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Top Guns

18/05/2015 | General

Pirtek Erith must have one of the most glamorous clients on their books, of any Centre in the Pirtek network. It is the Biggin Hill Heritage Hanger, where a unique collection of WWII aircraft are lovingly cared for.

The collection has featured before in Pipeline, but recent developments warranted another visit to the iconic planes. Pirtek became involved to provide unique and unusual fittings and pipework for the Spitfires in the collection.   

When the company moved to Kent in 2012, Pirtek's reputation preceded it, and Pirtek Erith was asked to take up the challenge of keeping the collection airworthy.

Unique collection

The collection has a rare MKI, several MKVs, MK9s, and MK16s along with one of the few airworthy Hurricanes still in existence, plus a Harvard and Cub.   But there are two new arrivals that will definitely be the stars of the collection.   One aircraft we have been asked to keep under wraps for the moment, but it will be a complete showstopper, and will surprise many people who will not realise this aircraft even exists.  Watch this space as Pirtek Erith has been promised they will be working on it.

Commercial flights

The other 'star' is a converted MK9 two-seater Spitfire.   Flown to Biggin at the end of 2014, the aircraft is being prepared for commercial flights this year. Pirtek Erith was asked to replace every hose on the aircraft for safety reasons, before public flights begin.   The Spitfire is now in the final phases of restoration and will be finished by April.

Double jointed

“We have been working on the collection for three years now. We started with the MKI, replacing oil and fuel lines in stainless steel with BSP fittings. We manufacture the hoses on site but the owners do all the fitting. We have now worked on the entire collection, supplying everything from a 1/2" rotar hose to stainless steel braided hoses for cooling, oil, fuel and hydraulics from 1/4" through to one and  1/4".   I am in complete admiration of the WWII fitters, as every part is shoehorned into the smallest space.  They are definitely a work of art in engineering, but I'm sure you have to be double jointed to work on them,” says Pirtek Erith Centre Manager Gary Woodhouse. 

Honoured

“With a restoration taking close on two and half years and costs in the millions, Pirtek feels honoured to helped in this unique collection.  Having totally renewed all the hose and pipe work on the two-seater, we will all look forward to seeing it fly.  However such has been the interest in flying in it, it will be a long time before I might get a chance to go up, as I think it is almost solidly booked for most of the year.'

For further details of the collection and how to book a flight see www.bigginhillheritagehangar.co.uk

 

 

 

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