Pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones returned to Goodwood Aerodrome today to rousing cheers and celebrations, having made aviation history, completing the first ever round-the-world flight in a Spitfire, landing exactly four months after the expedition took off. The iconic spitfire covered almost 43,000 kilometres and visited over 20 countries on its epic journey.
Goodwood partner IWC Schaffhausen were main partner and official timekeeper of the project, arranging a hero’s welcome for the crew and their families in the Boultbee hangar to celebrate their phenomenal achievement. Children waved ‘welcome home Daddy’ banners and Union Jack flags as IWC Ambassador David Coulthard and a huge crowd of well-wishers cheered the plane home in the dappled sunshine.
Boultbee Brooks, co-founder of the Boultbee Flight Academy said, “It’s so wonderful to be back on home soil. It’s been an incredible adventure and such a privilege to share our stunning Silver Spitfire with the rest of the world. Of course, there have been challenges along the way, but at every stop, we have received such incredible support from people on the ground. Everyone has greeted us and our aircraft with open arms”.
The 76 year-old, lovingly restored aircraft flew across Greenland, New York, Las Vegas, Canada, and Alaska before heading to Russia, Japan and India. After a stopover in Abu Dhabi, the pilots journeyed home to Europe via Italy, the Netherlands and finally back to the UK, escorted by the Red Arrows.
Chief Pilot Jones said, “What a welcome! After such a whirlwind of a trip, it feels quite surreal to be back at Goodwood with our mission accomplished. The scenery, the places we’ve visited, the people we have met, have been truly life-changing. From flying past the Statue of Liberty to coasting over the frozen plains of Russia and the jungles of Asia, we have been lucky enough to see the earth in all its beauty, all whilst sitting in the most gorgeous Spitfire, It’s been an unforgettable experience.”