Lowestoft-based replica Spitfire damaged in accident
- Credit: Archant
It was a labour of love for 28 years as Terry Arlow painstakingly worked on building a replica of a Spitfire.
He went on to proudly show off his handiwork at events, but today the Lowestoft man is facing up to the prospect of carrying out 18 months of repairs after the aircraft was badly damaged in a road crash.
The non-flying replica Spitfire MK805 was left embedded in a hedge following yesterday's accident near Guildford, in Surrey,
Mr Arlow and his Simply Spitfire crew were on their way to a 1940s weekend display on the Isle of Wight when the trailer carrying the static aircraft sheared off and crashed into an embankment – causing substantial damage to the rear of the plane.
It happened at about 11.15am on the southbound carriageway of the A3 near Burntcommon.
The crash came less than a week after the Spitfire had appeared at the Armed Forces Day event on the Royal Green – one of the main highlights in the Lowestoft events calendar.
A post on the Simply Spitfire Facebook page last night said: 'As some of you may have already heard the Spitfire and crew were involved in an accident earlier today (Friday, July 1).
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'The team are all fine, just a bit shaken.
'We will be assessing the damage to the aircraft and will update when we have got her back home.'
Mr Arlow was unavailable for comment last night, but earlier in the day he told Eagle Radio, based in Surrey and Hampshire: 'I'm just mystified – I really am.
'It's going to be a lot of work to repair the damage – but it can be done, a good 18 months.'
The accident caused long delays in the area, with two lanes initially closed on the road.
Eyewitness Daniel Noye was travelling on the opposite carriageway when he passed the incident.
'The plane was in two sections – the fuselage and tail sections were separate,' he explained.
'The whole of the A3 going back to the M25 was blocked off.
'I was thinking 'is this a plane that has crashed from the sky or has it just fallen from a lorry',' added Mr Noye.
A Surrey Police spokesman said: 'At around 11.15am a vehicle with a trailer attached carrying a light aircraft was travelling on the motorway when the trailer became detached and left the road before colliding with a tree.
'There were no reports of any injuries.'