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Where To Watch A Spitfire Start Up, Taxi And Take Off

Published on: 21 Oct, 2015
Updated on: 21 Oct, 2015

By Frank Phillipson

Watch a Spitfire start up, taxi out and take off, and visit an aviation museum featuring the Battle of Britain, both in West Sussex near Chichester.

The recent Commemorative Battle of Britain Day Flights of 34 Spitfires, Hurricanes and a Blenheim were organised by the Boultbee Flight Academy (BFA) based at Goodwood airfield near Chichester.

The academy has two two-seat Spitfires, a two-seat P51 Mustang fighter as well as other training aircraft. If you have deep enough pockets they will give you pilot training up and on to the Spitfires. Click here for more details.

 North American P51 Mustang 44-73877 (painted as an RAF Mustang IVa KH774 (44-11602)) outside the Boultbee hanger at Goodwood 29.6.2015.

North American P51 Mustang 44-73877 (painted as an RAF Mustang IVa KH774 (44-11602)) outside the Boultbee hanger at Goodwood 29.6.2015.

They also offer passenger rides in the Spitfires for £2,750.

Recently the Civil Aviation Authority has relaxed its restrictions on fare-paying passengers in vintage military aircraft. Previously it was necessary for such owners to meet the requirement that airlines need to operate under. With the growth in adventure sports such as sky diving or bungee jumping, flying in a well maintained vintage aircraft is seen as being rather safe.

Vickers Supermarine Spitfire TR9, SM520 at Goodwood 5.8.15.

Vickers Supermarine Spitfire TR9, SM520 at Goodwood 5.8.15.

However, for free, you can see one of Boultbee’s Spitfires being made ready for a flight just a few yards away from a public viewing area. You just have to be lucky enough to be there at the right time or possibly find out when they are going to be flying.

Vickers Supermarine Spitfire TR9, SM520 at Goodwood 5.8.15.

Vickers Supermarine Spitfire TR9, SM520 at Goodwood 5.8.15.

You can watch as the passenger in the rear cockpit is briefed on the safety measures, the aircraft’s flaps, ailerons etc are checked and then listen as the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine is started up. Then the chocks are pulled away and the aircraft taxis out.

Vickers Supermarine Spitfire TR9, SM520 at Goodwood 5.8.15. Taxiing across the grass airfield.

Vickers Supermarine Spitfire TR9, SM520 at Goodwood 5.8.15. Taxiing across the grass airfield.

A few minutes later the Spitfire roars down the runway and climbs away to start the lucky passenger’s flight.

 

 

1. Spitfire TR9, SM520 at Goodwood 5.8.15. - Copy

Vickers Supermarine Spitfire TR9, SM520 at Goodwood climbing away from the airstrip. 5.8.15.

And up in the air 9.10.15.

And up and away on 9.10.15.

Inside the Boultbee hanger, Goodwood 5.8.15. Tiger Moth, Chipmunk, Mustang and Routemaster bus visible.

Inside the Boultbee hanger, Goodwood 5.8.15. Tiger Moth, Chipmunk, Mustang and Routemaster bus visible.

On occasions the Boultbee hanger is open and the various aircraft can be viewed from a small public viewing area.

If you are lucky enough, from viewpoints such as Bracklesham Bay or West Wittering, it’s possible to see (with binoculars) high up and unnoticed by most of the public, these Spitfires flying over the Solent performing loops and rolls.

Not far from Goodwood at Tangmere is the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum (TMAM) situated on the edge of what was once the RAF airfield of the same name. Click here for details.

During the Second World War, Goodwood then called RAF Westhampnett, was a satellite airfield to the important Battle of Britain main airfield of RAF Tangmere.

The museum exists to promote awareness and education of British Military aviation to present and future generations by: “Exhibiting the history of aircraft and personnel involved in military aviation with particular reference to RAF Tangmere and its unique place in that history.”

And by: “Serving as a memorial to those allied airmen and airwomen who gave their lives in the service of this country.”

Hawker Hurricane Mk.I replica at Tangmere MAM 2007. Courtesy of euro-t-guide.com.

Hawker Hurricane Mk.I replica at Tangmere MAM 2007. Courtesy of euro-t-guide.com

Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb replica at the Tangmere MAM in 2007. (Now replaced by a replica of Spitfire prototype K5054). Courtesy of euro-t.

Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb replica at the Tangmere MAM in 2007. (Now replaced by a replica of Spitfire prototype K5054). Courtesy of euro-t-guide.com

In the Battle of Britain Hall can be seen aircraft parts large and small recovered from crash sites together with many stories about the battle together with photographs, documents, paintings, letters and other memorabilia.

The Tangmere Hall tells the story of the airfield from its days in the First World War through its important role in the Battle of Britain to its post-war place in the jet age.

Elsewhere there are full sized replicas of a Hurricane and a Spitfire as well as numerous 1950s to 1970s jet aircraft both inside and in the grounds of the museum.

de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW2 XJ580 at Tangmere MAM 20.8.2012.

de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW2 XJ580 at Tangmere MAM 20.8.2012.

British Aerospace Sea Harrier FRS2 ZA195 at Tangmere MAM 20.8.2012.

British Aerospace Sea Harrier FRS2 ZA195 at Tangmere MAM 20.8.2012.

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test 5 Responses to Where To Watch A Spitfire Start Up, Taxi And Take Off

  1. John Lomas Reply

    October 22, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Having checked with some bus experts the Routemaster would appear to be one of the two RTLs which were converted to forward entrance.

    The bonnet line is horizontal and the front wing, in black, wouldn’t appear as a separate component so clearly on a Routemaster; the destination board to the rear indicates that it is a rear entrance vehicle converted to forward entrance.

    • Frank Phillipson Reply

      October 26, 2015 at 1:25 am

      A “RTL” is a “RT” bus (the predecessor to the Routemaster) but with a Leyland chassis hence “L”. The Boultbee Routemaster is a standard “RM” type converted to a front entrance with the rear platform closed off with bodywork and windows.

  2. John Lomas Reply

    October 26, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Frank, sorry but I have to disagree, it isn’t a Routemaster, I have now found an unencumbered photo of it https://www.flickr.com/photos/austin7nut/16984968329

    • Frank Phillipson Reply

      November 1, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      John, Yes, quite correct. Now that you’ve found a clear shot it’s clearly not a Routemaster.

      • Frank Phillipson Reply

        November 1, 2015 at 12:12 pm

        The bus’s identity appears to be RTL1004 (Reg.KYY 647)”RTL1004 was heavily converted in Jersey with a forward entrance and staircase” see photos near bottom of page at:-
        http://www.countrybus.org/RT/RTL3.htm

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