Welcome to the Spitfire Restoration Project. Spitfire 5518 arrived in South Africa in 1947 and served in the Cape and at Waterkloof Air Force Base before being decommissioned. She then served as a gate guard at Waterkloof for a number of years. In the early 1990s the South African Air Force Museum motivated the restoration of an iconic Spitfire to flying condition to serve as the star attraction at Air Force Air Shows to promote the Air Force and aviation amongst the youth. 5518 took to the skies in 1994 as 5553 "The Spirit of Reutech". Unfortunately she crashed at an air show at Zwartkop in 2000 and was consigned to a container.

  Spitfire N/S 5518 at Zwartkop AFB

Ian Grace and Col Tony Smit (a former Officer Commanding and intimately involved with the first restoration), over the past few years, started lobbying for Spitfire 5518 to be rebuilt. After a number of presentations to the Museum Council, the go ahead was given to the Pretoria Branch of the Friends of the South African Air Force Museum to manage the project on behalf of the South African Air Force Museum in October 2014.

The aim of this website is to provide:

  • Information about 5518's history
  • The personalities involved
  • Restoration news and progress
  • News about partners and sponsors involvement
  • Spitfire related news and articles

Latest news and articles on Spitfire S/N5518 (5553)

Here are the latest articles on the famous Spitfire A-XK! Keep coming back for more!

Don Bell: Aviation Artist

The Spitfire Restoration project has been fortunate to be given a painting of Spitfire S/N 5518 by Don Bell!

Click here to visit Don Bell's website to view the print list and to order reproductions of the glorious painting to help raise funds for the Spitfire!

Don was born in 1948 in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape. At the age of six years moved to the coastal city of Port Elizabeth in the same province, where he has lived ever since. He started drawing and painting at a very young age and took private tuition in oil painting with the renowned fine artist and lecturer, Andre Vancoillie. He also studied water colours privately under Paul Lavender. He has an aviation art gallery in the Port Elizabeth South African Air Force Museum.