Spitfire Flights, Spitfire Experiences

Spitfire Flights, Spitfire Experiences

For many pilots and aviation enthusiasts the idea of being able to fly in a Spitfire is probably on their bucket list if not at the top of it.  With the restoration of these thoroughbred warbirds at an all time high Spitfire flights are more easily obtained than at any other time since World War II.

Scroll down if you want to go straight to the list of experiences and prices.

Spitfire Flights – What are the options?

Spitfire Flights - Fly as pupil or passenger
Spitfire Flights – fly as pupil or passenger

There are three main ways in which you can enjoy this ultimate aviation experience:

  1. Flying lesson in a Spitfire.  You are the pilot under training and you log the time as PU/T in your logbook.
  2. Pleasure flight in a Spitfire.  You enjoy a flight as a passenger with all that it involves.
  3. Fly alongside a Spitfire.  You are in another aircraft and you and the other passengers get to film and photograph the Spitfire as it flies in formation.

Learning to fly a Spitfire

goodwood-revival-12th-september-2015-76
Boultbee will teach you to fly a Spitfire

This is now possible thanks to training schemes offered by the Boultbee Academy who are based at Goodwood Airfield in West Sussex.

Boultbee offer all kinds of instruction; starting with the appreciation of flying other vintage aircraft like the Chipmunk, Tiger Moth, and Harvard. Then moving on to lessons to in Spitfire and conversion courses for experienced pilots.

The prerequisites are that you already have a current SEP PPL and at least 1,000 hours of time logged.

They also teach formation and display flying.  Prices are what you would expect for being taught by talented instructors in rare and expensive vintage aircraft.  If you want to know the price then you probably can’t afford it but if money is plentiful then pop along and have a chat with them.

Pleasure Flights in a Spitfire

Go solo in Spitfire
Reach for the sky

If you’re not looking to be taught how to fly the aircraft and simply want to enjoy the experience then there are two main options.

The aforementioned Boultbee Academy offer several Spitfire flights packages; 30 minute or longer flights and flights for two people during which the aircraft fly in formation with each other.  Flights are available from Goodwood and from Exeter and start at £2,750 for 30 minutes.

Another option is the two seat Spitfire ML407 which is based at Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire. Email the owners for details.  You may have a long wait but the sooner you get on the waiting list the sooner your name will reach the top.

If you’re based in London or the south east you could visit the historic airfield Biggin Hill in Kent.  ‘Biggin on the Bump’ (because it’s on a hill) has a long history that dates back to the dawn of aviation.  It was a strategically important and very busy fighter base during the Battle of Britain.

The Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar provides all kinds of experiences including Spitfire pleasure flights.  Other options are in the list at the end of this post.

Fly alongside a Spitfire

There are plenty more opportunities for those who would like to fly alongside a Spitfire in another aircraft.  There is a higher demand and therefore several companies offer this service.  It is a very popular gift idea for special birthdays and other anniversaries, or just a treat for no other reason that it’s on your bucket list.

One of the more affordable options is to buy a seat on another aircraft.  The Spitfire then flies alongside and in formation with your aircraft so that you can film and photography to your heart’s content.

This is an excellent opportunity to see a Spitfire in close formation and the footage and images you capture are unforgettable.  They will form a lasting memory of an event that will delight you and friends for years to come.

Flights in formation with a Spitfire are available in Goodwood, Biggin Hill,  Headcorn Aerodrome in Kent, and at Duxford Airfield near Cambridge, where some packages include a visit to the vast Imperial War Museum of aircraft.

Ultimate List of Spitfire Experiences in the UK

The flights and experiences are listed in descending order of price, from £22,000 to £20.

Alternatively, choose a Spitfire flight or experience by location.

So you see there’s an option for every budget.  Make that dream come true and book the experience today!

carbon offsetting schemes for international aviation

Carbon Offsetting Airlines

In this post I’m going to list those airlines that have carbon offsetting schemes, as well as other ways of compensating for the carbon footprint and environmental impact of your travel choices.

If you’d prefer to watch a video version of this post there’s one here and at the foot of this page.

Carbon Offsetting Explained

Most people are familiar carbon offsetting but for those of you who aren’t here is a brief explanation.

Carbon offsetting is the process of making financial payments to projects and schemes that compensate for the carbon footprint that results from your habits and lifestyle, in this case air travel.

It needn’t be just for air travel of course, you could also participate in carbon offsetting if you travel by sea, by road, or not at all.

If you live off-grid in a tipi then your carbon footprint is going to be very low. On the other hand, if your drive a diesel car and jet around the world on business several times a year then your footprint is going to be considerably larger.

Whatever the size of your personal or your company’s carbon footprint you can offset your impact by sending voluntary donations to, for example, projects that siphon off methane gas at a landfill site, or a project that helps distribute environmentally friendly cooking stoves, or any other project that helps to lessen the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Carbon Offsetting And Reduction Scheme For International Aviation

carbon offsetting schemes for international aviation

IATA, the International Air Transport Association, describes it thus,

“Carbon offsetting is simply a way for individuals or organizations, in this case airline passengers and corporate customers, to “neutralize” their proportion of an aircraft’s carbon emissions on a particular journey by investing in carbon reduction projects.”

https://www.iata.org/whatwedo/environment/Pages/carbon-offset.aspx

The IATA website then goes on to say that

“over 30 IATA member airlines have introduced an offset program either integrated into their web-sales engines or to a third party offset provider.”

It may be a voluntary contribution at the end of the checkout process or the offset payment may be built into the price.

Either way the money you pay goes to support low carbon, energy efficiency, educational, or renewable energy projects all over the world.

If your airline doesn’t have such a scheme you can still participate in carbon offsetting by making a payment using an offsetting website.

Critics of carbon offsetting have suggested that it simply encourages people to continue to waste resources and even worsens the effect by making people even more complacent.

But others point out that it increases awareness and leads to a change in habits and lifestyle that reduces a person’s overall carbon footprint.

In the meantime, if you want or need to travel by air then you have this choice.

Carbon Offsetting Schemes Airlines

So here’s a list of airlines that have some kind of carbon offsetting scheme.

Air Canada has set up partnership with Less Emissions to provide offsets.

Air France have a carbon offset program that supports solar stoves in Bolivia and other projects.

Air Italy – details pending

Air New Zealand provides its offsetting through a partnership with
ClimateCare to fund both domestic and international projects.

Alaska Airlines have a scheme in partnership with Carbonfund.org which allows you to offset some or the entire carbon footprint of your flight.

Austrian Airlines‘ partners are Climate Austria.

British Airways give their customers the option to choose whether to donate in support of projects in the UK and Africa.

Brussels Airlines have partnered with CO2logic to fund water treatment in Kenya and efficient cook stoves in Uganda.

BudgetAir is a price comparison site for flights, so when you’re considering which airline to use perhaps the airline’s carbon offset scheme might influence your choices.

Cathay Pacific has a program called Fly Greener which supports several projects.

China Airlines have also partnered with ClimateCare to help environmentally friendly projects.

Delta Airlines give passengers the choice to support one of three of The Nature Conservancy’s carbon offsetting projects.

EVA Air is another of ClimateCare’s airline partners.

Etihad Airways is a founding member of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC) which is

dedicated to advance the aviation industry’s commitment to sustainable business practices by developing technology with the promise of producing a clean, alternative fuel supply.

Source: Etihad – Our Responsibility

Finnair‘s have a scheme that supports energy efficient cooking stoves in Mozambique.

Harbour Air Seaplanes are a fully carbon neutral airline and they’ve celebrated 10 years of offsetting in partnership with the Offsetters organisation. Not only that, in April 2019 they announced plans to covert their entire fleet of De Havilland Beavers, Otters and Twin Otters and one Cessna Caravan to electric power .

Japan Airlines give their support direct to two projects without an intermediary.

JetBlue have also partnered with Carbonfund.org .

JetStar Airways have a scheme called Fly Carbon Neutral Program and it’s available to all passengers travelling on Jetstar Airways (JQ) and Jetstar Pacific (BL) flights.

Kenya Airways have a Quality Assured Standard (QAS) approved program supporting a project called Kasigau Corridor.

KLM offer a carbon compensation service called CO2Zero which is voluntary and can be included in your online booking.

Lufthansa have partnered with MyClimate (more details below) to support two projects, one of which provides solar powered lighting in Ethiopia.

Malaysia Airlines announced (in 2018) the successful implementation of SkyBreathe® Fuel Efficiency, an advanced system to reduce fuel costs and CO2 emissions of their fleet.

Mango Air of South Africa also has a Quality Assured Standard (QAS) approved program supporting a project in Ghana.

Nature Air of Costa Rica is the world’s first carbon neutral airline having achieved the status in 2004.

Nok Air are a budget airline in Thailand and the company is part owned by Thai Airways (see below). I can’t see anything on their site about carbon offsetting but perhaps Thai Airways have built them into their scheme.

Qantas have been providing carbon offsetting for over ten years and their arrangement is called Qantas Future Planet.

Qatar Airways have an environmental management system that is certified to the highest level of IATA’s Environmental Assessment programme.

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) compensate for the carbon footprint of their flights with the help of Natural Capital Partners.

Skyscanner is another price comparison site for airlines. Again, when you’ve drawn up a shortlist for your next flight, check back here to see if your airline of choice is on this list.

SriLankan Airlines‘ FlyGreen program provides supports small hydropower plants in Sri Lanka.

South African Airways are another support of the Gyapa project in Ghana through their optional donations.

Swiss Air support biomass and cooking stove projects through their optional donation scheme.

TAP Air Portugal support a project called Ecomapua in Brazil through their voluntary payment service.

Thai Airways also invite you to make a donation at the checkout, and their program is audited by the Carbon Offset Approval Scheme of United Kingdom.

Thomas Cook Airlines have set themselves a target of reducing carbon emissions by 12% by 2020 measured against a 2008 baseline.

Tigerair give you the option to make a donation to “Fly Carbon Neutral” with an optional payment.

TUI Group‘s Care Foundation was formed in 2016 as a platform for projects to enhance the positive impacts of tourism. It includes the TUI Academy “which aims to empower 10,000 youngsters by 2020 through professional education and training to enhance opportunities for disadvantaged youth living in and around holiday destinations.”

United Airlines have a program called Eco-Skies CarbonChoice, which they say, “…provides customers with the opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint associated with their air travel through the purchase of carbon offsets”.

Virgin Atlantic announced a new carbon offsetting partnership with ClimateCare in March 2019.

Virgin Australia have also celebrated over ten years of carbon offsetting and can be built into the ticket price if you so choose.

Westjet support a biomass energy project called Toronto Organics through a third partnership.

Carbon Footprint Calculations

Carbon footprint calculations

If your airline doesn’t have a publicised carbon offsetting arrangement it could still be making a contribution through other means.

If you would prefer to calculate your carbon footprint independently of any airline ticketing price, then there are ways to do so.

MyClimate.org has an easy to use calculator that tells you how much carbon dioxide your journey will generate whether you travel by aircraft, ship, or motor car.

The website says that the maximum amount of CO2 a person should produce per year in order to halt climate change is 0.6 tonnes.

But the amount of CO2 a citizen of the EU produces each year on average is 8.4 tonnes.

So, an economy class flight for two people from London, Gatwick to Rome will generate 1.2 tonnes of CO2, so they suggest an offset of £25 for projects.

A business class flight for two people from London, Heathrow to New York will generate 8.0 tonnes of CO2, so the suggestion is a minimum of £171 for projects.

The project might be to help smallhold farmers in Nicaragua with reforestation or an education project teaching young people about climate change.

Similar sites and schemes include the aforementioned Carbonfund.org,

So you see there are ways in which you can make a positive contribution to combating climate change while still enjoying air travel.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight while work continues into developing cleaner biofuels and better batteries.

We may not yet be flying around in electrically powered aircraft using electricity generated from sustainable sources, but they are coming.

In the meantime you can still use air travel and help with all kinds of environmental projects.

And if you’re still not convinced then fly less often but don’t forget that your trips by road or sea will also have a carbon cost.

Carbon costs