Supermarine Seafire LF.IIIC PP972 G-BUAR | Air Leasing Ltd

  • STATUS: Airworthy
  • LOCATION: Sywell Aerodrome
  • OWNER: Air Leasing Ltd
  • ROLE: Carrier Based Fighter
  • BUILT: 1944
  • LENGTH:  30 ft 2½ in\9.21 m
  • WINGSPAN:  30 ft 2½ in\9.21 m
  • ENGINE: Rolls-Royce Merlin 55M liquid-cooled V-12, 1,585 hp
  • MAXIMUM SPEED:  359 mph\578 km/h
  • RANGE:  513 mi\825 km
  • 2 × 20 mm Hispano II: late Seafire IIIs Hispano V cannon; 120 rpg
  • 4 × .303 in Browning machine guns; 350 rpg
  • 2 × 250 lb (110 kg) with 1 × 500 lb (230 kg) bomb

Supermarine Seafire LF III PP972 was one of 250 Type 358 Seafire L.F.III aircraft ordered from Westland Aircraft in July 1943. PP972 left the works during September 1944 and was transferred to 809 (Naval) Squadron in November of that year. 809 Squadron saw service in the Far East onboard HMS Stalker during the later stages of the war. With its work done in the Far East the squadron sailed for its new temporary home at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Nutts Corner, Northern Ireland before the squadron disbandment during January 1946.

PP972 was then issued to 767 (Naval) Squadron in May of 1946 as part of No.1 Operational Flying School, initially at RNAS Easthaven before reloating to RNAS Lossiemouth and her satellite landing airfield of Milltown, Morayshire.

The aircraft was then transferred to the French Aeronavale with code No. 12F2 then later to 1F9 when it was operated from the carrier “Arromanches” in Indo China. After it was retired from technical training in 1949 it was placed in storage at Hyéres and eventually ended up in a wired off compound at Base Aeronavale 83 Gavres, near Loirent.

She was privately purchased in 1970 and moved to the aerodrome at Vannes-Meucon. There the aircraft was restored to static condition and exhibited at the Resistance Museum at St Marcel from 1982. The aircraft was acquired by a new owner in 1987 and moved back to the UK. On 24 May 2012 PP972 was transferred to the workshops of Air Leasing Ltd at Bentwaters, Suffolk, on charter, to commence a final restoration to airworthy condition and was registered in their name on 17 July 2012. 

UPDATE – As of April 2018 PP972 has been offered up for sale via Courtesy Aircraft Sales.

Photo Gallery