Spitfire Y2-K comes home
By Scott Stanfield
A rare Second World War aircraft returns to Comox this summer, coinciding with the launch of a legacy fund named after local legend Stocky Edwards.
Efforts to re-construct Spitfire Y2-K began in Comox, British Columbia, nearly 20 years ago, but the plane has been at Vintage Wings Canada in Gatineau, Québec, for the past three years for wing assembly, finishing work and test flying. “She’s finally coming home for a visit,” says RCAF Colonel (retired) Terry Chester. “It’s the culmination of 18 years of work.”
Departing Gatineau in mid-July, the Spitfire will spend a week at AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force. “It then begins a journey that has never, ever been taken by a Spitfire before—across Canada,” Colonel Chester says.
The aircraft will route through the U.S., come up through Winnipeg, Manitoba, and arrive in Comox in early August. “They don’t want to go over the top of the Great Lakes for very good reason,” he says. “This is a single engine [Second World War] airplane, and if their engine quits, they don’t have a place to land. So, they’re airport-hopping out here.”
Pilot Dave Hadfield, brother of astronaut Chris Hadfield, will fly Spitfire Y2-K, which will be here for the Homecoming Celebration and carry out a flypast of the Comox Marina on British Columbia Day on August 6, 2018.
A fundraising campaign has been initiated to cover the costs of flying the aircraft across Canada, which covers fuel, aircraft fluids, maintenance and logistics. The campaign includes a sponsorship program, sales of souvenir items, and a banquet at 19 Wing on August 8, 2018.
Wing Commander James “Stocky” Edwards—an Order of Canada recipient—will be the guest of honour at the banquet, which will seat 350 to 400 guests. Wing Commander Edwards, Canada’s highest-scoring Ace of the Second World War, fought with the Desert Air Force, in the Italian campaign and in northwest Europe.
The 97-year-old Comox resident will climb into the cockpit of the MK IX Roseland Spitfire. “He’s going to do a startup,” Colonel Chester says.
The banquet will also kick off the Stocky Edwards Legacy Fund, a bursary program to support young people pursuing careers in aviation.
This article was originally published in the “Comox Valley Record” and is translated and reproduced with permission.
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