View Full Version : Spitfire flight

John Eacott
10th Aug 2008, 21:41
Yesterday I managed one of my lifetime ambitions: a trip in a Spitfire :ok: 30 minute trip out of Duxford, with another ex Mil helicopter pilot in the front, and full duals in the back: bliss :p Aeros, low level passes, and that magic wing shape out of the cockpit - I'm just getting back to terra firma after 24 hours!

The Spitfire is a full dual control machine, so it was a flight made even better by getting to actually drive the legend, including wingovers, rolls and loops. Light on pitch, but heavy on roll, it was fine to fly, but I admit to needing a bit more currency on aerobatics ;)

The pilot was an ex RAF Chinook/Wessex driver, Dave "Rats" Ratcliffe, who seemed to enjoy the trip as much as me. He used the O2 mask just for noise attenuation, it's like sitting inside a Fergie tractor engine half the time: the battery in my ANR gave up half way through the flight, which gave a good excuse for some heading errors :p

A couple of my photos:







10th Aug 2008, 22:35
I hate you.

....And take that silly smile off your face.


What a memory. :ok:

11th Aug 2008, 01:03
Glad you enjoyed it :D

11th Aug 2008, 07:32
Selfish git, bet you didn't consider the environment such as the polar bears that may die because of no ice on the north pole due to global warming caused by your joy-flight and people who had to put the noise of a Merlin.

Very bloody selfish and inconsiderate of other people.

But you here on earth for a good time not a long time.

11th Aug 2008, 08:07
What a wonderful experience. Something most of us can just dream about. Often wondered if one can purchase a flight in this particular Spitfire.

John Eacott
11th Aug 2008, 09:15
A few more photos, taken by NedAirtoAir:






John Eacott
11th Aug 2008, 09:17





11th Aug 2008, 09:31
What they said! You lucky, lucky...

Wa that Bourn where you did a low run...?



John Eacott
11th Aug 2008, 09:42




John Eacott
11th Aug 2008, 09:46

Yes: they seemed to appreciate it: but the run in and break back at Duxford was at a far more appropriate height :cool:

ps we didn't see any polar bears, so I assume that Merlin's sigh was suitably reduced as per EU Diktat? ;)

11th Aug 2008, 09:59
Yes, Goudie, I believe you can purchase a flight in it. Contact the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford. Cheers.

11th Aug 2008, 10:12
One's face has turned green with envy, you lucky person.

P.S. Please drink a large dose of pure lemon juice to take that self satisfied look off your face. ;)

Brian Abraham
11th Aug 2008, 13:42
Lucky devil John. We want a recording of the noise as well. Sigh for a Merlin. :D Notice a lot of down elevator there, perchance you had your wallet with you and not yet paid the man? :p Explains the sensitivity in pitch if nothing else.

John Eacott
11th Aug 2008, 13:59

QuickTime videos, with audio, here: (http://gallery.me.com/johneacott#100559) allow for a bit of a download, though ;)


11th Aug 2008, 22:11
Hmmm, i'm just getting lots of boxes with a little red cross in the corner.

12th Aug 2008, 10:05
You are indeed a lucky bloke, there are loads of people out therewho would give up a great deal to achieve that.

I was a crewman on Rats course at Shawbury (those were the days) great bloke to fly with. Dave if you read this pm me, to catch up. AP

Just a spotter
12th Aug 2008, 16:43
To quote the movie "You lucky, lucky B@$=@/d!!!"

A lovely old bird, ex Irish Air Corps machine (# 161, hence the IRL161 on the tail)

plenty of pics of her here (http://www.irishairpics.com/database/search.php?q=G-CCCA&u=reg)in "original" colour scheme on a visit to her old home, Casement Aerodrome (EIME), Baldonnel, Co. Dublin.



12th Aug 2008, 18:42
Purely out of interest, this is the aircraft that was involved in a double fatal crash whilst landing at Goodwood some years ago, killing it's South African owner, and his instructor, the well known display pilot Gordon Lees.

Flying Lawyer
14th Aug 2008, 10:01
The well known display pilot Norman Lees.

Time passes quickly. The accident was in April 2000. I was with Norman on the Thursday evening and he was dead Saturday morning. Very sad. He was an extremely nice guy.

The aircraft was totally rebuilt over a number of years and the great Alex Henshaw flew on the first post-rebuild flight in 2005.

14th Aug 2008, 20:59
Thankyou for the correction, Flying Lawyer. A memory lapse, unfortunately,and disrespectful of me to have made the mistake. I had a suspicion that I had not got his Christian name correct. I should have known better, from the number of displays I saw him fly [beautifully].
By pure coincidence, nearly three years ago I was flying back from Jo/burg, and was talking to the man in front of me in a 'loo queue', and we got onto aircraft. It transpired that he was an acquaintance of the Spitfire's new owner, was aware that he had been killed, but was not sure of the circumstances. I was able to furnish him with the unfortunate details, for which he was grateful.
RIP Norman, and all the other display pilots who are no longer with us [for whatever reason]

Ridge Runner
28th Aug 2009, 09:16
To echo the sentiments on Norman. He was a really good man. I knew him for many years during his time as a co-pilot with Dan-Air on the 727. I was privileged enough to fly a number of times with him in his T-6 and when, after the demise of DA, he flew traffic work over London. That was in a Partenavia 68 and a Twin Squirrel. He was a hugely accomplished pilot, being a Falklands veteran on the Seaking, and turned his hand to anything. I recall the Sea Fury ferry he flew across the pond and finished up with a run and break at LGW for all us ground crew. He flew many types, including the Spitfire, the P-51, the Harvard and the L-39. May he rest in peace and his wife, Anna, rest her soul too. RR