Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI

The Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI is a part of the Royal Australian Air Force’s Temora Historic Flight.

This Supermarine Mk XVI Spitfire is an ex-wartime example, built at Vickers Armstrong’s Castle Bromwich “shadow factory”, near Birmingham, in late 1944.

The aircraft’s first action was on 24 March (wearing squadron code FU-P) when, laden with two 250lb bombs and a long range belly tank, the aircraft headed a flight of four Spitfires for an armed reconnaissance; briefed to bomb rail targets in the Utrecht/Hague/Leiden area. TB863’s cannons were fired in anger for the first time during a strafing attack on a large railway coach by the four, claimed as probably destroyed, before returning to altitude. The aircraft continued with these sorties flying twelve missions during its six weeks on operations; 23 hours 55 minutes in total.

On 17 July 1951, TB863 suffered a take-off mishap and was struck off charge as scrap. The aircraft was subsequently purchased by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a stage prop for their film on wartime pilot Douglas Bader, filmed in 1955 as “Reach for the Sky”. It is thought that the aircraft was used for cockpit shots at MGM’s studios where, on completion of the filming, the Spitfire was placed, minus an engine, in the props room for possible future use. Twelve years later, TB863 emerged to be dusted down for a further film role in the “Battle of Britain”. The aircraft was utilised as a spares supplier for those aircraft actually flying in the film.

Temora Aviation Museum acquired the aircraft in April 2006. The aircraft was disassembled by the Alpine Fighter Collection Team and shipped to Temora NSW where it was reassembled and registered as VH-XVI. It is one of only three flying Spitfires in Australia, of which two are part of the Temora Historic Flight. 


Supermarine Aviation Works






1710 horsepower (1275.66 kW) 27 Litre liquid cooled V-12 piston engine equipped with a two speed, two-stage supercharger


Length 9.55m, height 3.85m




2,715 kg basic, 3,946 kg maximum


692 km


40,500 feet

Max Speed

669 km/h