WORKING TOWARDS BECOMING A SPITFIRE PILOT
A personal challenge for two intrepid members Jim Fairley and John Barlow was to learn to fly a Spitfire.
The Boultbee Flight Academy currently based at the Goodwood Aerodrome provided the training and the aircraft. Boultbee offer the opportunity to trace the training footsteps of many RAF pilots by flying first a Tiger Moth or Chipmunk, then progressing to a Harvard and finally a fully restored two seat Vickers Supermarine Spitfire TR-9.
As a pilot you attend the Academy to undertake the two day Introduction course. This will see you receive ground and flight training in the three aircrafts that were commonly used in training RAF pilots in the 1930's to the 1950's, namely the De Havilland Tiger Moth or Chipmunk, The North American Aviation Harvard and the Supermarine Spitfire.
Tiger Moth Conversion
This involves flying an open cockpit biplane which is an amazing experience where you are taught all about tail wheel operations.
The Chipmunk Conversion
This course can be considered as the first step in getting yourself into a Spitfire as the Pilot in command.
This course is the second step in becoming a Spitfire pilot. Here you build on what you learnt on the Chipmunk Conversion course to add polish to your skills, and to get you to a stage that you are confident in your abilities in the aircraft and have a very good understanding of its limits.
Before progressing to the Spitfire the next set of skills you need can be learnt on the Harvard. It's a much heavier, more powerful and more complex aircraft.
Most modern day pilots can only dream of experiencing the thrill and the emotion involved with climbing into the seat of a Spitfire, strapping in, hearing the Rolls Royce Merlin engine roar as it whirrs into action and then taking to the skies in this iconic machine.
Having completed the Harvard conversion course and perhaps having done some further training to enable you to fly the Harvard from the back seat, you move on to the truly breath-taking Spitfire.
Looking very pleased with themselves! during their training at Kidlington (the former base of Boultbee)
Jim Fairley (Front Row - second left) and John Barlow (Front Row - right)
Don't ask LAC about the price - we don't want to frighten you - but more info is available at: www.boultbeeflightacademy.co.uk or call 07747 792395.