Impossible? Not quite.
To the best of our information there are about 50 Spitfires currently flying Worldwide. Of these only five are two-seaters (converted Mark 9’s), three in the UK and two in the USA. UK CAA regulations forbid the use of aircraft that do not have civil public transport certification for paid for passenger flights, and the poor old ‘Spit’ wasn’t designed to public transport rules. Similar rules apply in the USA.
However the owner of one of the US based aircraft is willing to take people along with him on a cost-sharing basis. These costs are far from trivial, a Spitfire is very expensive to run, but it can be arranged through Tiger Airways. Flights are of about 45 minutes duration and cost will be around $2,500. Additionally there is the cost of a return flight to the USA and travel and accommodation whilst there (the Spitfire is normally based in Aspen, Colorado; Denver is the nearest International Airport).
This Spitfire has dual controls, so it will be possible to actually try your hand at flying the aeroplane. It is also possible for some aerobatic manoeuvres to be carried out on the flight.
There is a maximum weight limit of 190 lbs for people taking this flight and it is applied rigidly. You will be required to step on a set of scales at the airport before the flight – 192 lbs and you don’t fly. Anyone who doubts the wisdom of this should read Jeffrey Quill’s book “Spitfire: A Test Pilot’s Story”, and note his description of the handling problems created by flying the aircraft with the C of G too far aft.
For more information and to arrange for a flight, contact Tiger Airways on 01452 854141.
If the costs and time involved in flying a Spitfire seem to daunting, you may be interested in flying in one of the aircraft in which Spitfire pilots learned to fly. That can be done here in the UK. For more information, click here.