The Roundup -

The 'Savior of Britain' Spitfire will be a Piece of History in Motion at the Airshow Sept 24 & 25


The MK959 Spitfire has an interesting and valuable history, and audiences will get to see it in action at the Wings of Freedom Airshow. * Photo courtesy of the Texas Flying Legends Museum

Pilot Warren Pietsch will be in Sidney for the Wings of Freedom Airshow, Sept. 24th and 25th and will give the audience a unique opportunity to see a historical Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX in action.

Supermarine originally designed the Spitfire as a racing plane in 1934, just before WWII. The aircraft's sleek design and over 400 mile-per-hour speeds grabbed the attention of the British government, and Supermarine quickly contracted with Great Britain, utilizing the plane as an interceptor fighter.

The 29' 11" plane with a wingspan of 36' 10" was equipped with six guns in total.

The Spitfire was instrumental in the Battle of Britain, and therefore has been referred to as the 'Savior of Britain'. The planes were used into the 1950s and there are only about 66 flying in the world, with only three of those in the United States.

The MK959 Spitfire that will be flown at the airshow has a rich and interesting history; it was initially assigned to the 39 Maintenance Unit at RAF Colerne where it awaited combat assignment. It was then assigned to the 302 Polish Squadron based at Chailey, England where it flew 14 RAMROD, or fighter escort missions. The focus of the 302 Squadron was transporting targets in France before the invasion of Normandy. Just days after D Day, MK959 was transferred to 329 Free French RAF Squadron based in Merston, England. It flew in 19 combat missions over the D Day beachhead on patrol. In August of 1944 it was transferred to the 165 Squadron and flew in 41 combat missions. Later it would go on to escort four Douglas Dakotas taking the exiled government back to it's rightful seat in Belgium.

Pietsch, who is the Chief Pilot and Director of a fleet of 13 WWII planes housed at the Texas Flying Legends Museum, has been a pilot since 1974. He grew up in a family of pilots and developed a keen interest in aviation history.

"It is a very pretty, efficient, and iconic airplane. It's one of the finer flying airplanes of all time; a thoroughbred in my opinion," Pietsch commented. "This is one of the aircrafts that helped maintain our freedom and way of life and performing at airshows is a way to honor the veterans who fought for those freedoms."

This Spitfire has flown at ten events this year, and will perform at three more in Texas following the Wings of Freedom Airshow. During the summer, it is on display at the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot, ND, and spends the winter months on display at Texas Flying Legends Museum in Houston, TX.

The airshow will be held at the Richland County Airport at 1:00pm both days and tickets are $15 for ages 15 and up, $10 for ages 6 – 14, and kids 5 and under are free. Tickets are on sale in Sidney at the Chamber of Commerce located at 909 S Central Ave., Richland Aviation located at 544 Airport Road, and Yellowstone Bank located at 120 2nd St. NW. For more information about the MK959 Spitfire and other unique and historic aircrafts, visit


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