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Pilot crash lands Spitfire at Biggin Hill Airport

Pilot crash lands Spitfire at Biggin Hill Airport Credit: PA Images

The pilot who crash landed a Spitfire at Biggin Hill Airport after it suffered engine trouble has been praised for his "textbook" emergency skills. Dan Griffith received shoulder and arm injuries when the Second World War fighter plane got in to difficulty soon after the 12.36pm take-off.

London Biggin Hill Airport said the pilot had reported a rough-running engine. A statement from Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar Ltd, supporters club, said:

"Spitfire MK912 this afternoon suffered a loss of power after take-off and forced landed back on the airfield. The aircraft is badly damaged but pilot Dan Griffith carried out a textbook forced landing and is OK.

He brought the single engine plane down safely in an emergency landing on a grass area within the airport grounds."

– Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar Ltd

Will Curtis, managing director of the airport company, said:

"Spitfires are very much a part of our heritage here at Biggin Hill and we must commend the pilot on his swift and decisive action in the circumstances. We look forward to seeing the aircraft flying again before too long."

– Will Curtis

A London Ambulance Service spokesman said:

"We treated one patient - a man in his 50s for shoulder and arm injuries. He was taken to King's College Hospital. His condition is not thought to be life threatening or changing."

– London Ambulance Service

Scotland Yard said that no-one else was on board when the single seater plane crash landed.

The Spitfire, which took part in the Battle of Britain 75 years ago, will be repaired and eventually returned to service. The airport is home base for the Heritage Hangar where a number of Hurricanes and Spitfires are restored and maintained. An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) spokesman said: "AAIB is aware and will be investigating."

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Artists' impression of a spitfire statue Credit: Southampton City Council

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A spitfire waits to take to the skies in Kent Credit: ITV Meridian

A World War 2 fighter pilot will fulfill his lifelong ambition to fly a spitfire today - at the age of ninety. Neville Croucher, from Dover, flew a Hawker Hurricane in the war but never had the chance to fly a Spitfire.

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They were the iconic aircraft of World War Two, fighting above the skies of Southern England during the Battle of Britain. They were once produced in their thousands in factories in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.

Now there are only 40 Spitfires still flying in the world. One more has joined their number though, seven decades after the aircraft's heyday following a restoration project lasting four years. Derek Johnson reports.

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