Two British pilots attempt a world tour in a WWII Spitfire Mk.IX

Silver Spitfire © J Dibbs

Symbol of the Battle of Britain in 1940, a demilitarised and glittering Spitfire took off on Monday for a long journey in some 30 countries. Pilots Steve Brooks and Matt Jones want to pay tribute to those who designed, built and piloted the Spitfire.

Two British airmen took off from the south of England on Monday to attempt the first round-the-world journey aboard a legendary hunter and symbol of the Battle of Britain in 1940, the Spitfire.

For the purpose of the adventure, the Silver Spitfire, which served during the Second World War, was demilitarised, stripped of its cannons and paint, revealing the silvery and shiny metal that covers it.

We hope to make people aware of the beauty and aesthetics of the Spitfire. It is the most majestic aircraft that exists, “said Steve Brooks, one of the pilots.

The 76-year-old plane took off from Goodwood Airfield, near the southern coast of England, for a four-month, 43,500-km journey in some 30 countries. It will be piloted in turn by Steve Brooks, 58, and Matt Jones, 45, flying school bosses.

For its first leg, the plane headed for Scotland and then it will cross the Atlantic Ocean through the Faroe Islands, Reykjavik, Greenland and remote areas of northern Canada.

A crucial role against Nazi Germany

Agile interceptors, the Spitfires played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain, while the United Kingdom fought the threat of an invasion of Nazi Germany. For Steve Brooks, “the Spitfire represents the freedom of humanity“.

With this world tour, Steve Brooks and Matt Jones intend to pay tribute to those who have designed, built and piloted the Spitfire, and invite those who see her to cherish freedom. Of the approximately 20,000 aircraft built, less than 250 remain, of which only 50 are flying, mostly based in the United Kingdom.

“The Silver Spitfire over the Golden Gate”

The expedition, funded largely by a Swiss watch manufacturer, will comprise a total of approximately 90 stages across North America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

The plane will fly over some of the most iconic sites in the world: the Grand Canyon (USA), Mount Fuji (Japan), and some of the seven wonders of the world in Egypt and Greece. It could also fly over the Great Wall of China and land in the “pink city” of Jaipur, India.

We will see so many people and so many countries. I hope it will be a success, “said Matt Jones before the start. “Seeing the Silver Spitfire over the Golden Gate, the Statue of Liberty or the Pyramids of Giza is going to be fantastic,” said Steve Brooks.

The Spitfire has “a real soul”

All the more, according to the pilot, flying on a Spitfire is an experience like no other. “It’s the most incredible sensation. Once you’re inside, you’re part of it, he said. It’s like driving a vintage car. He has a real soul.

The aircraft is powered by a powerful 27-litre V12 Rolls-Royce Merlin engine with its “spectacular” sound: “You have this whirring engine that resonates throughout your body,” said Steve Brooks, the first pilot to fly from one pole to another by helicopter.

But taking control of a Spitfire also involves a challenge: “It’s good old technology” that requires driving “feeling“, he explained. The team should return to Goodwood on December 8th.

The Spitfire (Mk.IX), a single-seater registered MJ271, was built in 1943 by British manufacturer Vickers Supermarine in Castle Bromwich (central England). It participated in 51 combat missions, escorted bombers, and dived targets on the French coast.


0EGHRChichester/Goodwood AirportUK
2EKVGVagar AirportFAROE ISLES06/08/2019
3BIRKReykjavik AirportICELAND06/08/20191
4BGKKKulusuk AirportGREENLAND07/08/20191
6CYVMBroughton IslandCANADA09/08/20191
7CYFBIqaluit AirportCANADA10/08/20191
8CYVPKuujjuaq AirportCANADA11/08/2019
10CYYYMont JoliCANADA12/08/2019
11CYOWOttawa GatineauCANADA12/08/20194
13KBVIBeaver CountyUSA18/08/2019
17KEIKERIE Municipal – DenverUSA20/08/20193
18KCOSColorado SpringsUSA23/08/2019
19KCEZCortez MunicipalUSA23/08/2019
20KLSVNellis AFBUSA23/08/20191
21KNFLFallon NAS (Van Voorhis Field)USA24/08/20191
22KMHVMojave Air and Space PortUSA25/08/20191
23KSMOSanta Monica MunicipalUSA26/08/20194
24KHWDHayward ExecutiveUSA30/08/2019
25KRDMRoberts FieldUSA30/08/20191
26KPAESnohomish County (Paine Field)USA31/08/20194
27CYWLWilliams lakeCANADA04/09/2019
28CYXJFort St JohnCANADA04/09/20191
29CYQHWatson lakeCANADA05/09/2019
30CYXYErik Nielsen IntlCANADA05/09/20191
33PAGAEdward G Pitka SrUSA07/09/20191
35UHMDProvideniya Bay AirportRUSSIA11/09/20191
36UHMAAnadyr Airport – Ugolny)RUSSIA12/09/20191
38UHMWSevero – EvenskRUSSIA13/09/20191
39UHMMMagadan Sokol AirportRUSSIA14/09/20191
40UHOOOkhotsk AirportRUSSIA15/09/2019
42UHHHKhabarovsk NovyRUSSIA16/09/20191
43UHSSYuzhno-Sakhalinsk AirportRUSSIA17/09/20191
44RJCOSapporo OkadamaJAPAN18/09/20191
52VHHHHong KongHONGKONG29/09/201914
54VTUUUbon RatchathaniTHAILAND14/10/20192
55VTBDBangkok / Don MueangTHAILAND16/10/20194
56VTCCChiang MaiTHAILAND20/10/20191
57VYMDMandalayMYANMAR (BURMA)21/10/20193
58VGEGChittagong Shah Amanat AirportBANGLADESH24/10/20191
59VECCKolkata AirportINDIA25/10/20191
60VEKA (VIKA)Kanpur AirportINDIA26/10/2019
61VIDXIAF Hindon – DelhiINDIA26/10/20193
62VIJOJodhpur AirportINDIA29/10/20193
63VAAHSardar Vallabhbhai Patel International AirportINDIA01/11/20191
64OPKCKarachi Jinnah International. AirportPAKISTAN02/11/20191
65OPGDGwadar AirportPAKISTAN03/11/20191
66OMADAbu Dhabi – AL Bateen Exec AirportUAE04/11/20192
67OBBIBahrain International AirportBAHRAIN06/11/20195
68OKBKKuwait AirportKUWAIT11/11/20191
69OESKAl Jouf AirportSAUDI ARABIA12/11/2019
70OJAQAqaba/King Hussein Int AirportJORDAN12/11/20193
71HEGNHurghada AirportEGYPT15/11/20192
72HEOC6th OctoberEGYPT17/11/2019
73HECACairo International AirportEGYPT17/11/20191
76LGAVEleftherios Venizelos AirportGREECE20/11/20191
77LGKRIoannis Kapodistrias AirportGREECE21/11/20191
78LIBGTaranto-Grottaglie AirportITALY22/11/2019
79LIBPPescara AirportITALY22/11/20191
82LIMBMilan BressoITALY25/11/20193
83LSZRSt Gallen / AltenrheinSWITZERLAND28/11/20191
84EDAZBerlin – SchonhagenGERMANY29/11/20193
85EHAMSchiphol / AmsterdamHOLLAND02/12/20193
86LFPBParis Le BourgetFRANCE05/12/20193
87EGHRChichester/Goodwood AirportUK08/12/2019


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