WWII Spitfire set for round-the-world flight

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Two British aviators take off Monday on a first-ever attempt to fly a Spitfire around the world, proclaiming the iconic fighter plane as a symbol of freedom.

The restored plane fought in World War II but has been de-militarised, stripped of its guns and paintwork to reveal the shining, silvery metal underneath.

The 76-year-old plane is due to take off from Goodwood Aerodrome in England for a four-month, 43,500-kilometre adventure westwards around the globe.

Taking turns, Steve Brooks, 58, and Matt Jones, 45, who run a flight academy, will pilot the Silver Spitfire to around 30 countries and soar over some of the world’s most cherished landmarks.

The silver plane will set off from Goodwood outside Chichester, near England’s south coast and head north for Scotland.

It will then cross the Atlantic Ocean via the Faroe Islands, Reykjavik, Greenland and remote parts of northern Canada. The plane will fly past some of the world’s most well-known sites, including the Grand Canyon, Mount Fuji, and some of the seven wonders of the ancient world in Egypt and Greece.

The sponsor-funded expedition will then cross North America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe, in around 90 legs.

Of around 20,000 built, fewer than 250 survive, with only 50 or so of those still airworthy. They rarely fly and are mostly based in Britain.

The Spitfire being used on this journeney is the MJ271, the original MK.IX LF plane (serial number CBAFIX970) 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. It was in storage in a museum before its restoration began early in 2017. Over 24 painstaking months, the Spitfire is being restored piece by piece, seeing the 80,000 rivets and many parts being entirely dismantled, checked, cleaned and restored before being unveiled in its glory in spring 2019. Highly polished to reveal its iconic shape and to highlight its precision engineering the Spitfire will be renamed the Silver Spitfire with a new call sign G-IRTY. The aircraft that first flew in 1944 will now fly around the globe some 75 years later as one of the most original Spitfire aircraft in the world.

Via France 24 / The Telegraph / The Silver Spitfire

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