“Greek Spitfire” MJ755 returns to the skies

Spitfire Mk IX MJ755 in 2006 (Photo Matteo Arrotta (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

Spitfire Mk IX MJ755 in 2006 (Photo Matteo Arrotta (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXc MJ755, also known as the “Greek Spitfire” for its uncommon markings, flew again on Sunday 19 January 2020 for the first time since 1953.

The aircraft, which was brought back to airworthiness by Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, served on the Mediterranean front in 1944 and 1945 and was sold to Greece in 1947.

Its last flight took place on 8 September 1953, after which it was first stored and later displayed as a gate-guard in Tatoi air base. It was ultimately recuperated by the Hellenic Air Force Museum near Athens, which displayed it until 2008 when the decision was made to make it fly again.

The aircraft was remarkably complete and it is reported that very few parts needed replacement, making it one of the most authentic Spitfires flying today.



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    • James on January 30, 2020 at 10:43 PM
    • Reply

    Looks good! Interesting about the aircrafts originality. I assume it still has its Pacjard built 266 engine? The Packard USA built engine was fitted to the MkXVI’s, hence they were designated MkXVI’s, instead of MkIX’s. The reason for this different Mk number was I understand, due to the parts of the US built motor, are not interchangeable with the RR built Merlin, (different bolt/nut sizes and threads for example). Is it not a problem to overhaul a Packard built engine? I suppose so, if its only the hardware that is different? However, if drillings and tappings on a cylinder block or head are differeewnt, it does mean you can’t use a Merlin part? I guess a lot of Packard parts are available in the US?

    1. I believe it does still have its original engine, yes.

      You are correct in your understanding of the RR vs Packard Merlin aspect. The Mk IX and Mk XVI differed in their engines, but also had a few other minor differences. While most airframe parts are interchangeable between the two marks, parts associated with the engines generally aren’t. As you state, the availability of Packard Merlin engines and parts is not really an issue. There are hundreds of Mustangs and other types flying with them today, and a market to support their operation.

    • Philip Yates on October 30, 2020 at 11:59 AM
    • Reply

    Its a Merlin, not a Packard.
    Have been watching the series on ukTV dedicated to the re-build of MJ755.

    1. Indeed, it’s a Rolls-Royce Merlin and not a Packard Merlin if it still has its original engine. My reply to Jame’s comment was poorly worded.

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