Silver Spitfire back in Chichester - ‘Home are the heroes’ as Goodwood pilots complete round-the-world trip
Two Goodwood pilots have landed back home after flying a Silver Spitfire around the world in four months.
A newly-restored spitfire aircraft landed at Goodwood Aerodrome this afternoon (Thursday, December 5) following a ‘life-changing’ 27,000 mile journey around the planet.
The aircraft, which was located and restored by Goodwood pilots Matt Jones and Steve Brooks, the co-founders of Boultbee Flight Academy, set off on August 5, on a journey around some of the world’s most iconic locations.
Approximately 400 guests had gathered on the Goodwood Estate for a big farewell party, including Hollywood stars Rosamund Pike and Taron Egerton, Peaky Blinders actor Finn Cole, former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard, TV and radio presenter Dermot O’Leary and The Duke of Richmond.
A spokesman for IWC Schaffhausen, the ‘main partner and official timekeeper of the expedition’, said: “Pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones have made aviation history after completing the first ever round-the-world flight in a Spitfire.
“Boultbee Brooks and Jones landed just in time for Christmas to a rapturous welcome at Goodwood exactly four months after they set off on their epic expedition.”
Upon arriving home, Steve Brooks said ‘it’s so wonderful to be back on home soil’.
He added: “It’s been an incredible adventure and such a privilege to share our stunning Silver Spitfire with the rest of the world.
“Of course, there have been challenges along the way, but at every stop, we have received such incredible support from people on the ground. Everyone has greeted us and our aircraft with open arms.”
IWC Schaffhausen celebrated the crew’s ‘phenomenal achievement’ by arranging an ‘intimate homecoming party’ at the Goodwood airfield this afternoon.
“Friends and family of the pilots, IWC management, and the entire support crew were all in attendance as the Spitfire landed,” the spokesman continued.
“IWC brand ambassador David Coulthard also put in an appearance to welcome the daring duo back to the UK.”
Chief pilot Jones said it was a ‘whirlwind of a trip’.
He added: “What a welcome. It feels quite surreal to be back at Goodwood with our mission accomplished.
“The scenery, the places we’ve visited, the people we have met, have been truly life-changing.
“From flying past the Statue of Liberty to coasting over the frozen plains of Russia and the jungles of Asia, we have been lucky enough to see the earth in all its beauty, all whilst sitting in the most gorgeous Spitfire.
“It’s been an unforgettable experience.”
On its route around the world, the record-breaking flight covered a total of almost 43,000 kilometres and
visited more than 20 countries.
The IWC spokesman said: “The 76-year-old restored aircraft journeyed across the icy expanse of Greenland, glided over the majesty of New York, before crossing the United States to reach Las Vegas and the California sun.
“From there, the Spitfire flew north to Canada and Alaska, before heading westward into Russia. In Japan, the team had to dodge a typhoon before slowly making their way across Asia, from the humidity of Myanmar to the vibrant
colours of India.
“After a brief rest in Abu Dhabi, the pilots made their way home to Europe, visiting Italy and the Netherlands, before finally landing back in the UK.
“After taxiing from the Goodwood runway, the Spitfire pulled up in front of a hangar where it was greeted by a sea of smiling faces and congratulatory banners, all celebrating the historic feat.”
The story of The Silver Spitfire was told in a documentary which aired on BBC4 in September.