Header image: BBMF Spitfire Mk IIa P7350 undergoing a high-power engine run on 25th February. (Photo: Clive Rowley)
BBMF Spitfire Mk IIa P7350 was the first of the BBMF historic aircraft to ‘come to life’ and to roar again after winter servicing, when the famous Spitfire’s 1,100hp Rolls-Royce Merlin 35 engine was run by the BBMF ground crew at low power on 24th February and at full power the next day.
The pilots of the BBMF fighter aircraft are restricted to using only about half of the maximum engine power – ‘boost’ – available, for reasons of long-term preservation and because that is more than adequate for displays. However, on high-power engine ground runs the BBMF ground crew test the Spitfire and Hurricane engines at full throttle, with the aircraft tied down to ground anchor points to prevent them from nosing over. If you are a ‘petrol head’ and have never stood alongside a Merlin engine being run at full power, it is an experience not to be missed, with an absolute cacophony of noise and vibration transmitted through the air to beat your chest!
Spitfire P7350 is the only Spitfire which fought in the Battle of Britain still flying today. During this year’s Battle of Britain 80th anniversary commemorations ‘P7’ is expected to be leading the BBMF’s tributes to ‘The Few’ and those who supported them to that vital victory of 1940.