Jon Ambler, our Museum’s Programme Manager and Volunteer Coordinator reflects on the process of getting the Y2K Spitfire to its current state and to bringing the aircraft “back home” to its beginnings:
“We were all delighted to see the Roseland Spitfire, callsign Y2K, return to the Comox Valley this summer. The flights of the Spitfire were the culmination of 18 years of work: initially by the Comox Air Force Museum, who put in nine years of hard work, made possible only by the dedicated efforts of seemingly tireless volunteers. In 2009 the baton was handed over to Vintage Wings of Canada, who continued to make progress through a formal partnership with CAFM. In 2014 the Spitfire was moved to VWOC headquarters in Gatineau PQ, where their considerable resources were applied, the aircraft finished and test flown.
There were some promises made, and we can proudly state that the promises were kept. Every person who donated money, materiel, time and effort did so on the promise that “The Y2K Spitfire will fly again”: we have seen that promise kept. VWOC promised that the Spitfire would be marked Y2K, and although it was named the Roseland Spitfire, in honour of 442(f) Sqn pilot Arnie Roseland who was killed on operations, it was still the Comox Spitfire. The Spitfire’s civilian registration is GYQQ, and we know the identifier of Comox Airport is YQQ: promise kept. Finally, VWOC promised that the Spitfire would return to the Comox Valley, and, triumphantly, that promise has been kept.
Upon reflection, one key step in that process can easily be overlooked, and I seek to resolve that in this post. By late 2008 it had become apparent that CAFM did not have the resources to finish the restoration. Captain John Low, CAFM Director, and Terry Chester had recognised the problem and they conducted a formal Options Analysis. It was their careful work that analysed the situation and then identified and implemented the way ahead. Their work to transfer the Y2K Project to Vintage Wings of Canada has been proven 100% to be the best choice. At the time it was unpopular, but they knew it was necessary, and they both had the guts and integrity to do the right thing. We all owe them a big debt of thanks. Per Ardua indeed!”