Pilot, 41, is killed after replica Spitfire crashes shortly after takeoff during a test flight in Poland
- The model came from a private museum dedicated to the 303 Squadron which fought in the Battle of Britain
- The cause of the crash is not yet known and the pilot was the only person on board when it crashed in a forest
- An investigation has begun into the accident which occurred in the village of Napoleon in Silesia
A model of a WWII Spitfire has crashed in a forest in Poland shortly after taking off, killing its 41-year-old pilot.
The plane came from a private museum dedicated to the 303 Squadron in Silesia and it crashed in the nearby village of Napoleon.
The cause of the crash is not yet known but it is believed it occurred not long after taking off and was heading to the city of Plock.
A model Spitfire has crashed in a forest in Poland, killing the 41-year-old professional pilot who was the only person on board
There were 16 Polish squadrons in the RAF during the War and the 303 was the highest scoring of the Hurricane squadrons during the Battle of Britain
The 41-year-old professional pilot was the only person on board and an investigation into the accident has already begun, according to RMF24.
The 303 Squadron museum is dedicated to artefacts from modern Polish aviation with a particular emphasis on WWII.
There were 16 Polish squadrons in the RAF during the War and the 303 was the most successful fighting unit in the Battle of Britain in terms of enemy aircraft shot down.
The Polish were keen to fight but initially the RAF would not let them fly operationally because few of them spoke English and there was concern about their morale.
The plane crashed in the forest in the village of Napoleon in Silesia shortly after taking off. The cause of the crash is not yet known
The plane came from a private museum of the 303 Squadron which celebrates Polish aviation and their contribution to WWII
But having come through the Polish and French campaigns during the War, what RAF commanders did not realise was that many Polish pilots were far more experienced than their English counterparts.
As the Battle of Britain wore on, the shortage of trained pilots became a serious problem and the Polish exiles were accepted.
Squadrons 302 and 303 were formed in July 1940 and 303 was based at RAF Northolt in South Ruislip.
They fought superbly, gunning down 203 enemy aircraft for the loss of just 29 pilots.
Investigations have begun into the cause of the crash which occurred half a kilometre away from any buildings
Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, head of RAF Fighter Command, said if it had not been for the Polish squadrons, the Battle of Britain could have ended very differently
The 303 Squadron became the most successful Fighter Command unit in the Battle of Britain having shot down an incredible 126 German aircraft in 42 days.
One member of the 303, Czech Sergeant Josef Frantisek, was also the top-scoring pilot with 17 confirmed victories.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, who led Fighter Command, said: ‘Had it not been for the magnificent material contributed by the Polish squadrons and their unsurpassed gallantry, I hesitate to say that the outcome of the Battle would have been the same.’
A Polish Air Force Spitfire in action shows the detail of the replica plane which crashed in Poland today. Polish pilots had been well trained in formation flying and had greater experience than their British counterparts
The 303 Squadron fought superbly in the Battle of Britain, gunning down 203 enemy aircraft for the loss of just 29 pilots