For our full TERMS & CONDITIONS please CLICK HERE
Below you'll find answers to most of the most common and frequently asked questions we get when people are considering booking a spitfire flight in our two seat spitfire with Boultbee Flight Academy. Please click the question and you will be taken to the relevant answer below. If you have any more questions please feel free to contact the office using the details on the CONTACT PAGE.
Q1: Is the booking time my flight time?
A: No. Your booking time is the time of your briefing. We like to start the briefings as promptly as possible, so we’d kindly advise that you arrive five to ten minutes early.
Q2: Am I the only person flying during the morning or the afternoon?
A: No. We have a number of people flying with us during the morning and afternoon sorties. A typical day will have three guests flying in the morning and four in the afternoon.
Q3: Can I be first to fly as I have other commitments that day.
A: We cannot decide a running order before the day you are due to fly. We need to take into account the fuel state of the aircraft and will schedule flights accordingly.
Q4: How long will I be waiting to fly and how long will I be with the academy for?
A: We would always suggest to budget for a minimum five hours from your arrival time.
Q5: What can my family or friends do before and during my flight?
A: Both Goodwood Aerodrome and Solent Airport Daedalus have designated viewing areas and lounges that can be utilized by friends and families. Food and drink can also be purchased at both locations. Goodwood has a cafeteria at the Goodwood Aero Club and Solent Airport Daedalus has one at Café at Zero Five. Both are in close proximity to where Boultbee operates their aircraft.
Q6: Can I bring a friend or family member into the briefing?
A: Whilst we do state that you can be accompanied by one friend or family member, we often advise that it is best that the participant flying attends the briefing with the other participants. It allows you to concentrate on the briefing and prevents interruptions and questions from non-flying guests.
Q7: Where can I fly during my sortie and do I have to stick to the route suggested on the BFA website?
A: You don’t have to stick to the route suggested on our website. The suggested route has been designed to demonstrate the beautiful surroundings of the locations we fly from. However, if you’d prefer to fly to a specific location, you can, provided the area we intend on flying to is not inside restricted airspace (both permanent and/temporary), is clear of built up areas, is not beyond gliding distance of land, that there is suitable visibility and no clouds that could restrict us from operating at a safe altitude and that we can achieve the route within the flight time.
Q8: Will I be offered to take control of the Spitfire?
A: In short, yes! We will always offer you the opportunity to take control of this iconic aircraft. The academy’s Pilot will perform the take-off, all aerobatic maneuvers (should you want to try an historic “Victory Roll”) and the landing. Provided it is safe to do so, that communications are clear and understood by both parties in the aircraft, you will be offered control!
Q9: Is the aircraft cold?
If flying during the cooler months, the coldest part of the experience will be walking to and from the aircraft. Our flight crews and operations staff generally wear exactly the same flight suit as the one you will be offered to wear. We would recommend that a T-shirt or shirt jeans/chinos/chords are worn. Natural fibres are preferable.
Q10: Is the aircraft Loud?
The Spitfire is indeed a loud aircraft. Every effort and no expense has been spared to ensure that you can hear and communicate with your pilot as best as possible. Our ground crew and operations officers will instruct you with regard to microphone positioning to ensure clear verbal communications can be made. Our helmets (worn during the flight) are state-of-the-art and have in-built noise cancelling technology. Whilst effective, the system will not mute the sound of the Merlin engine! It remains very loud (especially during take-off) and those with hearing difficulty may struggle to hear communications form the pilot when the aircraft is at certain power settings during the flight. To maintain safety standards, we would usually request that hearing aids are removed before flight. In excepting circumstances, hearing aids may be permitted at the pilot’s and operations officers’ permission. However, if you struggle to hear voices at a reasonable volume on the ground, we may need to discuss this before the flight commences. We must ensure that both you and the pilot can communicate clearly and effectively.
Q11: Is the aircraft physically demanding?
This aircraft was designed as an effective aerial weapons platform. Whilst beautiful, the Spitfire was and remains an incredibly capable aircraft. The Spitfire is fast and highly maneuverable. Small G-forces may be incurred during general flight and while “steering” the aircraft in any particular direction. We will always endeavor to keep these forces during general handling to a minimum. However, G-force is directly related to speed and is sometimes unavoidable. Once again, we aim to keep these general maneuvers as precise but gentle as possible. We like to be fair on you and the aircraft! If you would like to undertake some aerobatics, many maneuvers can be undertaken at very low G-forces. To explain this further, while standing on the earth’s, we are subjected to 1G permanently. It is holding us to the ground. When flying straight and level, we would also be subjected to 1G. No different to being on the ground. There are at least two aerobatic maneuvers that can be undertaken at 1G or very close to it. The infamous ‘Barrel Roll’ is one of them. It’s a very gentle maneuver whereby the aircraft will climb and roll simultaneously resulting in a dynamic and enjoyable aerobatic maneuver, all conducted at 1G! Loops will incur a higher G-force due to the amount of energy required to dive, climb and recover to a straight and level attitude. Loops can usually be flown at no more than 3G.Whilst all aerobatic maneuvers will incur some form of G-force, we would always encourage our guests to go upside down in a Spitfire once!
Q12: Is the aircraft safe?
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure your safety, we cannot negate the fact that the Spitfire (including the two-seater version) was never designed to carry passengers. The TR-9 (two seat version) was designed to train existing pilots and those with an extensive knowledge of flying. It is therefore, loud, fast and compact. However, you should feel comfortable when seated. You will be wearing a flight suit (Nomex), leather flying gloves, a life jacket (with a Personal Locator Beacon) and a helmet with integrated headphones and microphone.You will be fitted with a parachute with a static line attached to the aircraft. You will be instructed on its operation by our operations officers. The seats in the aircraft are also equipped with ‘Hooker’ four-point harnesses. The central buckle/clasp and its operation will be explained by our operations officers. With regard to maintenance, our Spitfire is thoroughly inspected at the beginning of each flying day. Additional checks are carried out by professional engineers and the pilot flying in between sorties. The Spitfire is subjected to more in-depth inspections every 25 hours and an Annual Inspection takes place every year. The “Annual” is a protracted process that can take a few months to complete. This is one of the reasons why we don’t fly over the winter months. Whilst we make every effort to maintain the aircraft with no expense spared, she is much like a classic car. Her technology, although limited is still very complicated. Rarely but on the odd occasion, we may have to investigate peculiarities or concerns which could result in flight delays or cancellations.
Q13: What are the Minimum and Maximum ages to fly in the Spitfire?
A: There is no maximum age restriction. The minimum age we can accept is 16 with parental or a guardian’s consent. Typically, we fly those who are 18 or above.
Q14: Are there on restrictions with regards to sight, glasses, contact lenses, corrective lenses, sunglasses?
Our guests are allowed to wear glasses, sunglasses and/or contact lenses in the Spitfire. Unfortunately, due to the location of various items in the cockpit and the possibility of abandoning the aircraft, we can’t fly those who are legally blind.
Q15: Are there any restrictions with regards to hearing ability and hearing aids?
You are required to have a reasonable level of hearing. Under exceptional circumstances, hearing aids may be worn subject to the approval of the operations officers and the pilot. You must be able to hear the pre-flight briefing and our operations staff and pilot should be able to communicate with you at a reasonable volume. We cannot fly those who are deaf.
Q16: What are the minimum and maximum heights for passengers in the Spitfire.
Our height restriction is 6’4” or 195 cm. There is no minimum height.
Q17: What are the minimum and maximum weights for passengers flying in the Spitfire
Our weight restriction is 17 stone or 110 kg. There is no minimum weight.
Q18: What general level of health do i need to have to fly in the Spitfire
General health should be reasonable enough to take a commercial flight or to have a flight experience in a light aircraft. With regard to physical health, our guests are required to enter and exit the aircraft unassisted. Please imagine getting in and out of the bath for a fairly accurate comparison.
A Doctor's note will be required for the following:
- HEART CONDITIONS
- LUNG CONDITIONS
- BRAIN CONDITIONS
- EAR/NOSE/THROAT CONDITIONS
- BACK AND/OR BONE CONDITIONS
- DIABETES (TYPE I)
For their own safety and the safety of the aircraft we cannot fly people who are:
- LEGALLY BLIND
- PHYSICALLY IMPAIRED
- MENTALLY IMPAIRED
Q19: If I have a heart/brain/lung condition or an incurable disease, can I fly the Spitfire?
If you meet the requirements above and are physically fit enough to enter and exit the aircraft in an emergency, you are fit to fly. However, if you are concerned about your physical health and flying in our Spitfire, we would encourage you to request a Doctor’s note explaining that you are fit to fly with us. Before you fly, you will be asked to sign an indemnity form declaring you are fit to fly.
Q20: What should I wear for my flight?
A: If flying during the cooler months, the coldest part of the experience will be walking to and from the aircraft. We would recommend that a T-shirt, shirt or thin jumper is worn on your top half and that you keep your jeans/chinos/chords on your lower half. Enclosed shoes are essential and sandals/flip flops are not permitted.You will be required to wear one of our Nomex flight suits over the top of your regular clothing. The flight suit will be fitted with you after your briefing and will be lent to you for the duration of your flight.
Q21: Can I take my phone and/or GoPro/video camera in the Spitfire?
A: No. No unauthorized items are permitted in the aircraft. The Spitfire doesn’t have a conventional floor. Items can be dropped into the bottom of the fuselage and restrict flight controls and control cables. The flight will be recorded by our approved fixed position 360° video camera. We record all flights. A video of your flight can be purchased.
Q22: What happens if the weather/flying conditions are bad on the day?
A: We will make a weather call during the early afternoon of the day before your flight. To the best of our ability, we will assess the weather for the next day and advise you accordingly. If the weather is predicted to be too bad to fly, we will cancel your flight and arrange another date with you. If there is a 50/50 chance of flying, we will state this and ask if you’d like to visit us with a view that we might or might not fly. If the weather is looking good, we will not contact you. If the weather during a morning session deteriorates, we may call afternoon bookings to notify them of the change of weather and that we might/might not fly. Please note that while every effort is made to predict the weather, the conditions on the day might not be forecast and can even change on the day. The weather conditions that could affect us are: visibility, cloud base, wind and rain. Please note that ground conditions can also affect the Spitfire. Grass aerodromes are subject to becoming soft under foot. The Spitfire is a heavy aircraft and under these circumstances, we might deem it to be safer not to fly. We are restricted to flying during daylight hours, clear of cloud and in sight of the surface.
Q23: If I can’t fly, I become ill, I choose not to fly, the flight is cancelled or if the flight is shortened, can I have a refund?
A: If you have booked your flight in and it has been cancelled due to aircraft serviceability, weather, events beyond our control or you have an illness that prevents you from flying, we will always offer you an alternative date to fly. If you decide that you need to return to the aerodrome/airport during your flight, we would not refund you. If we have to shorten the flight due to a technical or weather issue, we would look to fly the difference in time at the nearest opportunity. However, in this instance, we could also look to refund the difference in time. For full refund conditions, please refer to our Terms and Conditions which can be found via a link at the top of this article.
Q24: Who will my pilot be?
A: We have a number of civilian and ex-military pilots who fly the Spitfire. We cannot schedule a particular pilot over another due to both our and their rostering. Occasionally, the day before your flight, we will know who is rostered to fly the next day. All our pilots are trained to the highest standards. They also undergo proficiency checks and recurrent training to ensure that their levels of captaincy are up-to-date and frequently refreshed.
Q25: Will I get to take anything away with me as a memento?
A: After your flight, we will offer you a pair of 360° goggles to view your 360° video which can be purchased at additional cost. We also present you with a squadron print of the Spitfire you’ve flown in.
Q26: I haven’t ordered a video of my flight to be taken.
A: We record/video every flight. You can pay for a video after your flight or when prompted to do so when your video preview is emailed to you.
Q27: The video of my flight failed.
A: On the very rare occasion that a video camera fails in-flight and you have pre-purchased it, you will be entitled to a full refund of the video payment only. If your video was gifted to you as part of a seasonal offer or for any other reason, no refund will be issued.
Q28: How long will it take for my video to be sent to me?
A: The 360° video needs to be processed after your flight. It can take up to two weeks to go through processing and to be emailed to you via WeTransfer, an online large file delivery system. Due to the size of the file, we do not save the file to a USB or a DVD.
Q29: Can I pay for my flight in instalments?
A: Full payment in advance is required