Spitfire Flights, Spitfire Experiences

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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 it’s now more easy to fly in a Spitfire than at any other time since World War II.

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 experience by location.

So you see, there’s an option for every budget. If you share the dream to fly in a Spitfire then make that dream come true and book the experience today. Zip up that flight suit and turn just another ordinary day into ‘such a wonderful day‘!

Fly in a Spitfire – what are the options?

Spitfire Flights - Fly As Pupil Or Passenger
2 Seater Spitfire

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

  1. Fly in a Spitfire under instruction.  You are the pilot under training and you log the time as Pu/T in your logbook. You can add one of the most famous aircraft in the world to your list of aircraft flown.
  2. Pleasure flight in a Spitfire.  You enjoy a flight as a passenger aboard one of the few two seat Spitfires. Well strapped in? How about a Victory Roll? These Spitfire rides are among the most popular as no previous flying experience is required.
  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.
  4. Spitfire Simulator. No substitute for the real thing but modern flight sims are very realistic both visually and aurally.  They are also a lot cheaper than flying in a real one!

Learning to fly a Spitfire

2 Seater Spitfire
The Spitfire Academy will teach you how to fly a Spitfire

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

The Spitfire Academy offers all kinds of instruction; starting with the appreciation of flying other vintage aircraft like the Chipmunk, Tiger Moth, and Harvard AT-6. 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 a Spitfire flight experience then there are two main options for creating a truly fantastic day.

The aforementioned Spitfire Academy offer several 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.

In Essex, you can fly in a Spitfire operated by Aero Legends based at the historic North Weald airfield.

Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar

If you’re in London or the south east you could visit the equally historic airfield Biggin Hill in Kent and got on a tour of the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar.

‘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 above or you can opt for a VIP hangar tour of the restoration projects.

Peter Lovegrove Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar
My uncle Peter Lovegrove, former Fleet Air Arm and Spitfire pilot
at Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar

Spitfire Flight Experience – Alongside

There are plenty more opportunities for those who would like to fly alongside a Spitfire in another aircraft.  There is a higher demand for these sightseeing flights 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.

Spitfire T 1
Always a firm favourite with the spectators at an airshow

Watching that Spitfire flying alongside is an excellent opportunity to see it in close formation and the video footage and images you capture wil be 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 at Goodwood Airfield (West Sussex), Biggin Hill (Kent),  Headcorn Aerodrome (Kent), and at Duxford Airfield near Cambridge, where some packages include a visit to the vast Imperial War Museum of aircraft.

If you fly from one of the airfields near the south coast of England you’ll be able to capture some of those perfect shots of the Spitfire against the White Cliffs of Dover and Beachy Head.

A Short History of the Supermarine Spitfire

The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other allied nations during WW II. The Spitfire was designed by Reginald J. Mitchell and was one of the most advanced aircraft of its time. With its superior speed, agility, and firepower the spitfire was instrumental in the allied victory over Nazi Germany.

Replica Of Spitfire Prototype K5054
Replica of Spitfire prototype K5054

The Spitfire prototype K5054 was first flown on 5th March 1936 at Eastleigh Airfield (now Southampton Airport). The aircraft was flown by Vickers test pilot Captain Joseph ‘Matt’ Summers and the flight lasted 8 minutes. His reaction after landing the aircraft was recorded as, “Don’t touch a thing.”

The aircraft entered service with the RAF in 1938. It saw action throughout World War II and was famous for its role in the Battle of Britain when it helped to defend British airfields against the bombing raids of the German Luftwaffe.

While it’s counterpart the Hawker Hurricane was more numerous and accounted for more downed enemy aircraft, it was the Spitfire that stole the limelight.

The Spitfire remained in service with the RAF until the 1950s and was used by other air forces after WW II. During the War of Independence, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) flew Spitfires that were in aerial combat with Spitfires of the Royal Egyptian Air Force (REAF).

The Spitfire is considered one of the most iconic aircraft of all time and has been featured in many books and films about World War II. Over 20,000 Spitfires were built, and a few dozen are still airworthy around the world, with many examples in the UK. They are often seen airshows and air displays by solo pilots or in formation with other aircraft e.g. the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF).

Final Thoughts & Tips

To fly in a Spitfire is the ultimate flight experience for any aviation enthusiast. With its sleek unique design and powerful Rolls Royce Merlin engine, a Spitfire experience is one you’ll never forget. The of being airborne in one of the most famous aircraft of all time … there’s nothing quite like it! If you’re looking for an unforgettable aviation experience, a Spitfire flight is the perfect choice.

Supermarine Spitfire Hf Mk Viiic Mt928 At Goodwood 3Rd September 2006
Supermarine Spitfire HF Mk VIIIc MT928
at the Goodwood Revival 3rd September 2006

In order to make the best of the day there are a few things to remember.

  • All flights are weather dependent so be sure to call the airfield before you set off.
  • You’ll be given a flight suit to wear for the flight so dress accordingly in loose, comfortable clothing to make it easier to put the flight suit on.
  • The ground crew will help you into and out of the aircraft. They are there to assist so if you have any mobility issues you want to raise then call them to discuss options.
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