The Hunt Begins

David Cundall and his 21 man team have arrived in Myanmar to begin the search for dozens of British Spitfire fighter planes that were have said to have been buried at the end of World War II.



The 21-member team, led by farmer and businessman David Cundall, will start excavations soon near the airport in the main city, Yangon.
Cundall said the aircraft were buried in wooden crates as surplus, around 30 feet (10 meters) under the surface. He estimated that the project would take about four to six weeks to complete.
“We are expecting them to be in first-class condition,” Cundall said shortly after arriving at the international airport in Yangon.

The planes believed to be in Myanmar were buried by American engineers as the war drew to a close. Searchers hope they are in pristine condition, but Andy Brockman, a freelance archaeologist who is part of the search team, said it was possible all they might find is a mass of corroded metal and rusty aircraft parts.

Nevertheless, he said, “I’m very confident that we’ll have answers to the story of what happened … in 1945.”

The search team says 36 Spitfires are believed to be buried near Yangon airport, while another 18 are in Myitkyina in northern Kachin state and six more are buried in Meikthila in central Myanmar.  source

Some interesting facts about the Spitfire:

  • More than 20,000 Spitfires were built in 24 different ‘Marks’.
  • The plane first flew in the RAF in 1938 and was retired by 1957
  • One of the proposed names for the fighter was ‘The Shrew’
  • Its designer RJ Mitchell only lived long enough to see the prototype fly in 1937
  • The Mark 1 fought during the Battle of Britain. The Mark IX was used over Normandy
  • Making a propeller to fit a restored plane today costs £55,000
  • Fuel costs £500 an hour and the insurance is £50,000 a year


Love the sound of the spitfire, it never gets old.


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  • ConwayCaptain

    These are Griffin Powered Spits not Merlin.

    • In Vino Veritas

      Conway, MkVIII were Merlins. This Spit was originally sent to Sydney in 1944.for the RAAF. It was bought by Robs Lamplough around 1979 from Marshall Airways and is now owned by Max Alpha Aviation in Eschbach, Germany, and is based at Bremgarten.

  • Mitch82

    Four to six weeks to complete the project – seems very quick.

  • Whafe

    The noise of a Spitfire or Mustang is a sound that covers me with goosebumps and makes my insides hum, nothing better sound wise….. Sensational noise…

    • Economist

      Rolls Royce Merlin. There’s on on permanent display in the Science Museum in South Kensington – with good reason. Right next to the flying bedstead (Harrier prototype).

  • Gazzaw

    What a great story this is. A touch of Indiana Jones!

  • In Vino Veritas

    Absolutely beautiful. I was talking to a chap in Taupo about this a few months back and told him that if I had the loose change required, I’d buy one, get my pilots licence and fly it. He was an old guy who as it turned out, taught people to fly. He’d flown a Spitfire and said it was a beautiful aircraft when you got it in the air, but dicey to take off and land as it was difficult to see when the tail was down. He reckoned that most of the accidents that occurred with Spitfires, even in the war, were on take off or landing.

    • blazer

      the most dangerous time for flying any aircraft is takeoff and landing.

  • Rodger T

    I am regretting not getting a screen shot of the Herald article on this yesterday,the stock pic was of a Typhoon.They must have got word cos` they changed it.

    Totally expected it to appear here yesterday.

    • Travis Poulson

      We’ve got them paranoid now.

  • Never in the dark…..

    Where’s Myanmar? Oh you mean Burma……

    • Gazzaw

      Yes, the capital is Yangon. Oh I meant Rangoon.

  • cows4me

    This guy was on the box the other day i think it was CNN, They all ready know where the planes are, ground penerterating radar. They reacon the planes would be worth millions of dollars.

    • Hugewon

      Lets hope they don’t get robbed when they find them

    • In Vino Veritas

      About 1 million pounds per plane I believe.

  • KiaOra

    Dollars to donuts that nothing turns up. If it does, it will be rubbish. Decades of stories of Jeeps in crates have come to nothing. Buried in the tropics for 65 years and still “mint” – ome on. USA routinely trashed material in dumps or at sea so that it did not affect the post war economy, like “million dollar point” at Espirito Santo, Vanuatu. I understand that the largest sale of war material to a private company by the US was actually here in NZ when GT Gillies brought 1,250 trucks. They were in NZ for reconditioning at the end of the war.