A Newcastle University alumnus has recently completed an around the world flight in a Spitfire.
Former civil engineering student, Matt Jones, and his fellow pilot, Steve Brooks, completed the flight in 4 months. The pair took off from Goodwood, West Sussex, on August 5th and returned on December 5th.
Their journey spanned 22 countries over 4 continents, amounting to 27,000 miles across the world. Upon the return of the famous World War 2 aircraft, the pilots were guided in by the RAF’s famous aerobatics squadron- the Red Arrows.
Speaking in a recent interview with The Sun, Jones said: “The highlight for me was the flight from Jordan to Egypt. The colour of the sea and desert were amazing.”
The Spitfire in question that completed the feat was from around 1943 and was meticulously checked before each flight to make sure the old plane could still fly.
However, one modernization that was made was a distinctive silver paint finish, ensuring the Spitfire would catch eyes on its journey around the world.
Jones also told The Sun: ‘We didn’t want it to look like a military plane but also wanted to show off the beauty of it, which the silver really achieves’.
The aircraft’s distinctive colour also gave the project its name- Silver Spitfire: the longest flight. The project’s website allowed interested users to track the Spitfire’s progress as they traversed the globe and investigate the record breaking aircraft.
The history making duo also received a good luck message from Prince Harry, who himself has flying experience with Apache helicopters in the Army.
The trip was also a special one for former Newcastle student Jones, as his wife gave birth to his son Arthur.
Upon returning home Jones told the press: “After such a whirlwind of a trip, it feels quite surreal to be back at Goodwood with our mission accomplished.”
The Spitfire was originally developed as a fighter jet for use in aerial combat during World War 2. The famous design was originally conceptualized by Stoke-on-Trent engineer Reginald Mitchell.
According to figures only around 200 Spitfires still exist from the original 21,500 built at Castle Bromwich in the 1940’s. The Silver Spitfire is one of only around 50 capable of still flying.
Last modified: 17th February 2020