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G7 Set for Riveting Spitfire Performance

Senior representatives to the G7 Summit, being held June 11-13, 2021, in England, will have the opportunity to get hands-on experiencing building a warbird.

On June 9, they visited the Trelonk estate in Cornwall in the United Kingdom to assist a team of apprentices and aviation engineers building a replica of the St. Ives and Cornwall Presentation Spitfire by the Parnall Aircraft Company.

In December 1941, following 15 months of fundraising by the local community, the St. Ives Spitfire fund reached its target of £5,000, enabling the construction of Spitfire BL709 in early 1942.

BL709 spent its life in the service of 340 Squadron, with 13 “free French” pilots at its controls taking part in 49 missions. Unfortunately, on June 12, 1942, less than six months into operations, the plane was severely damaged during a raid. Despite its short career, the plane remains an immense source of pride for the community of St. Ives, according to Parnall Aircraft officials.

The company is building a historically accurate non-flying recreation of BL709. With the cockpit and fuselage largely complete, focus is now turning to riveting the aircraft’s elliptical wings.

That’s the task the team hopes to get VIP assistance on during the visit from the G7 representatives, according to officials with the company, which was founded in 1919 and is a former partner to Vickers Supermarine on Spitfire production.

While the aircraft is being built as a monument to British design and the people of St. Ives, it’s not just a celebration of the past, according to Parnall Aircraft’s Founder & CEO Mark Parnall.

“Through the Parnall Foundation’s apprenticeship scheme, this project has provided opportunities for young engineers to develop their skills for the future and become qualified aviation engineers, under the tutelage of world-class experts,” Parnall said.