In the summer of 2019, British pilots Matt Jones and Steve Brooks will embark on an ambitious 27,000 mile journey around the world in a polished silver Marx XI Spitfire that first took to the skies in 1944. And you might be able to help them on their way.
The aircraft Jones and Books will be flying was bought at auction over two years ago, and is currently undergoing a painstaking refit, the installation of a few modifications and a significant outfit change – a small Union flag and the logo of IWC, the Swiss watch manufacturer that is helping to sponsor the trip, will be the only flashes of colour on a livery that’s otherwise just sleek, polished silver.
Already, it’s a dazzling thing to look at: an icon of British engineering, stripped and burnished to become a thing of arguably even greater beauty.
But what if, heaven forbid, there’s a technical problem during the flight, or worse yet, the aircraft needs to be replaced?
Jones and Books have a ready made back-up, in the form of a Mark IX Supermarine Spitfire named RR32. The aircraft is owned by Martin Phillips, a 59-year-old Devonian businessman who bet his friends on his 40th birthday in 1999 that he could source pieces for the single-seater and build it himself.
However, this is the world of flying WW2 aircraft: you can never take too many precautions. Which is why, as part of Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight, The Telegraph is issuing a call for arms: do you have a bit of old Spitfire in your garage or garden? If you suspect so, we’re urging you to take a photograph and send it through to us so we can have The Longest Flight team inspect it. It may prove to be a crucial element needed to bolster the survival of this aeronautical icon.