This Man Built a WWII Fighter Plane by Hand


– The most recognizable thing in the sky, is obviously the
silhouette of the Spitfire. She’s just a beautiful lady, I assure a lot of men would like
to actually marry her. I’m sure their wives wouldn’t agree. There’s 396 parts in the Spitfire
seat, how do I know that? I built it. – [Narrator] This is Martin Phillips. – My name is Martin Phillips, and I am sitting next to my Spitfire RR232 which I’m the proud owner of. – [Narrator] Martin is
obsessed with Spitfires. – [Announcer] The big bombers join in pounding the shoreline. – [Narrator] In the darkest
days of World War II, Spitfires filled the skies above England. They are an icon, like freedom on wings. British kids make models of them. But Martin took his Spitfire devotion to a whole other level. For his 40th birthday, Martin’s friends gave him a single Spitfire rivet. – When I was presented with this rivet, the challenge was to go and
build myself a Spitfire, so on the spar of the
moment, not thinking, I said, “Why, I’ll go out on a Monday morning and I will build a Spitfire.” I never thought that over a period of 14 years, I’d had
probably wear three cars out with mileage, along the journey to provide all the parts
that you now see today. The fuel tanks, they came
from Norway and Sweden. Some of the other parts came from Russia, some of the parts came from Israel, some of the other parts came
from Holland, came from France. One of the wings was offered to us through a lost property department. And another wing came from a
little guy coming into work. He said, “I got a Spitfire
wing in my garden.” The man hours that go
into a project like this, don’t underestimate it, they are terrific and I know the blood, sweat
and tears that went into that. After 14 years, I know the
questions you’re gonna ask me, “Do you fly it?” Sadly, not. I am learning to fly and I hope, one day to fly it, but
greater guys than me fly it. – My name’s Matt Jones,
I’m a Spitfire pilot. The modern airliners fly
85% the speed of sound, they’ve got Spitfires flying
at 96, 97% the speed of sound. You don’t get in a
Spitfire, you strap it on and it becomes a part of you. Because the airplane means
so much to so many people, there are a lot of people who have gone down Martin’s path
and started thinking they wanna build a Spitfire. But I’ve never met anyone
else whose completed it. He dedicated his life to
finding the parts he needed to get this airplane flying again. – I went through these 14 years, had heartache when bits didn’t fit. Just putting it together and finishing it, and the providence and the journey, the journey I went on, you know, tears. Even today, I cry when it runs. It’s just been amazing,
absolutely amazing.

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