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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

This January IWC Schaffhausen built up a cool and sophisticated hangar at SIHH, inside a Spitfire airplane. Beside releasing the latest collection, the brand announced to support two British pilots to accomplish a flying challenge around the world: ‘Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight’. 

Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones are hoping to open a new chapter in aviation history with the first around the world flight in a Spitfire plane. They are avid pilots and the co-founders of the Boultbee Flight Academy, which is the world’s first Spitfire training school and approved Spitfire flight provider.

The Spitfire – also called Supermarine Spitfire – is the most widely produced and strategically important British single-seat fighter of the WWII. It was designed by Reginald J. Mitchell, British aircraft designer. Its design with the elliptical wings was inspired by seagulls and was very functional -it provided aerodynamic sleekness and manoeuvrability. The capabilities of the Spitfire made it appear on screen in black and white already in 1942. Produced and directed by the British Leslie Howard, The First of the Few (US title Spitfire) is a documentary about the birth of the Spitfire. Howard portrayed Reginald Joseph Mitchell, the constructor of the aircraft himself.

This summer, the two gentlemen will cover more than 43,000 kilometres and around 30 countries with the iconic aircraft, the Supermarine Spitfire MX.IX built in 1943 – the very one exhibited in the booth. Its maximum flight attitude is 43,000 feet and the maximum speed is 650km/h. The flight route will strongly depend on the weather conditions. As they fly through most of the continents the 75+ year-old plane has to handle extreme circumstances.

silver-spitfire
Silver Spitfire. Photo by John M. Dibbs

To accomplish the route, the aircraft needed a serious restoration. 15 specialised engineers from Duxford’s Aircraft Restoration Company have worked tirelessly over the past two years. 

‘Luckily, we were able to reuse as many original parts as possible, which has allowed us to retain the unique character of this strikingly beautiful aircraft. The “Silver Spitfire” is, without a doubt, one of the most original airworthy Spitfires in the world,’ notes Gerry Jones, Chief Engineer at Boultbee Flight Academy. He shares more details in this video.

Now the restoration is complete with the new modern registration: G-IRTY (instead of the historic registration MJ271). The start of the expedition is scheduled for 5 August from Goodwood Aerodrome, where the headquarters of Boultbee Flight Academy is based.

Of course until the start the crew has to test-fly a lot and familiarise themselves with the aircraft and its flight behaviour. Check out the video about the project below.

Source: press release. Photo credits: IWC Schaffhausen
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