Silver Spitfire Launches on Round-the-World Flight

The restored 1943 fighter honors those who built and flew the airplane.

Chrome polished Supermarine Spitfire
The polished Supermarine Spitfire flies again after its restoration.John Dibbs

Bringing together the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force in 2018 with the 75th anniversary of its first missions in 1944, the Silver Spitfire launched on August 5, 2019, on its round-the-world journey from Goodwood Aerodrome in southern England.

The Silver Spitfire, MJ271, was one of the original aircraft built in 1943 in Castle Bromwich by Vickers Supermarine Ltd., and it has been painstakingly restored over 24 months for the Boultbee Flying Academy at Goodwood, in Chichester, United Kingdom, which features Spitfire flight and training experiences for pilots and enthusiasts of all skill levels.

The single-seat MJ271 carries an extra 66 gallons on board in a spare fuel tank for the crossing. Pilots Matt Jones and Steve Brooks are the primary crew. Jones flew the Chipmunk in the RAF, and is the co-founder of the Boultbee Flying Academy. Brooks purchased his first Spitfire at auction ten years ago, and the academy has introduced more than 2,000 people to the airplane through flight experiences. The Spitfire remains an iconic emblem of World War II.

Jones took off from Goodwood at 1:32 p.m. local time, for a local sortie with three other Spitfires for a photo op, before launching again for Newcastle, where the aircraft landed at 5:52 p.m. according to data accessed on Flightradar24.com. It ended the day at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, in northeastern Scotland. Its next stops include points in the UK, Faro Isles, Iceland, Greenland, and Canada. Several stops in the U.S. are planned, including Teterboro (KTEB), Beaver County, Pennsylvania (KBVI), and Huntington, Indiana (KHHG); Osklaloosa, Iowa (KOOA); Cozad, Nebrasksa (KCZD); Erie (KEIK), Colorado Springs (KCOS), and Cortez (KCEZ), Colorado; Nellis AFB (KLSV); Santa Monica (KSMO) and Hayward, California (KHWD); and Redmond, Oregon (KRDM), and Snohomish County, Washington (KPAE).

A live stream of the departure can be replayed by visiting the Facebook page. Takeoff roll is at 1:12:30.