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finishing sandy's spitfire

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Welcome to Sandy's Spitfire at Gieves & Hawkes on Savile Row

We are delighted to showcase what is an icon of history in the form of this exceptionally rare aircraft. The boards around our display explain more of the aircraft and its pilots from history, but focusing on the present, you can be a part of helping to return AA810 to the skies.

 

Spitfire AA810 is truly unique in a number of ways:

  • It is the world’s oldest unarmed military reconnaissance aircraft in existence.

  • It is the only surviving aircraft linked to any of those airmen involved in the infamous Great Escape – commemorating the 80th anniversary this year.

  • It has the highest operational hours flown of any surviving variant of the the Mk1 Spitfire.

  • Amongst several notable others, it was flown operationally by one of the most famous pre-war racing drivers of all time.

AA810 is now under restoration to flight in numerous locations around the UK. It is aimed to be airworthy early in 2026 ahead of engagements in countries around the world. It will be the most accurate restoration of a Spitfire to date, and is deemed by many in the industry to be one of the most historic aircraft in existence.

For more on the history of AA810 and its pilots, please click here.

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The project is actively seeking financial sponsorship from individuals and corporates to complete the restoration to flight of this historic aircraft. The ongoing restoration has already raised around 65% of required funds, with some £1.25m remaining to return the aircraft to the skies for 2026. The operational costs of running the aircraft have also been factored into the costings of the restoration, enabling the aircraft to attend as many events as practical once completed at absolute minimum cost to organisers.

The management of the restoration and operation is being carried out by a highly experienced and skilled team with decades of experience in the industry, below we have outlined some of the key fundraising tasks active today.

 

Can you you help complete this most incredible example of aviation history? Join us on this journey...

Wing ribs and wheel bay structure - £315,500 remaining

Beyond the leading edge D box assemblies, which are already fully funded, the remaining wing structure in each wing consists of 21 main ribs, a single rear spar, and wheel bay structures.

Both of AA810’s wings were recovered from Norway and much of the structure is reusable. However each individual part will need to be disassembled, cleaned, inspected, tested, treated, painted, and refitted.

The wings of AA810 are very different to the wings normally found on a Spitfire. Whilst retaining the iconic Spitfire shape, the PR.IV had no guns, the leading edges carrying long-range fuel tanks instead, and in the port wing a special 18 gallon oil tank was included.

 

AA810 will be unique in being rebuilt to this exact configuration and therefore represents a significant historical opportunity to preserve this specific engineering design for future generations.

Wing ribs are paired and can be built individually on bench alongside our existing work, or at a later date. Once the rib kit is built up, these items can then be bolted to the D Box assemblies and skinned.

 

The rib work and skinning of the wing represents 75% of the total cost of restoring AA810’s wings.

 

We have part funded around £30,500 of the rear wing work already.

To sponsor this assembly in full or part, please talk to us here.

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Rolls-Royce Merlin 35 Engine - £225,000 remaining

The Rolls-Royce Merlin Engine is the beating heart of the Spitfire – its sound distinguishes the aircraft from so may others. A sound of true British engineering.

To ensure safe and reliable operations, the project has sourced a late production Merlin 35 indistinguishable from the original fitted in AA810. It is already overhauled and ready for use.

The engine is not needed until Q1 2025 but the project would obviously like to secure it for the restoration as soon as possible. It is inhibited and serviceable only requiring fitting to the engine bearers to take us to flight.

To sponsor the engine in full or part, please talk to us here.

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DeHavilland Propeller Assembly - £120,000 remaining

The propeller unit fitted to AA810 is incredibly rare and the project has managed to acquire sufficient serviceable original parts to be able to assemble the majority of the main components.

However, new propeller blades will need to be made which is a highly specialist operation and as such presents a significant cost.

The project has sourced a qualified propeller overhaul company to carry out the work who have the required knowledge, tooling and approvals to produce the required parts and overhaul the propeller unit completely.

To sponsor the propeller in full or part, please talk to us here.

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Rudder and Elevator Structure - £58,800 remaining

With the loss of the complete tail unit of AA810 during combat in 1942, the project needs to make 100% new build rudder and elevator control surfaces, supplementing in serviceable original components where possible.

On the early PR.IV aircraft, both of these control surfaces were covered in Irish Linen, however this fabric ages so the fabric covering of the control surfaces will not happen until late in the restoration process.

Airframe Assemblies, our subcontractor, can manufacture both control surfaces with their in-house jigs. The project is actively sourcing wartime trim control units to complete these largely new build items.

To sponsor either the tail controls, please talk to us here.

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Gear doors and Radiator fairings - £52,000 remaining

Specific to the early marks of Spitfire are the radiator fairing and the smaller oil cooler housing that sit under the wing. We recovered both from AA810 but only the radiator fairing has salvageable parts within it.

Gear doors are made as a kit and are then fitted and trimmed individually to the wing. We have acquired an original repairable door to reduce costs.

With our salvageable parts and our wartime door, the restoration of these parts represent 12% of the costs of the wing restoration.

To sponsor these items in full or in part, please talk to us here.

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Ailerons and Flaps Structure - £35,500 remaining

Around 80% of the port aileron and 30% of the starboard aileron were recovered from Norway when we found AA810 in 2018. The port aileron in particular is in really excellent condition therefore significantly reducing the costs associated with their restoration to flight.

Around 80% of the starboard flap assembly was also recovered, the majority of which can be reused in the restoration.

Using the parts recovered from the wreck and other wartime manufacture parts that are available to us, we can reduce the restoration costs of the aileron and flap assemblies significantly. Overall these assemblies represent 8% of the restoration costs of the wings.

To sponsor these items in full or part, please talk to us here.

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Cowling and Fillet Kit - £19,750 remaining

Towards the end of the restoration, AA810 will require a cowling and wing fillet kit to close off the engine compartment and blend the fuselage to the wings.

The cowlings and fillets will be bespoke to the restoration and can’t be swapped from one aircraft to another.

Work on the cowlings can begin before the wings are completed, but the fillet kit will be one of the last elements of the restoration to occur.

The cowlings will carry internally the names of the 1700 airmen who served in unarmed photo reconnaissance units, together with nearly 700 WAAF Photo Interpreters as well as 500 individuals who have sponsored the restoration.

We have already raised 60% of the cost of this kit.

To sponsor the rest of the cowling kit, please talk to us here.

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Wing Tip Structure - £12,250 remaining

In 2018 the project recovered both wingtips from the mountain, the port wingtip was virtually undamaged, the starboard wingtip broken into three parts.

One original top skin will be kept for display but the internal structure and the remaining skins will be able to be used after careful restoration.

Interestingly the wingtips use a mixture of aluminium, steel fittings, and spruce - a leftover from traditional 1930’s manufacturing.

The restoration of the wingtips using the original parts represents 4% of the wing restoration costs.

To sponsor the restoration of the wing tips, talk to us here.

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Funding the Fitting out 

Once the structure is complete, the project requires around £400,000 to complete the installation of overhauled systems and bring the aircraft to a completed airworthy standard. We are slowly building these funds alongside the restoration of the structure and during our short stay with Gieves & Hawkes for the Savile Row Concours 2024, we are hoping to raise at least £10,000 of this. Can you help by sponsoring below?

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