Air, Earth & Water10.07.2019

“Silver Spitfire”: Restoration of iconic aircraft complete

In August the British plane will embark on an unprecedented flight around the world

“Silver Spitfire”: Restoration of iconic aircraft complete

IWC Schaffhausen and Boultbee Flight Academy have announced that the restoration of the “Silver Spitfire” is complete. The unique surface of polished aluminium highlights the iconic silhouette of the British aircraft in a way never seen before. The “Silver Spitfire”, with the new G-IRTY registration, has been taking off for flight tests this month, before embarking on an unprecedented flight around the world in August.

The ambitious goal of “Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight” is to circumnavigate the world in a Spitfire. IWC is supporting Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones with their expedition as official time keeper and main partner. Never before in the history of aviation has the legendary British aircraft embarked on such a long and arduous journey. The two British pilots, and founders of Boultbee Flight Academy,

will fly the propeller-driven aeroplane around the world, covering a distance of over 43,000 kilometres and visiting some 30 countries on their way.

The restoration was a

Herculean task for everyone involved.

A Spitfire is made up of tens of  thousands of distinct parts. More than 20,000 rivets, for example, had to be individually inspected, cleaned and, if necessary, replaced. The goal of everyone involved was to keep the Spitfire MX.IX in its original condition, as far as possible, and procuring the different spare parts proved to be a real challenge. To begin with, the aircraft had no instrument panel and no flying instruments, and large parts of the hydraulic system, the undercarriage legs and the propeller were no longer in their original condition. All these additional components had to be procured and fitted at great expense.

The fuselage and wings of the aircraft were polished in a multi-stage process, using various compounds and pads. Importantly, this intricate process managed to preserve a unique patina, which had been caused by exhaust fumes tarnishing the Spitfire’s fuselage, during its many years of active service.

“The final result is simply breathtaking. Thanks to the shiny surface of polished aluminium, the beautiful  silhouette of this iconic aircraft – with the unmistakable elliptical wings – is visible in its purest form. I am looking forward to the test flights and the start of this unique adventure,” says Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen.

From our editors

Ode to the Woman