Today’s adventure was learning to fly the Spitfire from the rear seat. How different can that be, I hear you ask! Well, while the view from either cockpit in the air is just marvellous, on the ground it’s a very different proposition with that 28-litre V12 Merlin engine blocking the view. Additionally, in the rear cockpit the front cockpit and the wing further obstruct the scenery.

The Spitfire TR9 rear cockpit
The Spitfire TR9 rear cockpit

In practice this means that rear seat landings are flown much more gingerly so that the runway doesn’t take you by surprise when it appears – as a consequence the aircraft tends to land slightly further down the runway. Happily though, a crosswind helped the view today since the nose was angled off to compensate, meaning I could see the runway for more of the approach. Some valuable learning occurred but, all in all, it’s definitely more difficult from the back seat.

The Spitfire, between flights, looks on disapprovingly as a visiting AC from Brooklands sneaks up on the fuel bowser
The Spitfire, between flights, looks on disapprovingly as a visiting AC from Brooklands sneaks up on the fuel bowser

After the trip in the boot it was time to swap to the front cockpit for three passenger flights. These are always fabulous fun – it’s generally the dream of a lifetime for the passengers and it’s a real pleasure to experience that “first trip in a Spitfire” thrill with them.

Just some of the mud that the team valiantly washed off after every flight
Just some of the mud that the team valiantly washed off after every flight

Tomorrow, back to the office.

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