As the heat of one of the warmest British Summer's in recent memory starts to fade, our attention at the Boultbee Flight Academy has turned to Autumn and Winter flight operations. As the days draw shorter and the weather becomes wetter and colder, our Spitfires have moved a little west along the coast to a new base of operations at Solent Airport.
Nestled right on the South Coast between Portsmouth and Southampton, Solent Airport offers unrivalled proximity to the English Channel and the tarmac runway affords us the opportunity to offer Spitfire flights year -round, and the perfect location from which to train up the next generation of Spitfire pilots.
A former Royal Naval Air Station, then known as HMS Daedalus, the airfield has a history stretching back to 1917 when it was first established as a seaplane base. The waters seen below were also the location of the triangular course for the famous Schneider Trophy air races of the 1920s and 30s in which Supermarine triumphed, with several of the pioneering elements that would go on to make the Spitfire such a successful fighter.
The benefit for all of our flight experiences customers is the proximity to the white cliffs on the Isle of Wight's western tip. The Needles are a spectacular sight from the air with the iconic lighthouse set against a backdrop of chalk white cliffs stretching around the southern side of the island, and the famous multi-coloured sand cliffs of Alum Bay to the north. Up until now these stunning sights have only been visible to passengers on our longer flights, but from Solent Airport they are within reach of everyone, even on our 30-minute Spitfire flight experiences, for the first time.
The Boultbee Flight Academy two-seat Spitfire SM520 (G-ILDA) is far from the first of Supermarine's iconic fighters to grace the runways at Lee-on-Solent. The production team behind the Hollywood blockbuster film Dunkirk based three Mk.I Spitfires and a Buchon 109 here for a number of weeks during filming. Both Supermarine Spitfires and Seafires flew from here during the war, most notably in support of the D-Day landings in June 1944, during which time it briefly became about the busiest airfield on England's South Coast.
We offer a range of Spitfire flight experiences from Solent Airport, including:
Or for the ultimate Spitfire experience you can fly with a single-seat Mk.IX Spitfire in close formation alongside you in a 30-minute Spitfire formation flight experience for £3,650. This phenomenal experience will give you a taste of what it was like to patrol the skies over Britain with a wingman alongside you and affords not only the visceral in-cockpit experience of flying in a two-seater, but that iconic view of a single-seat Spitfire to give you a flavour of what you look like w whilst airborne in one of the most beautiful aircraft of all time. You can even indulge in a little tail chasing to whet your appetite for what WWII aerial combat might have been like.