Pristine Spitfires Found in Burma


This story is not about JSF, or Rafale or Typhoon or Gripen but about one of the world's legendary planes: the Spitfire, a large number of which – up to 120 – were found in almost pristine condition in Burma last February and are now going to be returned to the UK.

Thanks to an English farmer's dogged determination and willingness to spend a considerable amount of his own money, the Griffon-engined Mark XIVs Spitfires have been located and British Prime Minister David Cameron has secured a deal that will allow them to be dug up and shipped back to Britain almost 67 years after they were hidden more than 40-feet below ground.

The aircraft were discovered in February by English farmer David Cundall, 62, who has spent 15 years, travelled 12 times to Burma and spent more than £130,000 in his quest. Using radar imaging technology Cundall found the aircraft buried at a former Royal Air Force base. They had been shipped to Burma and then travelled by train to the RAF base during the war, but were never used because by the end of the war they were nearing obsolescence. Unwilling to leave high-performance, if out-dated, aircraft in a country with an uncertain future, Britain’s South East Asia command decided to bury them. As many as 120 Spitfires, original cost about £12,000, may have been disposed of in this way.

“They were just buried there in transport crates,” Cundall told the Daily Telegraph which published the story today (May 7). “They were waxed, wrapped in greased paper and their joints tarred. They will be in near perfect condition.”

The £500,000 excavation of the planes is being funded by the UK-based Boultbee Flight Academy and will start imminently.

You can read the full story with all the details here.

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

on Jan 14, 2015

Mr. Cundall certainly deserves a return on his money for his determination in making this fabulous find.

Surely, this could become a worthwhile video.

on Jan 14, 2015

P.S.; It reminds me of the crates of DH Tiger Moths found at Croydon Airport many years ago.

I suspect that there will be a similar discovery of F-35's a few years from now. ;)

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Ares?

Aviation Week's defense blog

From The Archives

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Aug 27, 2015

Aviation Week Lifts Veil On Boeing B-52 Bomber (1952) 20

In 1952, Aviation Week provided the first details on the new Boeing B-52 bomber....More
Aug 14, 2015

Bonanza Travel Pays 3

The legendary Beechcraft Bonanza has an impressive production record, so perhaps the marketers back in 1949 were onto something when they coined the phrase "Bonanza travel pays."...More
Aug 14, 2015

Venerable Boeing 727 Prototype To Fly Again 29

The most famous 727, the prototype aircraft which would join United as N7001U, was delivered to the airline in October 1964 having served its time as a Boeing test aircraft....More
Aug 13, 2015

Aviation Week And The Bomb

Aviation News did not predict how nuclear weapons would change the world. But neither did anyone else....More
Aug 13, 2015

Collins Radar Takes The Ups And Downs Out Of Flying

Turbulence? Rockwell Collins had a solution for those bumpy rides in the early 80s with its WXR-700 Doppler Weather Radar....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×