Pilots to attempt to fly historic Spitfire around globe in world first

Newly restored MK IX Spitfire named 'Silver Spitfire'. Picture: John M. Dibbs/IWC/PA Wire
Newly restored MK IX Spitfire named 'Silver Spitfire'. Picture: John M. Dibbs/IWC/PA Wire
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TWO intrepid British pilots will attempt a world first when they fly a restored original Spitfire around the globe. 

Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones hope to climb ‘a pilot’s Everest’ when they take on The Longest Flight – a challenging trip that has never been attempted before, testing the boundaries of aviation in a single-engine aircraft.

Spitfire pilots Matt Jones (left) and Steve Boultbee Brooks who are attempting to fly a newly restored MK IX Spitfire around the world. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Spitfire pilots Matt Jones (left) and Steve Boultbee Brooks who are attempting to fly a newly restored MK IX Spitfire around the world. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

The brave pair will take off from Goodwood, West Sussex, today as they undertake a  gruelling journey of 27,000 miles and take in 30 countries over four months in the restored MK. IX Spitfire, now known as the Silver Spitfire.

Matt said he was looking forward to the challenge of flying the plane. ‘The decision to fly the Silver Spitfire around the world was an instinctive one to honour the plane’s history,’ he said.

‘It’s also a chance to honour those who built, maintained and flew it through more than 50 missions. 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 Spitfire is seen as a UK treasure and emblem of freedom across the globe. The quest is set to reunite the Silver Spitfire with many countries while bringing the aircraft to a new audience in some of the world’s most iconic and beautiful locations. 

The Silver Spitfire embodies not only a pinnacle in British precision aerospace engineering and design but commemorates a generation of intrepid aviators prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of freedom.

MJ271, the original MK.IX LF plane was one of the original Spitfire aircraft made in Castle Bromwich in 1943 by British manufacturers Vickers Supermarine ltd. It flew more than 51 missions during the Second World War. It was in storage in a museum before its restoration began in early 2017.

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, said: ‘The Spitfire is an iconic symbol of world-class aerospace engineering, and I’m delighted to see this unique piece of British history brought to a global audience. 

‘Extraordinary projects such as this are exactly what the GREAT campaign is there to promote – showcasing the best of Britain to the world, encouraging people to visit, study and do business here.’