THE AIRFORCE - AIRCRAFT - SPITFIRE MK IXE (MUSEUM)
Spitfire Mk IXe (Museum)
TE213 was the 5556th Mk IX built, rolling out of Castle Bromwich in May 1945. On arrival in South Africa in August 1947, she was allocated the number 5518. After an eventfull career which included a collision with another Spitfire and a drogue cable, she was taken out of service in 1954. In 1955 a decision was taken to erect a gate guard at AFB Waterkloof and 5518 was given a chance at surviving being scrapped.
She was thus displayed on pole at Waterkloof from 1954 to 1985 as 5518, W5851, and W5518.
In 1985s he was accorded her true value and removed from the pylons and taken to the SAAF Museum at Lanseria airport near Johannesburg for restporation to airworthy condition. The restoration was performed by Atlas Aircraft Corporation with sponsored by Reutech. First flight was in October 1995, painted as 5553 / AX-K, named Spirit of Reutech.
At the SAAF Museum Flying Day at Swartkops, Pretoria on 15 April 2000, she suffered an engine malfunction. The pilot, Lt-Col Neil Thomas (OC SAAF Museum), escaped with minor injuries during an emergency forced landing.
The airframe has been stored and it is expected she will be once again restored.