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Thursday 8 December 2016

Veteran pilot kept out of spitfire

Published 09/01/2012 | 03:08

A wartime RAF pilot has told how he was not allowed to sit in the cockpit of a Spitfire at a museum
A wartime RAF pilot has told how he was not allowed to sit in the cockpit of a Spitfire at a museum

A Second World War fighter pilot has spoken out against "ridiculous" health and safety concerns which prevented him from sitting in the cockpit of a stationary Spitfire on show at a museum.

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Eric Carter, 91, was told he could not clamber aboard the Spitfire because paint containing a radioactive substance had been used to refurbish its instrument panel.

Mr Carter, from Chaddesley Corbett, Worcestershire, thanked staff at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent for inviting him to view the Spitfire and making him welcome during a visit late last year.

It is understood that the Spitfire did not have a proper seat fitted and for that reason officials at the museum were concerned for Mr Carter's welfare given his age.

But Mr Carter said: "That wouldn't have mattered anyway because I could have stood where the seat was.

"I don't think they meant any harm, and they gave me a lovely day out at their museum, which is great.

"I think they had their reasons, and they were probably just trying to be extra careful, which was very nice - I just wish the Luftwaffe had been so caring."

Professing himself to be amused rather than angry at being told he could not enter the fighter's cockpit, the war hero, who served in a secret RAF unit deployed to Arctic Russia, added: "It just seemed a bit ridiculous."

Press Association

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