A lovely lady from England flew into town Monday. She’s a bit older, but hasn’t lost her luster in all her 76 years. A handful of admirers, maybe 15 at the most, met her at the airport. She didn’t say a word, but that didn’t matter. We were all taken aback by her shiny polished aluminum. Oh, I didn’t tell you? She’s a vintage WWII plane. Specifically, a British Supermarine Spitfire.
The “Silver Spitfire” arrived a little after 2 p.m. Monday at the Historic Flight Foundation in Mukilteo. She’s on an around-the-world mission, and spending the next four days here for maintenance. This is a historic flight, because no Spitfire has ever been flown around the world.
I missed the plane’s landing Monday by just a few minutes. But I turned to another spectator, a London native named Robert, to describe how the landing went. He said, “It sounded like perfection. It’s what art sounds like. Of course, the engine in it is a V-12 Rolls Royce engine. Nothing but the best.”
The Swiss luxury watchmaker, IWC Schaffhausen, is sponsoring the flight, which will take the crew 27,000 miles over the next three months. So far, the plane has flown over 5,500 nautical miles ever since starting from England in August. The next few months will see her traveling through Canada, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, India, Kuwait, Egypt, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, and Germany, with other stops along the way. Thirty countries in all will get to see the Silver Spitfire.
Some specifications according to the Silver Spitfire website:
- Manufacturer: Vickers Supermarine Ltd
- Built: 1943 in Castle Bromwich, UK
- Serial number: CBAF IX 970
- Historic registration: MJ271
- Modern registration: G-IRTY
- Engine: V-12 Rolls-Royce Merlin, developing 1,350 horsepower
- 51 combat missions flown
- All guns have been removed from this plane, and extra fuel tanks installed for 5-hour flights
The Supermarine Spitfire saw service mainly during World War II by England and its allies. It is a single-seater, short-range interceptor.
More than 20,000 were built between 1938 and 1948. Only 60 remain in operational condition now.
For more information on the plane, go to https://www.silverspitfire.com.
You can also learn more on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thesilverspitfire or on Instagram: thesilverspitfire.
–Story and photos by David Carlos