Spitfire Mk XVI TE311 | Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

  • STATUS: Airworthy
  • LOCATION: RAF Coningsby
  • ROLE: Fighter
  • BUILT: 1945
  • LENGTH:  31ft 4in\9.55m
  • WINGSPAN:  32ft 10in\10m
  • ENGINE: Rolls Royce Merlin 266
  • MAXIMUM SPEED: 405 mph (652 km/h)
  • RANGE: 434 mile (699 km)
  • ARMAMENT: 2 x 20mm Hispano cannon with 120 rounds, 2 x 0.5″ Browning machine guns.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI TE311 is a low-back/bubble-canopy Mk XVI with ‘clipped’ wingtips, built at Castle Bromwich just after the end of the War end. As a result she was delivered to 39 Maintenance Unit, at Colerne and placed in storage.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI TE311  was then flown by the Handling Squadron of the Empire Central Flying School (ECFS) at Hullavington from October 1945 to February 1946 with as little as 30 flying hours recorded. It was then stored at 33 Maintenance Unit until May 1951 when it was issued to No 1689 Ferry Pilot Training Flight at Aston Down.

On 21st June 1951, TE311 suffered damage in an accident. Repairs were completed by Vickers Armstrong and the aircraft was returned to 1689 FPT Flight on 31st December 1951. It was subsequently allocated to the Ferry Training Unit at RAF Benson until September 1953 before being returned to 33 MU at Lyneham. In January and February 1954, TE311 served briefly with No 2 Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit at Langham, Norfolk, before being returned to the MU at Lyneham again on 23rd February 1954.

On 13th December 1954, TE311 was officially grounded and allocated to RAF Tangmere as gate guardian after a repaint into silver.

In 1968, she was loaned to Spitfire Productions Ltd, who temporarily modified it with a false rear fuselage to resemble a Mk 1 Spitfire and restored it to taxying condition so that it could be used during filming of ground sequences for the epic film ‘Battle of Britain’.

Subsequently, it was allocated to the RAF Exhibition Flight and from 1968 to 1999 TE311 was displayed as a static exhibit at numerous air shows.

In January 2000 TE311 was delivered to RAF Coningsby for spares parts. The BBMF decided that the aircraft merited a re-build to flying condition. This began in October 2001, with a small team of BBMF engineers initially working on the aircraft in their own time, until formal approval from the Ministry of Defence placed TE311 officially on the strength of the Flight. After a painstaking re-build lasting 11 years, TE311 took to the air again, for the first time in 58 years, on 19th October 2012.

TE311 was painted to represent Spitfire Mk XVIe TB675 ‘4D-V’ of No 74 Squadron, the personal aircraft of Squadron Leader AJ ‘Tony’ Reeves DFC, the Squadron’s Commanding Officer from the end of December 1944.

For the 2017 season, TE311 was painted to represent ‘low-back’, ‘clipped-wing’ Spitfire Mk XVI TD240. This was the personal aircraft of the Commanding Officer of No 131 ((Polish) Wing, Group Captain Aleksander Gabszewicz VM KW DSO DFC, from April 1945 until he left the Wing in mid-June 1945.

UPDATE  – BBMF Spitfire Mk XVI TE311 has been undergoing a ‘Major’ servicing with The Spitfire Company (Biggin Hill) Ltd since May 2022 and TE311 has been painted into its new colour scheme which represents Spitfire TD322 ‘3W-M’ of 322 (Dutch) Squadron.

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