Great Body, Spindly Legs, Terrific Voice - Happy 75th Birthday by David McMahon

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Great Body, Spindly Legs, Terrific Voice - Happy 75th Birthday by 

And she looks good in warpaint, too! The Spitfire, one of the world’s most iconic fighters, turned 75 on 5 March. This was actually shot the day before, on Friday 4 March this year, at the Australian International Air Show.

This Spitfire, named Grey Nurse, was flown down for the air show from the Temora Aviation Museum in New South Wales. The last time I saw this aircraft, she was in a hangar in Temora in June 2009 getting a new engine.

The other two aircraft in this frame are a Boomerang (left) and a Gloster Meteor, also from Temora.

I do not crop, enhance or post-edit my images in any way. Shot with a Pentax K100D, using a Sigma 70-300mm lens. F6.7, 1/350 sec, ISO 200, focal length 150mm.

Featured in UNTOUCHABLES, March 2011.

Avalon Air Show 2011-3992

Walkley Award-nominated journalist, novelist and wedding photographer at

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  • Woodie
    Woodiealmost 4 years ago

    75 years ago, the year I was born. I was 4 years old when I watched the B of B overhead as I was living near Tangmere on the south coast. Brill shot and into faves Dave.
    Cheers Neil

  • Tangmere – you would have been right in the thick of it, Neil. Do you actually have memories of the BofB? My next novel deals entirely with this period and that precise setting. Thank you so much for the fav. Light was not great that evening, but it worked well with the camo paint.

    – David McMahon

  • Ranald
    Ranaldalmost 4 years ago

    Indeed. Happy birthday dear shrew. Nice meteor (been in one of them) and is that a boomerang making a return to the scene?

  • You’ve BEEN in a Meteor? More details, please, Ranald!

    – David McMahon

  • Ranald
    Ranaldalmost 4 years ago

    Oops, it could be a Harvard.

  • There were four Havards alongside, but that’s a Boomerang. Great recognition skills.

    – David McMahon

  • Ranald
    Ranaldalmost 4 years ago

    No, I have to accept my 1st answer. The canopy & head rest scream boomerang.

  • Not many people would be able to identify a Boomerang, so you’ve done VERY well, Ranald.

    – David McMahon

  • WolfPause
    WolfPausealmost 4 years ago

    Gotta love these old planes – nice shot

  • It was great to hear that engine and see it roar past. Got some great shots of aerobatics and the wonderul landing, too.

    – David McMahon

  • Indrani Ghose
    Indrani Ghosealmost 4 years ago

    Thrilling to see just the pic, I cannot imagine what it must be to see it in real.
    Great capture.

  • Thanks so much, Indrani. Next time you visit Australia, head up to Temora and you too can see it for yourself. It’s well worth the trip!

    – David McMahon

  • Bairdzpics
    Bairdzpicsalmost 4 years ago

    Great shot, seeing a spitfire is always a pleasure

  • Thanks very much – watching it fly is amazing. And about 18 months ago, I posted an RB shot taken while I was sitting in the cockpit of the “sister” Spitfire to this one, a Mark XVI at Temora.

    – David McMahon

  • Chipper
    Chipperalmost 4 years ago

    Congrats on being featured in the “Untouchables” group!
    I like the composition. Your work is consistently remarkable!

  • That is such wonderful news … and I thank you very sincerely for your last sentence. My humble thanks.

    – David McMahon

  • Allen Gray
    Allen Grayabout 3 years ago

    Nice profile of the Spit, “Grey Nurse” has to be the most recognized Spit in Australia, just about every photographer who takes shooting aircraft seriously has at least three or four shots of her (in my case, at least three dozen!) It was the Metor that I picked up in this shot, by the flash of yellow and green writing under the cockpit, which is a yellow stencil of Tasmaina with Halestorm written in Green. This was the mount of George Hale, who was the last pilot to down a enemy aircraft in a comabt engagement, credited with one probable destroyed MiG-15 and one damaged during a combat engagement in Korea. As a good Tassie boy, I’m always on the lookout for this Meteor and it’s connection to my little home state!

  • Allen Gray
    Allen Grayabout 3 years ago

    I should have pointed out the Capt. Hale was the last RAAF pilot to down a enemy aircraft!!!

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