In the summer of 2019, a carefully restored Spitfire boasting a unique silver-chrome finish will take off from London to embark on a round-the-world flight. The aircraft, built in 1943, will cover more than 43,000 kilometres over several months, visiting some 30 countries on its way. The expedition is the brainchild of Steve Boultbee-Brooks and Matt Jones, founders of the Boultbee Flight Academy. IWC Schaffhausen will be lending its support to the “Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight” expedition as its main sponsor.
IWC has a long-standing association with aviation and with the Spitfire, in particular. They have been manufacturing pilot watches for over 80 years and have previously commemorated the Spitfire with several special-edition watches.
IWC has also announced a partnership of several years with the Boultbee Flight Academy based at Goodwood Aerodrome, West Sussex. It is the world’s first Spitfire training school that offers Spitfire experience flights, ground-breaking Spitfire flight simulator to non-pilots and Spitfire training to certified pilots.
“IWC Schaffhausen shares our passion for aviation and our admiration for the Spitfire. We know we have found the perfect partner to make our vision of a round-the-world flight a reality.” – Matt Jones, Co-founder of Boultbee Flight Academy.
“More than any other aircraft, the Spitfire symbolises man’s dream of flying. She is a masterpiece of engineering, who was born ahead of her time and who continues to dazzle with her iconic design. We were instantly captivated by the ambitious idea of flying this aircraft around the world, and we are excited to be able to help this adventure along its way,” explains Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen.
The Spitfire marked MJ271 was built in 1943 in Castle Bromwich. At present, the aircraft is being stripped down to its component parts and painstakingly restored. Every single part is being lovingly polished by hand to a brilliant silver sheen. In the spring of 2019, the public will have their first chance to see the aircraft, rechristened the “Silver Spitfire”.
The first part of the tour will see it fly from England to the USA via Canada. This route allows the expedition team to benefit from the comparatively mild weather conditions of the Arctic. From there, the journey continues via South East Asia to India, before turning towards the Middle East and flying back to Europe. On its way, the “Silver Spitfire” will also touch down in several countries that have never before seen an aeroplane of this sort on their runways. French artist Romain Hugault, widely regarded as one of the pre-eminent illustrators of classic aviation, will be accompanying the Spitfire to create an artistic record of the journey.