Thursday 6th October 2022
A Spitfire that was built from scratch by an RAF Benevolent Fund supporter has been approved to fly.
Steve Markham, of Odiham, Hampshire, built the Mk26 80 per cent scale replica in one of the barns at his farm from 2006 to 2017, taking a total of 11,250 hours to create.
The aircraft has recently been permitted to fly by the Civil Aviation Authority and Light Aircraft Association.
As the project progressed and interest grew Steve held talks on the build while collecting money for the RAF Benevolent Fund as he did so.
He said: “During the first 11 years of building ‘The Odiham Spitfire’ I would frequently get calls from strangers asking if they could come and see it. One of the earliest was a retired RAF engineer who was based at RAF Odiham at the end of World War Two. Through him I learnt of the great work that the RAF Benevolent Fund does and decided to ask all subsequent visitors to make a donation.”
On what inspired the build Mark said: “I saw the film ‘Reach For The Sky’ as a child. It is about Douglas Bader who flew Spitfires in the war despite having two artificial legs. Then in the ‘70s, after getting my private pilot’s licence and purchasing an aircraft, I met Bader at White Waltham airfield from where he also flew. In the late ‘70s I tried to buy the remains of a World War Two Spitfire that needed rebuilding but was out-bid. In the mid-‘90s my second attempt was to buy a share in an airworthy Spitfire, but the owner ended up selling the whole thing to a buyer from Belgium. Finally, third time lucky, in 2005 I became aware of the possibility to build my own replica spitfire and went ahead.”
The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF’s leading welfare charity, providing practical, financial, and emotional support to RAF personnel, veterans, and their partners and dependants. If you know a member of the RAF Family in need, please go to rafbf.org to find out how the Fund could help.