NEWS

Restored WWII Spitfire flying back to Athens from UK on Thursday

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The Hellenic Air Force’s historic MJ755 Spitfire, last seen in Attica’s skies 68 years ago, is to fly over the Greek capital once again this Thursday when it returns from the United Kingdom, where it was fully restored and returned to flight-worthy condition.

Talking to the state-run news agency ANA-MPA, the vice-president of the “Ikaros” foundation that financed the restoration of this unique plane for the HAF, Dimitris Kolias, said that the Spitfire will leave England on May 25, and after flying via France and Italy will arrive in Greece on Thursday. It will land on Corfu, then at Ioannina and from there it will fly to Tatoi.

“In fact, once it enters Greek airspace it will be given an honour escort by HAF fighter aircraft,” he said.

“In total, it will fly for 10 hours from England to Athens,” he added, saying the aircraft was expected to land in Tatoi at 3 p.m. local time on Thursday.

The training of the Greek pilots that will fly the plane during anniversary events will begin in the UK in June because everything was now closed due to the pandemic, Kollias said.

The MJ755 was one of 77 Spitfires presented to the then Hellenic Royal Airforce to help rebuild Greece’s fleet, delivered to Athens by RAF pilot George Dunn DFC on February 27, 1947. In April of that year, it joined the 335th Royal Hellenic Pursuit Squadron in Sedes while from 1949 it was used as a training aircraft for military pilots in Tatoi.

In 1950, it was transferred to the State Aircraft Factory in Faliro, where it was converted to a photo-reconnaissance plane. Its last flight was in 1953 before it was permanently grounded and turned into an exhibit, first at the Tatoi air base and then in the courtyard of the War Museum in Athens.

It was transferred back to Tatoi in 1995 after the creation of the Air Force Museum and in 2018 it was sent to a special restoration facility at Biggin Hill airport outside London for a complete makeover.

[ANA-MPA]