When the RAF left Biggin Hill during the 1960s, everyone thought that the sight of a Spitfire would disappear forever.
Not so, for it was the vision of one man that a squadron of Spitfires would one day continue to fly from that hallowed turf.
Peter Monk began his aviation career by first obtaining his Private Pilot’s Licence before moving on to take his commercial licence, allowing him to fly with airlines such as Ambassador, Tiger Airways and Ryanair.
His desire for many years had been to own a Spitfire, but the only way he was going to do so was to build one. Trawling the internet, he found the remains of one languishing on a South African Air Force metal disposal yard, and just knew that this was his opportunity to own his own Spitfire.
Arranging to transport the remains of the Mark 9 back to the UK, he set about scouring the globe for parts and, working with a select few skilled airframe restorers, TA805 was put back in the air.
Today the Kent Spitfire– named ‘Spirit of Kent’ – flies as a tribute to all the brave airmen in the Second World War whom Winston Churchill called ‘The Few’.
Since that time, the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar has grown, and now seven Spitfires, a Hurricane and several other warbirds occupy a double hangar.
In 2015, the relaxing of certain CAA rules has allowed the public to fly as passengers in either of the two-seater Spitfires at Biggin Hill.
From the dream of one man, the Heritage Hangar has made the dreams of many come true.
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