite heroic volunteer efforts, with the pace dictated by funds, and by 2007 only the fuselage and tail were completed. It had become clear that considerable funds were needed to finish the project: then known to be over $2 million. Additional concerns were raised about operating the finished aircraft in Comox, since no dedicated facilities and crews existed here, not to mention the ongoing operating costs of flying a vintage aircraft, which can run as high as $3,500 per flying hour.

In 2008, after a formal options analysis, it was concluded that the project would need to be suspended unless a new owner could be found. Vintage Wings of Canada, a not-for-profit heritage foundation, offered to take over the project in situ, and provide the estimated money, expertise and facilities to restore it to flying status.

In 2009, the project was formally handed over to Vintage Wings, and the fuselage, empennage, hydraulic and electrical systems were finished in the Comox facilities.

She was then moved to Gatineau, Que., the home of Vintage Wings, in 2014, for wing installation and test flights.

In 2017, just over 17 years since the project began, the Y2K Spitfire flew its first flight, as promised. Following a never-before attempted historic flight across Canada, the Spitfire has returned to Comox, the place it all began.

Those who put their hearts and soul into this project over the years have finally seen their dreams come true.