These Mk IX LF Spitfires were optimised for low altitude operations – meaning about 20,000ft. But a couple of pilots from 222 Squadron take advantage of a break in the rain and mist in early December 1943 to get in some very low flying practice near their base in Essex.
One of these aircraft, MH434 (foreground), is still flying but this Flight Artworks realisation restores it to its wartime appearance – involving changes to intake, exhaust, cowling, wing blisters, roundels, squadron codes and registration – and pilot. Weathering added. The other aircraft depicted, ZD-K, is MH423.
NEWS UPDATE: I’m delighted to say that this picture was selected by Sarah Hanna of The Old Flying Machine Company, MH434’s owner, as the image for their 2012 Christmas branding.