Page last updated at 09:24 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 10:24 UK

Pilot is reunited with his WWII Spitfire in London

Spitfire pilot recalls missions

A pilot has been reunited with a part of a Spitfire he flew in World War II after it was found in Canada.

Wing Cdr Peter Ayerst signed the piece of the aircraft, which he piloted on a test flight in 1945, at an event in Biggin Hill, south-east London.

The 89-year-old, from Westcliff, Essex, recalled "many hairy moments" he had flying Spitfires during WWII.

The plane, bought for £350,000 in 2009, is currently being restored in Canada in order to return it to the skies.

Wing Cdr Ayerst, who trained pilots to fly aircrafts in WWII, also flew Spitfires during the Battle of Britain.

'Hairy moments'

Marcel Deschamps, who found the Spitfire and now owns it, said it was amazing to see the veteran pilot.

"Most of these pilots died during the war and this guy, 65 years after test flying, is still alive," he said.

"When you think about it, it is incredible."

Recalling his time on the front line, Wing Cdr Ayerst recounted being rescued after being shot down in enemy territory in 1942.

He said: "I had so many hairy moments.

"I was in the desert air force for two years and I got shot down and I was way above enemy territory.

"The German troops were firing on me all the time."

Refurbished plane

However he was found and returned to his base.

He said: "It took me two or three days to get back to my unit."

The event at St George's Chapel was organised by the Spitfire Society and the signed aircraft piece will be added to the plane.

It will take five years to fully restore the plane, which was one of 22,000 spitfires used in the WWII. Only 50 of those remain in flying condition.

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