Spitfire SM520 was built by Vickers Armstrong at their Castle Bromwich factory in 1944 as single seat Mark H.F.IXe high level fighter and delivered to the RAF on 23 November of that year. With the war in Europe coming to an end she was placed in storage until 1948 when she was sold to the South African Air Force.
After a major flying incident SM520 was disposed of to SA Metals scrap yard in Cape Town before being recovered to the South African Air Force museum store compound at Stake Valley where she was identified as SM520 in 1981. She passed through various owners before being purchased by Paul Portelli in 2002. Paul decided to restore the aircraft and convert her to a Trainer 9 two seater, commissioning Airframe Assemblies to convert the fuselage and build the wings and Classic Aero to undertake the fitting out of the project. The aircraft was registered as G-ILDA after Paul’s granddaughter.
After Paul’s death in 2009 it was put up for auction at Bonhams and purchased by Steve Boultbee Brooks. SM520 wears a European Standard Day Fighter camouflage grey/green scheme and is operated by Boultbee Flight Academy.