Graphic shows the route of the Silver Spitfire with details on the plane and expedition.


Silver Spitfire global flight

By Ninian Carter

December 3, 2019 - In the 100th anniversary year of Britain’s Royal Air Force, two aviators have spent four months circumnavigating the globe in a mirror-polished aluminium WWII Spitfire.

A World War II Spitfire aeroplane is due to return to the UK on December 5, following an epic 40,000km, four-month flight around the world.

The striking aircraft, which has had its customary camouflage paint removed and instead its aluminium body mirror-polished, set off westwards in August taking in such countries as Greenland, Canada, United States, Russia, Japan, Thailand, India, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.

It is flown by two pilots who alternate flying shifts – while one flies the Spitfire, the other rests in a Pilatus PC-12 support plane flying alongside. It also carries an engineer and spare parts, as well as a documentary film-making team.

Weather has been the expedition’s biggest challenge as, unlike modern aircraft, Spitfires do not have instruments that allow them to fly in bad conditions or cloud. The plane is deliberately flown low as often as possible so as to be visible from the ground.

PUBLISHED: 03/12/2019; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Handouts
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