it happened in 1992, it was the Rolls Royce owned Spitfire RM689.
It crashed in a low level loop, killing pilot David Moore. Amazingly, despite it being considered a total write off, the wreckage sat in a hanger for several years before the ever increasing value of Spits made it viable to repair it, and as of 2006 it is now right in the middle of a re-build, and should head to the skies again in the not too distant future.
I had an instructor when I was learning to fly (guy had to be in 60s and had survived a midair back in the 40s) who drummed into us to keep plenty of altitude under us at all times. Altitude is your friend. Even at an airshow.
the problem often isnt that they are flying, its what they are being forced to do. An airshow crowd should just be happy to see a bird like that in the air, to see and hear it fly past. But more and more we are seeing crowds that want to be passively entertained, many of whom can no longer tell one aircraft from another and so need the thrills of seeing aerobatics, and doing loops at 100ft is just insane, no matter how old or valuable the aircraft is.
But I would be more than happy to see all the airworthy Spits retired to museums if only some company in the UK would see the opportunity and start up short run production again of new-built zero time Spitfires like has happened with the 262 and 190.
It's good to see them in the air, but the aerobatics really ought to be kept to a minimum. I'm just as happy to see a Spit flypast while banking slightly. Fancy loops and spins aren't the least bit necessary to impress. Leave that to the Blue Angels or the Red Arrows.
yeah, the recommended minimum entry speed for a Spitfire loop is given as 300kts IAS, which is a fair old click. not enough entry speed and you end up much lower than you started, which is never good when the grounds that close to start with.
I`ll have to find some pics of the XIVs rebuild, amazing what they can do nowadays if you`ve got the money.