RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

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RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#1 Post by Undried Plum » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:48 pm

No woman in the cockpit either. Probably no bullsh!t.

An interesting puffpiece in the Torygraph today.

Round the world in a Spitfire. Not just any Spitfire, but a Mark IX!

The proposed route plan, as shown on their website needs a bit of work, but give 'em time ....

I shall follow this one with very great interest.

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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#2 Post by Capetonian » Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:02 pm

I was just about to post this same article, you beat me to it. What a wonderful endeavour.

At the tail end of next summer, two British aviation enthusiasts, Matt Jones and Steve Brooks, intend to take off in a polished silver Spitfire Mark IX from southern England, head north-east, and return to Blighty by Christmas having pushed the aircraft to new limits.

When they touch back down, they will have made more than 150 stops in over 30 countries, soaring over many airspaces the Spitfire has never before entered, and flying over territories, such as the Far East and North Africa, where it hasn’t been seen since the war ended.

And at every stage of the way, both in the build up and in the air, The Telegraph will be reporting on the aeroplane's progress.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/silver-spitfire
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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#3 Post by Cacophonix » Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:06 am

All power to their elbows but I must say that I am surprised that their insurers would countenance them putting so many hours on a hugely expensive Merlin engine in one go as it were, as well as the airframe, with the risk of loss or damage to the aircraft en route.

Well, at least they are not going to plaster their old warbird with advertising logos. I remember reading that the "colourful" aviation racer and Spitfire owner (amongst many other types) Spencer Flack, had his Spitfire painted pink, only to be confronted by an old ex RAF chap who castigated him for removing the original RAF Squadron colours whereupon the cantankerous Flack asked him "what colour is your Spitfire?"...

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The irascible Flack took to racing equally rare cars in his latter years before coming unstuck thereby robbing the world of his spirited existence and a very rare car...
The British Historic Racing fraternity was shocked to learn of the death of Spencer Flack in late February. The prodigious racer of post-war GP cars was killed in an accident at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia, when racing his ex-Jo Bonnier BRM P25. The car overturned after making contact with a backmarker and was destroyed in a fiery accident. The car, chassis 258, formerly owned by the late Amschel Rothschild, was the only survivor of its type.
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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#4 Post by Undried Plum » Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:25 pm

I am surprised that their insurers would countenance them putting so many hours on a hugely expensive Merlin engine in one go as it were, as well as the airframe, with the risk of loss or damage to the aircraft en route.

I, too, am surprised. I've perhaps got a pony in that race as I own a nameco at a well known former coffee house in the City which invests in booths which specialise in such insurance. I also do occasional consultancy work, mostly on Marine but also on Aviation risk work, on claim cases where things are claimed to have gone pear-shaped through no fault of the beneficiaries of the result.

I wish them all the best. All of 'em.

Figuring out their least risky route will be a fascinating desktop exercise. Most especially the over-water bits.

I do love their choice of support aircraft. The PC-12 is quite perfect for the task.

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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#5 Post by Capetonian » Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:19 am

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/0 ... oss-world/
'I learnt to fly a Spitfire so I can spread its glory across the world'

Steve Brooks is attempting to circumnavigate the globe in a Silver Spitfire


When Steve Brooks embarked on his first solo flight in a Spitfire, he was surprised by how quickly his training kicked in. It was June 6 this year - the 75th anniversary of D-Day - and after weeks of planning, the weather was finally right for him to take the iconic warplane out for a spin. Touching off from Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire, he soared over the Isle of Wight and above the Channel, overwhelmed by the beauty of the southern coast.

“It was the most perfect day, with fluffy clouds everywhere,” says Brooks, 58. “There were just the most stunning views, as I listened to that Merlin engine roaring away. Your first solo flight is one you’ll never forget. You think ‘Oh my God, there’s no-one else here, it’s up to me’. But the amount of training we do is very intense and as you get afraid, you just drop into your training routines and immediately get that calmness: there’s a job to be done.”

In August, Brooks and his co-pilot, Matt Jones, will put that fear to the test once more when they attempt a world-first: to circumnavigate the globe in a Spitfire.

Taking off from southern England, they plan to head north-west, flying over the Grand Canyon in the West and the snow-capped peak of Mount Fuji in the East, looping above the Taj Mahal and “victory rolling” over the Giza pyramids.

They aim to return to Blighty by Christmas, having made more than 100 stops in 30 countries, and entering some airspaces the Spitfire has never before seen. Other territories, including areas of the Far East and North Africa, have not held a Spitfire in their skies since the end of the war.
'When a Spitfire flies over, people will run out of their offices and houses - young kids, women, men, everybody.'


The aeroplane they will use - a Mark IX - was built in 1943 and saw action in 28 skirmishes, as well as dive-bombing the French coast. It was transferred to an RAF museum at the end of the war, where it sat until 2017, when Brooks and Jones bought it at auction and embarked on an ambitious renovation; ‘de-militarising’ the plane by removing its guns and swapping its camouflage for a 'natural' silver finish.

When we meet at his central London office, Brooks walks in with the enthusiasm of a schoolboy. “I just can’t stop smiling,” he says, pointing to the countdown on his website - now 37 days until takeoff.

In 2010, Brooks co-founded the Boultbee Flying Academy in Chichester, the world’s only school for Spitfire pilots. There, he has spent months in training so he can eventually fly a Spitfire by himself.

Most lessons took place in their computer simulator at Goodwood, Sussex, a “quite incredible device” that comes fitted with a throttle and has a domed screen overhead. His trainer, ex-RAF pilot Jim Schofield, taught him the “artistry of flying”; taking him out for spins in the clouds and getting him used to the glide of the iconic British fighter jet.

“He has a very, very patient manner,” Brooks laughs. “It’s a frightening job for him - he’s sitting in the back while I nearly kill him, time after time.”

Brooks, a property developer when he’s not in the cockpit, is no stranger to adventure: he was the first person to drive across the ice of the Bering Straits from America to Russia, and the first to fly pole-to-pole by helicopter.

But handling a Spitfire is a lot more difficult, he says. “I’ve flown helicopters for years and have a couple of thousand hours [experience]. I thought I was just going to step across, but it hasn’t been like that at all. It has been very, very tough. The hairy thing with a Spitfire is getting it back on the ground. Just as things are coming together, you pull back on the stick and your vision is completely blocked by this massive engine and nose that comes up. You don’t know where you are and you get that ‘Oh my God’ moment.”

He is perfectly aware of the dangers, and admits that his wife and two teenage children are nervous about the circumnavigation. “The risk’s colossal, it’s continuous risk mitigation - what’s going to kill me next?” he says.

There have also been manifold technical challenges to master. Gerry Jones, an aeronautical engineer for more than 20 years, has said of the mission: “A Spitfire isn’t meant for this, I can tell you that. We predict that something will need doing it to every 25 hours.”

Brooks is unperturbed, but admits that his children have asked ‘Why do you need to do that?’ “It’s a question that a lot of people have,” he adds. “I think one of the important things in life is to do it because you want to. You don’t have to justify everything. It’s OK to live, it’s OK to reach, it’s OK to breathe.”

His training even saw him go on a “fast jet ditching” course in Cornwall, during which he was thrown from the back of a boat and taught to climb inside a life raft. He has learnt how to parachute, survive in the woods, and start a fire using wet wood - skills that will prove handy should he be forced to leap from the Spitfire over Siberia, say.

Brooks waxes lyrical about the power of adventure, describing the world as “my back garden”, something which every human has a “right to see”.

But surely, I ask, the potentially record-breaking mission has something to do with a desire for personal triumph? He insists not, and says he is only taking part to “share the incredible glory of the Spitfire with the people on this planet”.

“It’s the most extraordinary thing that when a Spitfire flies over, people will run out of their offices and houses - young kids, women, men, everybody. We seem to have got ourselves into a sorry mess at the moment, but there’s a lot to shout about being British, and you couldn’t find a stronger icon for being British than this.”

The Government clearly agrees: Dr Liam Fox, the International Trade secretary, has praised the mission for “showcasing the best of Britain to the world”.
The route Brooks and Jones plan to take around the world in the Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight

“There’s something about a Spitfire that curdles one’s blood [and] livens up any conversation,” Brooks says with a glint in his eye. “I think that’s because it stands for the freedom of humanity. It says, ‘We can stand up and we can survive. We can win’.”

The Telegraph is the official media partner of Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight. To find out more about the project, visit telegraph.co.uk/silver- spitfire and silverspitfire. com
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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#6 Post by Slasher » Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:53 am

A Spit Mk IX. Now you're talking my language! I hope he makes a stopover in N Thailand so I can crawl all over the thing and take it up for a circuit when no one's looking.

I dunno about that all-silver paintwork but he should've left the 20mm Hispano barrels in place. Looks disappointingly weird without 'em.
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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#7 Post by G-CPTN » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:45 am

Capetonian wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:19 am
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/0 ... oss-world/
'I learnt to fly a Spitfire so I can spread its glory across the world'
Most lessons took place in their computer simulator at Goodwood, Sussex.

His trainer, ex-RAF pilot Jim Schofield, taught him the “artistry of flying”; taking him out for spins in the clouds and getting him used to the glide of the iconic British fighter jet.

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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#8 Post by G-CPTN » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:51 am

Slasher wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:53 am
he should've left the 20mm Hispano barrels in place. Looks disappointingly weird without 'em.
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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#9 Post by Boac » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:28 am

Good luck,Steve.

Good to see proof-reading still up to its usual brilliance in the torygraph. =))

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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#10 Post by k3k3 » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:01 pm

ex-RAF pilot Jim Schofield, taught him the “artistry of flying”; taking him out for spins in the clouds and getting him used to the glide of the iconic British fighter jet

Can't be a Mark IX, must be the rare Mark IC.

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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#11 Post by CharlieOneSix » Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:13 pm

It looks as though the Silver Spitfire is on its way. First sector is Goodwood to Lossiemouth. Hoping they pass to the west of the Aberdeen Zone so I might get a chance of seeing it.

Silver Spitfire Flight Tracker
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At 1410A
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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#12 Post by Capetonian » Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:21 pm

Brave guys. Wishing them fair winds and happy landings.
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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#13 Post by CharlieOneSix » Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:44 pm

Their live flight tracker seems a bit iffy regarding an up to date position but on Flightradar24 you can see their PC-12 support aircraft but not the Spitfire. The PC-12 OY-THP is presently approaching Hull, 2750ft/187kts, presumably with the Spitfire alongside. However the Spitifre G-IRTY is shown on Flight Radar24 as having left Goodwood at 1332 and landed back there at 1349 so who knows what is happening.
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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#14 Post by CharlieOneSix » Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:47 pm

G-IRTY and OY-THP departed Newcastle for Lossiemouth a few minutes ago - both on Flightradar24
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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#15 Post by CharlieOneSix » Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:07 pm

Looks like a bit of a hiccup today. Both the Spitfire and PC-12 set off from Lossie for Vagar and turned back to Lossie when abeam Orkney. The TAFS/METARS for today's planned sectors to Vagar and Reykjavik are both good.
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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#16 Post by CharlieOneSix » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:58 pm

The Spitfire left Lossiemouth today and landed at Vagar, webcam below, at 1306, two days later than planned.
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vagar.JPG
The PC-12 chase plane - the grey coloured one to the left of the Spitfire - flew to Reykjavik and back to Lossie over the last two days - no idea why. There has been a distinct lack of information from the organisers on their website and their own flight tracker is next to useless. FlightRadar24 has worked well in tracking them.
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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#17 Post by Boac » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:35 pm

Ooh! Sends shivers down my spine. Mind you, weather looks a bit better.............

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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#18 Post by CharlieOneSix » Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:08 pm

Taxying out now. Shortly to depart Vagar for Reykjavik. Destination weather looks good:
BIRK REYKJAVIK
METAR BIRK 081300Z 36007KT 330V060 CAVOK 14/01 Q1013=
TAF BIRK 081305Z 0815/0915 02010KT CAVOK TX15/0815Z TN06/0905Z=
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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#19 Post by CharlieOneSix » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:46 pm

Landed Reykjavik 1641Z.
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Re: RTW in a Spitfire Mk IX (solo, yes really)

#20 Post by Pontius Navigator » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:26 am

I wonder if the extra Rek trip was recovering or delivering spares? Or prepositioned engineers?

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