In what will be the first project of its kind, a newly-restored spitfire aircraft will be flown 27,000 miles around the world this summer by the co-founders of Boultbee Flight Academy.
Goodwood pilots Matt Jones and Steve Brooks, who located the long-lost spitfire and restored it into a silver aircraft, will embark on a unique journey around some of the world’s most iconic locations in August.
The project, named Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight, launches in the 100th anniversary year of the Royal Air Force, and will be made into a documentary and a book.
Steve Brooks, who was the first person to fly a helicopter from the North Pole to the South Pole, said: “Our aim for the flight is to inspire everyone who encounters this wonderful silver spitfire to achieve their ambitions, however daring, unusual or challenging. The chance to showcase this piece of British precision engineering for a truly global audience is a pilot’s Everest and an unmissable opportunity.”
The precise routing is ‘still being developed’, but the pair will be departing from Goodwood-based Boultbee Flight Academy, the world’s first Spitfire training school, and heading to the USA via Canada, the Arctic, South East Asia, and India, before flying through the Middle East to reach Europe more than four months later in mid-December.
Matt Jones said the decision to fly the spitfire around the world was an ‘instinctive one’.
He added: “[We wanted] to honour the plane’s history, the people who built, maintained and flew it through more than 50 missions, and we want to commemorate those who lost their lives in the pursuit of freedom.
“It’s going to be exciting to bring the spitfire back to many of the places it has served and to fly it for audiences who will see this beautiful and historic machine for the very first time.”
The newly-restored original Mk IX spitfire aircraft will depart from the UK westwards and embark on a ‘physically, mechanically and logistically challenging adventure’ of more than four months.
Steve continued: “It is one of the most iconic and famous aeroplanes ever made, and will be an utter privilege to fly to parts of the world where people will have never seen it fly before. We are hoping to engage with as many people as possible and showcase this truly great icon of aviation engineering. And in doing so, we hope to inspire as many people as possible, all nationalities and all ages, as well as promote Great Britain. We are also hoping to complete a world first circumnavigation in a spitfire.
“It is undoubtedly one of Britain’s most iconic designs. It’s that relationship between man and machine, and the immense satisfaction when you get it just right.”
Matt Jones, said ‘like a lot of boys’ he had always been ‘fascinated by the air and flying’.
He added: “To me, then and now, flying means freedom. It’s a complete escape from the day-to-day world.
“The more you forget that you’re in a machine, the more they feel like your own wings. You stop looking in, you stop thinking about the instrumentation, you stop thinking about the engine. You rely on the fact it’s Rolls-Royce built, it’s British, and you just know it’s going to keep going.”
Follow Steve and Matt’s journey at http://www.silverspitfire.com.