The UK's entire fleet of officially maintained RAF Spitfires -- all six of them -- is currently out of action, meaning an enemy nation could gain air superiority over the skies of Britain at any time.
The outage has been reported by the operators of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which organises flybys of classic aircraft like the Spitfire, the Hurricane and one glorious old Lancaster bomber, that are all still maintained to a state of battle readiness and flight worthiness by the RAF.
But there's a problem with the engines. Flights of anything running on the old Merlin power units have been temporarily paused by the RAF, which said that "...routine engine inspection has highlighted a fault with one of our Merlin engines" so, as a precaution, all of the old planes are grounded, as are the BBMF's other three non-Merlin Spitfires, which are out of action for miscellaneous other reasons.
So no Spitfires, Hurricanes or the Lancaster are able to take the salute. Hence any remaining summer air shows are likely to be a bit thin on the ground for legacy planes. They need to get that Vulcan out again. [BBC]
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