Soggy grass and a strong wind were to blame for tipping one of the few surviving Supermarine Spitfires on to its nose at Auckland's Ardmore Aerodrome yesterday.

The World War II aircraft, owned by Auckland businessman Doug Brooker, has had a number of crashes since it was brought to New Zealand in 2008.

In 2009, the Spitfire crash-landed at the Masterton Aerodrome in Wairarapa, causing significant damage to the plane.

Mike Small was flying above the runway when the aircraft tipped on to its nose yesterday.

"We saw it land safely, then we turned back around and it [was] tipped. It was on three wheels one minute, then was on two the next," he said.

Dave Brown, who owns Christian Aviation at Ardmore, said it was not uncommon for Spitfires to tip because of the way they were built.

"It's a tail-wheel aeroplane and they're very susceptible to winds coming around behind them and that will tip them up on to their nose. You can get caught out very easily."

He said yesterday's accident happened when the pilot got the wheels stuck as he taxied across wet grass.

"It wasn't his fault, but a strong wind came in behind him and just tipped him on to his nose." Mr Brown said the pilot was not injured and the aircraft was not damaged.