Thank goodness for men and machines such as these.
One of Britain's finest pilots took to the skies above East Anglia yesterday in a Spitfire he last flew more than 60 years ago.
Alex Henshaw, 92, was the chief test pilot at Castle Bromwich, near Birmingham, the largest factory producing Spitfires and Lancaster bombers during the Second World War, and was responsible for taking hundreds of aircraft into the air.
Yesterday he was once more at the controls of a Mark IV Spitfire, lovingly rebuilt after surviving the war only to crash 55 years later.
Although another pilot took off and landed the aircraft, Mr Henshaw flew it over the Cambridgeshire countryside using its dual controls.
"It brought all the memories flooding back," he said. "Those young men went into combat with only five or six hours' flying experience in it. If it had not been for the Spitfire, a wonderfully easy aircraft to fly, they would not have survived. If it had not been for the Spitfire, Britain would not have survived. It has been such a privilege flying one again today."
Mr Henshaw ended his 30-minute flight with a loop-the-loop and a string of victory rolls.
The aircraft is the property of Karel Bos, 76, a millionaire industrialist who fell in love with Spitfires after seeing them in action above his home in Alkmaar, in the Netherlands.
What a great story!