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4 Ways To Indulge In Your Passion For The Legendary Spitfire

Author : Mike James
Date : 09/12/2021 07:28:01

4 Ways To Indulge In Your Passion For The Legendary Spitfire

4 Ways To Indulge In Your Passion For The Legendary Spitfire

Aviation history has always been a subject of great fascination to man, but nothing beats our everlasting love affair with the legendary Spitfire. It’s more than an admiration for precision engineering; this iconic WWII fighter touches the core of British hearts. Are you obsessed with these most beloved vintage warbirds too?


If you are, there’s no shortage of merchandise to delight the enthusiast. From keyrings to baseball caps, coffee mugs and T-Shirts, giftware is widely available from online shops including those at the RAF Museum, Imperial War Museum and The Spitfire Society. They also make excellent stocking fillers, so do let your family know in good time before Christmas.


Of course, the serious Spitfire fan won’t be satisfied with themed knick-knacks, so we’ve put together five meaningful suggestions to enable you to fully indulge in your passion for this most British of warplanes. Perhaps one of them will light your (spit)fire?

1. Fly a real Spitfire

“I’ve flown the Spitfire. It’s magic. The first time, it nearly reduced me to tears.  And I am not alone as it is the pinnacle of most people’s flying experience.” So says Paul Beaver, an experienced vintage aeroplane pilot. But you don’t need to know how to fly a plane in order to feel that magic.


Britain is home to around 30 airworthy Spitfires, many of which can be admired up close. Even better, many specialist companies offer Spitfire Experience Days where you can spend hours getting close to the object of your affection. Take a look at these fantastic offerings: Book a VIP tour of the heritage hangar and see restoration projects in progress. Take to the skies and fly as a passenger alongside a Spitfire, getting a good look at the iconic warbird in the air. Alternatively, experience the full-throttle thrill of a two-seater Spitfire in person, or via a simulator. You can even take a Spitfire Pilot Training Day.

2. Help build new Spitfires

You may have fond memories of building your own Airfix Spitfire model as a child, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could do something tangible now to ensure that the Spitfire legend lives on? Well, look no further than this ambitious project by The Spitfire Club to build a 12-ship squadron of the new two-seater MK26B Spitfire. It’s called the ACESquadron and is Britain’s newest tribute Spitfire Squadron.


There are various levels of support you can give to help fund the project, ranging from membership options as a friend or support, through to several tiers of sponsorship packages. You can even have your name added to the sponsor wing board, or pledge to be a passenger in the rear seat of a new MK26B.

3. Be part of the NHS Spitfire Project

The Summer of 2020 saw us gathering on our doorsteps every Thursday evening for our weekly ‘Clap for Carers’ to show our appreciation for the NHS and keyworkers during the pandemic. If you saw a Spitfire fly past overhead, this was no coincidence. This Spitfire PR.XI PL983 (nicknamed ‘L’ after air racing pilot Lettice Curtis whose signature can be seen on the side of the fuselage) belongs to The Aircraft Restoration Company (ARC) who decided to do their weekly bit to lift the country’s community spirit. Soon, they added their own message of support, emblazoning the underside of the aircraft with ‘Thank U NHS’.


The overwhelming messages of support and gratitude they received paved the way for this NHS Spitfire project – a kind of modern-day Spitfire fund set up in support of our wonderful NHS:


“We are attempting to completely cover our photo-reconnaissance blue Spitfire PL983 ‘L’ in handwritten names! For us to accomplish this we need your support, as the names we are hand writing onto the Spitfire will be nominated by you! It can be your own name or that of a loved one, a member of your family, a friend or a kind neighbour. You can now become a part of the NHS Spitfires story by nominating a name to be hand written on the aircraft’s airframe.”

4. Buy your own Spitfire

Not many enthusiasts have the means to buy their own piece of aviation history, but if you’re thinking of acquiring your very own Spitfire, it is indeed possible to do so. After all, many wealthy investors choose to put their money into classic sports and racing car collections that can be worth millions, so why not planes?


Enquiries made by one industry expert in 2015 found that “around £1.2 million gets you a ‘bitsa’ [made up of bits of this, bits of that] and you can pay more than double that for an original aircraft with battle history and which may have been flown by a celebrated war-time pilot.” In addition to the cost of purchase, you should budget for around £50K in routine maintenance costs and £30K in annual insurance premiums. And if you take your Spit up in the air, the fuel consumption at cruising speed is around 40 gallons of 100 octane fuel per hour, rising to more than twice that at full throttle. For sure, it’s not for the faint-hearted, but then again, you only live once.