The Spitfire is possibly the most iconic warplane that has ever graced the skies of the United Kingdom. Ever since its inception in 1938 and subsequent heroics in the battle of Britain, the Spitfire has forever become ingrained as a national icon.
Unsurprisingly, only around 179 units remain out of the 22,000 built, and only about 50 are airworthy. This leaves a shortage of original Spitfires that can actually be used for flight experiences. However, thanks to the love and patience of several enthusiasts, there are enough Spitfires in airworthy condition for you to experience flight in a Spitfire from various aerodromes across the United Kingdom.
Now that you know you can enjoy your own Spitfire flight experience, you need to know just what to expect from flying in a vintage warbird. Remember, they are nothing like today’s commercial flights.
Other Successes Allows Spitfire Flights
You might be surprised to learn that Spitfire flights haven’t always been allowed for the general public, and that’s because the civil aviation authority have always erred on the side of caution. They believed that the average non-pilot didn’t have enough knowledge to fully understand the risks involved.
Luckily, the success of other adventure sports has prompted a rethink. As long as the operator of the aircraft explains the risks and mitigates them as far as possible, the general public are now allowed to experience flying in a real Spitfire.
Expect a Health Questionnaire
As you might expect, things can get pretty exciting in the cockpit of a vintage Spitfire while in flight. When you go for your own flight experience, expect to be asked a host of questions about your personal health and weight. This is nothing to be embarrassed about and shouldn’t put you off: it’s simply done to ensure your safety during the flight.
If you’re not allowed to experience a lively Spitfire flight due to your health condition, don’t be disheartened. If this happens, ask about other experiences available, as they may offer other vintage flying experiences that you can safely take part in.
You might also be asked to visit an aviation doctor beforehand to assess your fitness for flight. It’s important to remember that this is for your protection; even during the second world war, not everyone was allowed to fly in this iconic aircraft.
Don’t Worry About What If’s
It’s far too easy to become bogged down with the what if’s when you go for your Spitfire flight experience. Although these are vintage warplanes, they pass all the same stringent airworthiness tests applied to modern aircraft. You can rest assured that the Spitfire you’ll be flying in will be mechanically sound.
The other reason you shouldn’t worry about the what if’s is the pilots. The requirements pilots need to meet to fly the Spitfire means that these are some of the very best pilots in the country, with vast experience in flying military or civilian aircraft. Therefore, when you go for your Spitfire flight, you know that you’ll be in safe and experienced hands, so you can relax and experience a once in a lifetime opportunity.
You will also be given a comprehensive safety briefing before you go up and will be equipped with all the safety equipment you might need, including a flight suit, boots, gloves, a helmet, a lifejacket, and a parachute.
To find out more about what to expect from a Spitfire flight, contact a flight academy who specialise in vintage warbirds. They will be able to go through everything you need to know about the flight, as well as the different aircraft they have available, their pilots experience and what sort of experience you can have.
Supermarine Spitfire – Legend Made in Birmingham, TheManufacturer.com
Spitfire – History of the Spitfire’s Design and Development, Military-History.org