Replica Spitfire will take to the skies after engineer finishes 16-year passion project
Steve Markham spent 11,250 hours piecing the aircraft together in a barn at his home, assisted by his wife Kay.
Now, 16 years after he started the project, the qualified pilot has received the green light to fly the handmade plane.
Although his first planned trip is to travel across the Solent to the Isle of Wight for ice cream, Mr Markham has his sights set further afield.
He said that next summer he was going to “get up early” and fly to Rome with his wife, have “a nice Italian lunch” and “then fly back the same day”.
The 200mph aircraft is a replica of the PL793, a Photo Reconnaissance Spitfire, which was based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire in the last year of the Second World War.
Mr Markham said that his plane was a tribute to the RAF servicemen who flew them:
Without the RAF and their success in World War Two, the lives of my generation would have been very different. We owe them a great debt. Steve Markham
(From The Telegraph, 3rd October 2022 – Telegraph Reporters)
Banner photograph: Steve Markham in his replica WWII Spitfire
A hand-built Spitfire gets airborne.
You can also see a 2.5 minute video, made by Steve’s ex-flatmate Robin Lovelock, of Steve and Kay Markham who have been given the go ahead to take to the air for the first time in their home made Spitfire. Mr. Markham says he was inspired by “Reach for the Sky“, the film of Sir Douglas Bader’s life.
I think Douglas would have been the first to applaud Mr. Markham’s brilliant achievement. And would probably have asked to have a go at piloting it too!
Congratulations to Steve and Kay Markham on completing such an ambitious and far-sighted goal. What a fantastic legacy. How many people would have given up when the going got tough? And how satisfying must that first flight have felt after 16 years in the making? I’m sure Mr. Markham’s story will inspire others to look beyond the “easy” ways of achieving their dreams! We hope that they get huge pleasure from taking to the air in a ‘plane they built themselves. They deserve to.