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For the first time in 60 years: ‘Silver Spitfire’ to take to skies for round-the-world record flight attempt

The iconic WW2 Spitfire underwent a two-year painstaking restoration.

, ET Bureau|
Jul 16, 2019, 05.18 PM IST
More than 20,000 rivets had to be individually inspected, cleaned and, if necessary, replaced.
An iconic restored WW2 Spitfire has taken to the skies again for the first time in sixty years - and next month it will set off on a remarkable around-the-world record flight attempt. IWC Schaffhausen and Boultbee Flight Academy took two years to restore the British aircraft and it was a Herculean task for everyone involved.

More than 20,000 rivets had to be individually inspected, cleaned and, if necessary, replaced. The goal of everyone involved was to keep the Spitfire MX.IX in its original condition, as far as possible, and procuring the different spare parts proved to be a real challenge.

The aircraft had no instrument panel and no flying instruments, and large parts of the hydraulic system, the undercarriage legs and the propeller were no longer in their original condition. Also, because the “Silver Spitfire” has a total of eight fuel tanks instead of two, various new pipes, valves and pumps had to be fitted. In addition, the powerful Rolls-Royce Merlin 70 engine, with an output of over 1700 hp, was given a thorough overhaul and is now ready for another 500 flying hours.

“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,” notes Gerry Jones, Chief Engineer at Boultbee Flight Academy.

Just a few days ago flight testing began and, over the next weeks, the crew will familiarise themselves with the aircraft. The 1943 Mk IX Spitfire is set to complete the 27,000-mile journey in four months, starting on August 5th, visiting 30 countries, with experienced pilots Matt Jones and Steve Brooks at the controls.

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