Radar picks up giant Spitfire over the south east

Another Spitfire has been spotted in the skies above the Memorial – but this one was only visible on radar screens.

Pilot Andy McKee recreated the outline of the iconic fighter by carefully plotting a route around the south east of the country, a challenge made more difficult by the need to avoid the congested airspace around London.

The result, when viewed on radar playback, was a stunning image of a Spitfire, with its tail wheel to the west of the National Memorial to the Few and the nose north of Cambridge.

Andy, who flew the entire route without the help of autopilot in an aircraft he built in his garage, undertook the journey to mark the 100th anniversary of the RAF and to remember not just ‘the Few’ but the many – the ground crews, fabricators and everyone else involved in the RAF’s story.

He also wanted to pay tribute to those he called “the forgotten people from outside the UK that were involved in the Battle of Britain”, explaining: “Roughly one in five of the pilots who took part were from countries other than the United Kingdom.”

Andy, who was born in New Zealand but has lived in the UK for the past 18 years, pointed out that his home country was the birthplace not just of 135 aircrew but also of the legendary Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park, who commanded No 11 Group during the Battle of Britain.

Forty-six year-old Andy, who lives in Bedfordshire, has been a pilot since 2004 and completed his journey in the homebuilt Silence Twister, the aircraft he built from a kit over five-and-a-half years, putting in more than 3,000 workshop hours in the process.

The names of the 135 New Zealanders and the rest of the nearly-3,000 men who fought the Battle of Britain, together with a bust of Sir Keith Park, can be seen at the Battle of Britain Memorial.

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