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80th Anniversary of the First Flight of a Supermarine Spitfire

5 March 2016

On Saturday 5th March 2016 it will be 80 years since the first flight of a Supermarine Spitfire. 1,566 Spitfire I’s were built and Cosford is home to the world’s oldest surviving example of its type. Especially for this 80th anniversary event, the canopy will be opened and visitors can get an up close view of the cockpit.  The Spitfire is displayed alongside the Hurricane in the Museums War in the Air hangar and viewing.

To mark the anniversary there will be two lectures presented by Tony Edwards.  Both offer a fascinating insight into the subject area and include rare interview footage, archive images and are free of charge for visitors to attend.  If you would like to book a place at the lectures please click on the links below.

Lecture One - 11:00 - 12:30
RJ Mitchell CBE, the Spitfire and the Battle of Britain . . .Their Finest Hour

 

R J Mitchell CBE

The story of the creator of Britain’s iconic aircraft and the men who flew her in the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire, an evolution from the Schneider Trophy Races, first flew in 1936, remained in production throughout the 40’s and in service throughout the 50’s.  Meet some of the men who fought the Battle of Britain including a distinguished Luftwaffe ace.

Book places for the RJ Mitchell lecture

 

Lecture Two - 14:15 - 15:30
Alex Henshaw MBE. . . The Flight of the Mew Gull and Sigh for a Merlin

 

Alex Henshaw MBE

Alex Henshaw tells his own story starting with his adventures in the Golden Age of Flying. As the youngest amateur he won the King’s Cup Air Race and then achieved the record-breaking solo flight from London to Cape Town and back in four and a half days with just a compass, a chronometer and a set of maps from the AA in London. A record unbeaten for more than 70 years.

He served throughout the war as Chief Production Test Pilot for Vickers Supermarine personally testing more than 2,000 Spitfires and the occasional Lancaster at both Southampton and Castle Bromwich (now the Jaguar factory).  He finished his flying career marketing aircraft in South Africa where he experienced his last epic flight. 

Book places for the Alex Henshaw lecture


About our Guest Speaker - Tony Edwards BSc MBA CEng FRAeS
Tony Edwards BSc MBA CEng FRAeSTony is a Rolls-Royce apprenticed engineer who has led a number of engineering-based companies in the USA, Denmark, Canada and the UK: – General Electric (USA), Motorola, Bombardier/Canadair, Lucas Aerospace and Messier-Dowty. He put together the latter as the only European-based aerospace equipment company with a global market share of more than 50%. Later, he was seconded to the MoD where he served as Head of DESO (Defence Export Services Organisation). 

Tony is an ambassador for the RAF Museum and has given his support for many years including serving as a Trustee for seven years.



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