The recently completed Spitfire Mk V BL628 was honoured at EAA Airventure at Oshkosh in 2008 when it was the recipient of the "Best Fighter" Award. The award, presented to the aircraft's owner, Mr Rod Lewis of San Antonio Texas, represents the culmination of the efforts of a large group of people over the past 30 years.
Originally owned and partially restored by Peter Croser and Mike Aitchison of Australia and completed by the team at Avspecs Ltd. in Auckland New Zealand, the combat veteran Spitfire has been recognised by the judges at the event as an exceptional example of the type. The aircraft was widely featured at the show not only as a back drop for veteran pilot and well know airshow performer Bob Hoover as he entertained the crowd with stories of his time as a fighter pilot during WWII but also as the subject aircraft in the daily Warbirds in Review program.
I don't think I can adequately thank all of you for your contributions in the re-birth of such a magnificent P-40 !!! I am still in awe of the airplane and am very excited to fly her once she is back in the states. More importantly, I can't wait to share such an important part of aviation history with the public at large......I am sure this airplane will be a popular participant in airshows as well as a joy for many to experience as we fly her into so many airports across the country. Your team worked so very hard to have this wonderful machine ready for Wanaka and I hope they were feeling very proud of their work as they saw this beautiful airplane take to the sky and perform so superbly with John at the controls.
Lastly, I can't tell you what it means to me to see a childhood dream come true thanks to all of you and your team.......the P-40 was the first model I built as a little boy and for a long long time I have dreamed of owning and flying a P-40. Thank you again for making such an extraordinary and unlikely dream come true!!! Please pass my gratitude to your team for a job superbly done!! I also want to thank you for your hospitality and friendship that all of us feel when we visit your wonderful country!! I will miss having a P-40 project that keeps us connected but hopefully we will have opportunities from time to time to meet again and enjoy our common interest in these wonderful historical treasures!
Thank you again gentlemen!
Congratulations to you and your entire staff for getting another one of these marvellous planes back into the air again. All of you should be very proud of this achievement, as I am certain that we could never have done this without all of you Kiwis and your expertise in restoring these wonderful airplanes.
We will look forward to seeing you on Wednesday morning in Auckland.
Lot 59 Kittyhawk Lane
P.O. Box 118 Beachlands
Tel +64 9 296 6969
Fax +64 9 296 6384
Mob +64 21 728 836