I was intrigued to learn that UK farmer David Cundall mayhave located 20 or more Spitfires in Myanmar, buried in their original shippingcrates. If the discovery turns out to be the real deal, it makes a finecounterpoint to Australia’s decision last year to bury 23 F-111s beneath alandfill – apparently there is a very real concern with asbestos and otherhazardous materials used in these old airframes.
Media reports suggest Cundall’s plans are well advanced,with the aircraft having been located, and a camera shoved down a borehole toexamine them. Cundall learned of theaircraft speaking to British vets of the Burmese front. They claimed to haveburied the aircraft in 1945 following the end of WWII.
Though the aircraft are reportedly well packaged in waxpaper and so forth, one wonders how well preserved they could be. Sixty yearsunderground in the soggy climate of Burma is a very long time. There are verygood reasons why the USA stores old aircraft in the arid climes of Arizona andCalifornia as opposed to the swamps of Florida or Louisiana. All it would takeis a few broken seals to corrode these Burmese Spitfires.
In any event, the west is having a love-in with the Burmeseregime, which these days shows signs of becoming more democratic. A more openregime could well see Cundall’s dream come true. Perhaps the old aircraft willbe excavated and shipped home – just the thought of the paperwork and expenseinvolved gives one pause – with a few examples becoming airworthy again someday.
In 2072 will Asian Skies write about a plan to dig up 23 formerRAAF F-111s?