“There’s no engine that sounds like a Spitfire,” said veteran fighter pilot, Stocky Edwards.
The sound of the Y2K Spitfire’s engine filled the Valley Tuesday as the airplane finally flew home to Comox.
Eighteen years ago, reconstruction efforts started on the warbird in Comox, but most recently, the Spitfire has been in Gatineau, Que. for completion and testing.
“I was absolutely choked up when I saw it land, I couldn’t speak,” said Retd Col. Jon Ambler of the Comox Airforce Museum. He remembers that 18 years ago, the aircraft’s parts sat in shopping carts and looked like nothing more than scrap metal.
“We worked hard and we ran with it for nine years, and in nine years, progress was made,” said Ambler. “Progress was made but this was a remarkably complex, difficult and expensive process.”
Pilot Dave Hadfield flew the Spitfire to Comox and said it is a wonderful airplane to fly.
“The airplane is spritely; it’s maneuverable and yet it protects you,” he said. “When you talk to the guys who flew it in World War II, guys like Stocky, they have kind of a reverent tone. Sometimes there’s sadness when they think of all the friends that they lost, but talking about the airplane itself, there is a respect and reverence in their voice.
“Now that I’ve flown it, I get that.”
Edwards said it was wonderful to see the reconstructed Spitfire, and watching it fly overhead brought back many memories of WWII.
“There’s just piles of memories from everywhere — Africa, Italy, Germany, England — and you can times that by 20 or so,” he said.
“I’ve always enjoyed flying the Spitfire. I feel right at home, most people do. It’s like the mother aircraft — it looks after you.”
On Aug. 8, a Gala Homecoming Celebration dinner will be held at 19 Wing Comox to celebrate the Y2K Spitfire, and proceeds from the event will go to the Stocky Edwards Legacy Trust Fund to support Canadian youths entering into the aviation industry.