Hurricane fighter plane which cost £2m to restore ‘wrecked’ after 20 minute flight

It took 78 years and £2 million in restoration costs to return the World War Two Hurricane fighter to the skies, but only a 20 minute flight to wreck it.

The plane, which flew during the Battle of Britain, was only in service for four days before it was shot down over Kent by a German Messerschmitt Bf109 on September 28 1940.

Landing in a bog near Canterbury, it lay undiscovered for decades until the 1990s when it was excavated by a group of metal detectorists. 

It wasn’t until August 2018, following a two year restoration costing £2 million, that it flew again and has since clocked up around 34 hours of flying time. 

But more bad luck struck the iconic plane on June 1 of this year after a 20 minute maintenance flight, when its undercarriage collapsed as it landed at Duxford Airfield, Cambridgeshire.

A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) partly blamed the accident on the unidentified pilot for failing to properly control the aircraft.

The Hurricane after it was restored took to the skies for the first time in 2018 

Credit: Nigel Iskander / SWNS

It also found that an 11mph crosswind had helped cause the 350mph aircraft to "bounce" and veer to the right on the hard grass runway, putting pressure on the undercarriage.

The 60-year-old pilot walked away unhurt from the stricken plane before it was sprayed with foam by the airfield’s firefighters to prevent a blaze.

The plane is now undergoing restoration once again, with hopes it will be up and flying again by next year, according to Andrew Wenman, of Hawker Restorations which carried out the original restoration works, and retained ownership of 25 per cent of the plane.

Commenting on the incident, Mr Wenman told The Telegraph: “I was very grateful no one was hurt… It’s obviously heartbreaking for it to happen, we’ve just restored it and released it, we want it to be up in the sky doing its thing.”

The restoration was led by neurosurgeon Peter Kirkpatrick, a qualified pilot and a neurosurgeon at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. In January he revealed that he hoped to fly the Hurricane at air shows.