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A 1947 Shell advertisement published in the magazine Aeronave, proudly showing Argentina’s sole Spitfire PR Mk. XI shortly after its direct flight over the Atlantic in the hands of Capitán Jaime Storey (in the cockpit).
Acquired by a civilian operator for aerial mapping purposes, the Spitfire PR Mk. XI PL972 was purchased from Air Ministry surplus in 1947. Argentinean ex-RAF PRU Spitfire pilot, Capitán Jaime (James) Storey brought the aircraft to the country, flying on 29 April 1947 from Hurn, England, via Gibraltar, Dakar, then over the Atlantic to Natal, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo and then finally to Buenos Aires. With a 170-gallon slipper tank and two custom-built 20-gal tanks in the wing roots, the aircraft could carry over 400 gallons of fuel to an endurance of 10 hours, marginally more than 8,5 hours required for a direct Atlantic crossing. The flight was completed on May 5, 1947.
Storey’s endeavour counts as the longest recorded Spitfire flight ever. As his aircraft lacked long-range navigation instruments, the passage of the ocean was made in the company of Avro York of British South American Airways (BSAA). The Shell oil company provided fuel, lubricants and service enroute.
Upon arrival at Buenos Aires the Spitfire received the civil registration LV-NMZ. [Ricardo Dacoba coll.]