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Soaring Through Time: Why Spitfire Flights Must Endure

09 July 2024

Soaring Through Time: Why Spitfire Flights Must Endure

The absence of the iconic Battle of Britain plane, the Spitfire, did not go unnoticed during the recent Trooping of the Colour for King Charles’ 75th birthday in June. After the death of Mark Long, a RAF Spitfire pilot who was killed in a Spitfire crash on May 25, the ongoing debate about the safety of Spitfire flying has risen its head again.

Squadron Leader Mark Long was killed during a BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) when the plane he was flying crashed into a field in Lincolnshire. Long was in his fourth season with the BBMF and currently investigations are still going on to find out the cause of the crash.

This tragic event caused the BBMF to pull out of the King’s celebrations but other RAF Aircraft took part the the fly past. However, the question over the safety of Spitfire flying remains, as well as the importance of preserving these historic aircrafts and making sure they remain accessible to the public who wish to explore this part of aviation history.

Spitfire flying is a unique way to experience the past

There is no denying that there is a level of risk every time you step into any aircraft, and Spitfires aren’t exempt. However, it has to be said that every model goes through a very strict refurbishment before being available to the public and every flight follows a set of safety procedures aiming to protect passengers safety. In fact, the tragic passing of Mark Long was the first fatal accident in BBMF history so it pays to remember how rare the fatalities are.

Focusing on the rare fatalities should not take away the fact Spitfire Flying is a unique way to experience a crucial part of Britain’s aviation history. Yes, you can learn about history through books, films and documentaries and study the past in that way, but this doesn’t give you a physical experience of what pilots in World War Two went through as they fought selflessly to defend Britain’s skies.

Sitting in the cockpit of a Spitfire, you get a unique insight into the smells, sights and sounds of an aircraft that had such a key role in WW2. Spitfire flying isn’t only enjoyable, but a key way in which to preserve the past and acts as a form of remembrance to a generation who sacrificed their lives so we could live today. Taking these flights away risks a generation of people not being able to fully experience the sacrifices that were made.

The popularity of Spitfire flights endure

There’s no denying that there is always the possibility of another fatality, but this would be the same case with any form of flying. This is why Spitfires have remained an incredibly popular flying experience with Flydays. In recent years, our Spitfire Flying Experiences have grown from strength to strength.

Throughout the second quarter of 2024 (1st April - 30th June 2024) Flydays experienced a 58.3% increase in sales for Spitfire flights from the first quarter (1st January - 31st March) with our Two Seater Spitfire Flight and Heritage Hangar Visit in Kent being the most popular package for aviation fans.

This is a testament to the enduring popularity of Spitfire flying and how it can give us a unique insight into the past that you simply can’t get from any other experience.

Keeping these flights alive and kicking is an essential form of remembrance, but also a way to satisfy the British love affair with the Spitfire which endures across generations.

Spitfire flying is safe and should be preserved

Although it's vital to not underplay the safety concerns involved in flying vintage aircrafts such as the Spitfire, it has to be said that occasions such as what happened to Mark Long in May are incredibly rare.

Well trained engineers throughout the country work tirelessly to not only constantly restore these eighty year old planes, but keep them constantly serviced so they are in full working order to use.

Not keeping these mighty planes full of history ticking through the skies would simply be disservice to those who fought for the futures we're able to enjoy today.

Fancy getting behind the controls of a plane filled with aviation history? You can explore our range of Vintage Flying Experiences on the Flydays website and purchase a Gift Voucher!

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