With the completion of the “Silver Spitfire” restoration, “The Longest Flight” expedition is scheduled to start on 5th August 2019.
For the following questions, pick the answer you feel the most for:
When I grow up, I want to _____.
- see the world
- take to the skies
- be a pilot
- all of the above
I had a dream, I would like to _____.
- travel around the world
- challenge myself to greater heights
- take the journey less travelled, if at all
- all of the above
If your answers to the questions are both (4), celebrate with British pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones – founders of Boultbee Flight Academy – as the duo prepares for their dream expedition: to fly an original Spitfire around the world.
IWC Schaffhausen and Boultbee Flight Academy have just announced that the restoration of the “Silver Spitfire” is complete. What this means, is that the “Silver Spitfire”, with its new G-IRTY registration, can commence flight tests, in preparation for the scheduled take-off in August. This unprecedented flight plan to circumnavigate the world – covering a distance of over 43,000 kilometres, and visiting some 30 countries – in a Spitfire is a long and arduous one for the legendary British propeller-driven plane.
IWC is supporting Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones with their expedition as official time keeper and main partner.
What you must know about the restoration
The fuselage and wings of the Spitfire were polished in a multi-stage intricate process to achieve a unique surface of polished aluminium that accentuates the iconic silhouette of the British aircraft. Notably, it also allowed for the successful preservation of the aircraft’s patina (caused by exhaust fumes on the Spitfire’s fuselage during its many years of active service).
“The final result is simply breathtaking. Thanks to the shiny surface of polished aluminium, the beautiful silhouette of this iconic aircraft – with the unmistakable elliptical wings – is visible in its purest form. I am looking forward to the test flights and the start of this unique adventure,”
Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen
The restoration programme took over 15 specialised engineers from Duxford’s Aircraft Restoration Company and two years to complete.
A Spitfire is made up of distinct parts in excess of tens of thousands. Each part, down to the last rivet required to be individually inspected, cleaned and, if necessary, replaced. Some of the challenges include the absence of the instrument panel and flying instruments, and deficiencies in the hydraulic system, undercarriage legs and the propeller.
As the restoration team worked to keep the Spitfire MX.IX in its original condition, the procurement of spare parts for replacements was a significant challenge. Considering that the original Supermarine Spit re MX.IX, with the historic registration MJ.271, was built in Castle Bromwich back in 1943.
“Luckily, we were able to reuse as many original parts as possible, which has allowed us to retain the unique character of this strikingly beautiful aircraft. The “Silver Spitfire” is, without a doubt, one of the most original airworthy Spitfires in the world,”
Gerry Jones, Chief Engineer at Boultbee Flight Academy
The “Silver Spitfire” also received several internal system upgrades, to include additional fail-safe radio systems, fuel pumps, and vacuum pumps. These crucial back-up systems are in place to ensure that the pilots, aircraft and mission will not be compromised with any component failure during the flight.
And importantly, the “Silver Spitfire” has a total of eight fuel tanks instead of two, to power up the overhauled Rolls- Royce Merlin 70 engine (with an output of over 1700 hp) for another 500 flying hours.
Flight tests have commenced in the past days, for the crew to familiarise themselves with the aircraft and its flight behaviour.
All on schedule, and ready for take-off on the 5th August 2019 from Goodwood Aerodrome.
Images of Spitfire courtesy of IWC.