After a few false starts due to the poor weather conditions this year, Tony Matthews, the winner of last year’s XH558 Winter Raffle was able to use his winner’s prize of a flight in a Spitfire. He’s kindly shared his experience for us.
After arriving at Duxford airfield and the Aerial Collective hangar I signed in with other participants for the Spitfire Flights. We had a short video and safety briefing before being kitted out with overalls, gloves and helmet.
I met my Pilot Stu and when my turn came, strapped into the Spitfire with the aid of ground crew member, Jack. He also pointed out various dials and switches to me that I shouldn’t touch! I was then ready to go.
The engine started, we checked the intercom and the chocks were removed. Two Spitfires taxied out to the runway – it was to be a tandem formation take off so once we were both lined up Stu called ‘Take off in 5’. Air traffic control replied ‘Clear OK’ and we were off down the runway and up into the air side by side.
We flew like this for a while and it seemed as if we were very close together then breaking left and right to ‘do our own thing’. At nearly 3,000 feet fluffy clouds were around us. The pilot said ‘We’ll dance around them’ – left and right, up and down.
Continuing north and passing over Huntingdon Stu asked me if I would like to take control, which I did! Telling me what to do we banked left and right, up and down, needing only tiny movements of the joystick. Returning control to Stu he asked if me if I’d like to perform some light aerobatics, I wasn’t sure but said OK I’d give it a go. We performed a couple of ‘Wing Overs’ and he asked ‘How about a Victory roll?’ which I declined!
We then headed back towards Duxford, meeting up with the other Spitfire for a formation fly-past over the airfield. Flying around again separately, we landed and headed back to the hangar.
I wish to thank Aerial Collective and my Pilot Stu for the wonderful day, one that I will always remember and also recommend to others.
Thanks also to the person who picked my winning ticket at Vulcan to the Sky Trust. Another tick off the ‘Bucket list’ – WOW !
PS You are also given a video of your flight so you can ‘fly again and again’!