World War Two plane enthusiasts can re-live ‘our finest hour’ by learning to fly – a restored SPITFIRE.
The fighter plane became iconic after it helped secure a decisive victory over the Nazi Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain in 1940.
Now a flight academy is giving people the chance to become a ‘fighter ace’ and fly the legendary aircraft over the skies of Oxfordshire.
The two day course, costing £5,400, lets war buffs fly three different planes, including the legendary TR-9 model Spitfire.
The training course is being run at the Boultbee Academy in Oxford, which is owned by explorer and property tycoon Steve Boultbee Brooks.
Course goers are put through the same training exercises pilots underwent before the Battle of Britain including drills on how to avoid enemy fire and various complex flying manoeuvres.
Budding pilots are then given an hour-and-ten- minute lesson in the Tiger Moth, 40 minutes in the Harvard military plane and half-an-hour in the restored Spitfire.
Captain Matt Jones, a director at the academy and one of eight pilots who train the recruits, said: ”Flying a spitfire is every small boys dream.
”We are delighted to play a part in the preservation of the memories of this era and give pilots the opportunity to realise their dream.
”It’s an unbelievable experience for everyone involved.
”Flying a spitfire is like riding a thoroughbred stallion, you don’t feel like you are strapped into a plane, you feel as if you are a part of it.
”It is a wonderful and generous concept from the owner – wanting to share this experience with as many people as possible.”
The Spitfire, known as G-ILDA after the name which was printed on its fuselage, was originally built in 1944 as a single seater aircraft in a factory in Castle Bromwich, West Mids.
It was never used during the war but was sold to the South African air force where it was used for training missions.
After it suffered extensive damage to its bodywork it was dumped in a scrap yard in Cape Town and left to rust until Mr Boultree Brooks bought it in 2009 for £1.7 million at auction.
He converted it into a twin-seater – one of only three two-seater Spitfires still flying.
Mr Boultree Brooks said: ”We passionately believe that part of our role is to ensure the Spitfire legend continues to grace our skies.
”We are immensely proud of the Boultbee academy which enables us to achieve that aim.”
To book a course visit www.boultbeeflightacademy.co.uk.