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IWC Schaffhausen

The longest flight

In early August 2019, a carefully restored Spitfire, boasting a unique silver-chrome finish, took off from London to embark on a round-the-world flight. IWC Schaffhausen has lent its support to the “Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight”, as the main partner of the expedition. 



Pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones have made aviation history after completing the first ever round-the-world flight in a Spitfire. Boultbee Brooks and Jones landed just in time for Christmas to a rapturous welcome at Goodwood on the 5th of December, exactly four months after they set off on their epic expedition.


Honoured to have been a main partner and official timekeeper of the expedition, IWC Schaffhausen wanted to celebrate the crew’s phenomenal achievement and arranged an intimate homecoming party at the airfield. Friends and family of the pilots, IWC management, and the entire support crew were all in attendance as the Spitfire landed. IWC brand ambassador David Coulthard also put in an appearance to welcome the daring duo back to the UK.


“What a welcome!” said Chief Pilot Jones. “After such a whirlwind of a trip, it feels quite surreal to be back at Goodwood with our mission accomplished. The scenery, the places we’ve visited, the people we have met, have been truly life-changing. From flying past the Statue of Liberty to coasting over the frozen plains of Russia and the jungles of Asia, we have been lucky enough to see the earth in all its beauty, all whilst sitting in the most gorgeous Spitfire. It’s been an unforgettable experience.”


As they journeyed through the different time zones, Boultbee Brooks and Jones wore the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight” (Ref. IW395501). Featuring a bezel which can be turned to set the time to a different zone, this special timepiece was the official watch of the expedition.


Read more here, or learn more about our partnership here.


The “Silver Spitfire - the longest flight” expedition races over Europe as homecoming nears


After touching down in Crete on the last leg, the European return of the “Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight” expedition has gathered pace this week. Pushing on through Greece and Italy, the pilots have been making steady progress as their record-breaking trip approaches its closing stages.


“Following almost four months of intense travelling, our arrival in Crete gave us just the boost we needed. It was such a major occasion for us all, especially as we could see green vegetation below us after weeks of desert. The next morning, we quickly trekked northwards to eventually land in Athens. Even though a thunderstorm then held up our progress, the delay was only brief, and after an unscheduled layover, we were back in the cockpit.


“An early start paid dividends for us all and very soon we moving up the Italian coastline, completing the last major water crossing of the expedition. Once we’d undertaken a pit stop in Pescara, we forged ahead to Padua, where we were honoured to be joined by the Italian Air Force, who flew alongside us for a spell in a helicopter, an AMX and a Typhoon.


“Unfortunately, more blustery conditions then kept us grounded in Padua for a few days. But a break in the weather eventually arrived on Saturday, allowing us to make our way across the Alps and onwards to Berlin in Germany. Although there have been a few interruptions on this leg, we’ve made some great progress. It really feels as though home is just around the corner!”




Remember to follow the journey on the Live Flight Tracker or learn more about our partnership here.


The “Silver Spitfire - the Longest Flight” expedition returns to Europe after desert break


The latest leg of the “Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight” expedition marked some important milestones and brilliant achievements for the team. As well as enjoying a brief break in Bahrain for the last mechanical checks of the trip, the pilots completed their lengthiest flight so far, had an unforgettable encounter with Egypt’s pyramids, and finally made it back on to European soil for the first time since August.


“Fresh from a spectacular IWC event in Abu Dhabi, where we’d seen an air display by the Blades, we journeyed to Bahrain. It was phenomenal to fly our Spitfire in over the desert, and once we arrived, we were honoured to receive a royal welcome from Sheikh Isa and Sheikh Mohammed, who spent some time looking at the plane and talking with the crew.


“With all the checks complete, we returned to the cockpit, eventually landing in Aqaba in Jordan via Kuwait. To get there we completed the longest flight of the project so far. This mammoth stage of 720 nautical miles took over three hours and 20 minutes non-stop flying. Of course, it was extremely tiring, but seeing the beautiful surrounding scenery over the Spitfire’s wing made the effort truly worth it.


“From Jordan, we headed to Egypt, where we had the unbelievable opportunity to fly over the Pyramids; another unforgettable experience for the whole team. A quick pitstop in the Egyptian town of Marsa was followed by another big push, as we crossed the Mediterranean Sea to the town of Heraklion, which is located on Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands. It feels amazing to be back on European soil and we’re really looking forward to the final push home.”


NEXT SCHEDULED STOPS: Italy, Switzerland


Remember to follow the journey on the Live Flight Tracker or learn more about our partnership here.


The “Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight” expedition arrives in the Middle East after India adventure


Following last week’s update detailing the journey from Japan to Myanmar, the “Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight” expedition continued apace, racking up the number of nautical miles to over 16,666. Although a few issues have delayed progress a little in November’s opening leg, pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones have pressed on with their incredible record-breaking feat, journeying through India and Pakistan and landing in the Middle East.


“We opened this portion of the expedition in beautiful Myanmar, flying from Yangon to Mandalay. From there we were due to stop in Chittagong in Bangladesh, but we soon realised the visibility would be too poor, so instead we took in the extraordinary scenery from high above. After such a hard trip, it felt fantastic to eventually reach Kolkata in India, but there was more poor visibility to contend with and we were then kept grounded for a day.”


“In Nagpur, we were greeted with open arms by our hosts from the Indian Air Force. We were so grateful for their kind hospitality, especially as we had to stay an extra day after a few other issues. When everything was finally sorted, we returned to the cockpit to make the flight to Jodhpur. Once there we enjoyed a fascinating layover, visiting the local museum where our expedition had been added to an aviation exhibit, as well as receiving a warm welcome from the Maharaja and Maharani at the Palace. We even had a brilliant opportunity to film our stunning aircraft above the city itself, which was a real highlight of our time in India.”


Remember to follow the journey on the Live Flight Tracker or learn more about our partnership here.




Since its departure in August, the “Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight” expedition has covered thousands of nautical miles and successfully flown across the Atlantic, the USA, Canada, Russia and Japan. Almost three months later, and following a two-week break, pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones are back to complete the concluding half of their record-breaking adventure. Recently arriving in Myanmar, the pair are relishing their return to the cockpit.


“It was fantastic to have a couple of weeks’ rest before tackling the second half of our expedition. We’ve enjoyed some much-needed downtime with our family and friends and feel like we’ve recharged our batteries ahead of our return to work.”


“Whilst we’ve been resting, G-IRTY was housed in a hangar in Japan’s Hanamaki airport. It may have been a break for us, but work didn’t completely stop, as the aircraft underwent a 50-hour maintenance check. Once it had passed with flying colours, we were ready to tackle the next stage of our journey.”


NEXT SCHEDULED STOPS: Abu Dhabi and Bahrain


Remember to follow the journey on the Live Flight Tracker or learn more about our partnership here.


The “Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight” expedition dodges the weather as it treks through Russia to Japan


As the “Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight” expedition prepares to enter its eighth week, pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones have made it beyond the halfway point of their unprecedented round-the-world journey. Ahead of this important milestone, the duo endured a tough week and a half, avoiding weather systems as they made their way across Russia en route to Japan.


“The last stage for us was a short hop to Sakhalin island, but the weather caught us out again, and we were forced to leave G-IRTY in the capable hands of our support pilot Ian Smith. We flew on to the New Chitose Airport in Japan in the PC12 support aircraft, so it could undergo its maintenance checks. Ian then brought our treasured Spitfire to Japan on Saturday, from where we were set to journey on to Ryugasaki, near Tokyo. Unfortunately, Typhoon Tapah had other ideas and we were forced to divert to Hanamaki until the stormy conditions passed.”


“What an amazing journey it has been so far! We are now looking forward to enjoying a couple of weeks of rest and preparation, before we begin the second leg in earnest on October 8th. This will take us across Asia, the Middle East and finally Europe. Stay tuned.”




Remember to follow the journey on the Live Flight Tracker or learn more about our partnership here.


The longest flight: week five


The fifth week of the “Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight” expedition saw pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones make a return to Canada, before they travelled rapidly on to Alaska. Despite arriving six days ahead of schedule, they have now hit their first major setback of the mission, with poor weather up ahead prompting a frustrating delay to their push into Russia.


“Before we talk about our wonderful return to Canada and our onward journey to Alaska, we just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for the support we’ve received on our way through the USA. At Madras in Oregon, for example, we had the privilege to fly alongside the Thunderbolt P47 when we left, which was a spectacular experience for us all.”


“After G-IRTY successfully completed his 50-hour service at Seattle’s Paine Field, we really motored on through Canada. First stop was Kelowna where we saw a Typhoon being restored. Not only will it be great to see that plane flown again one day soon, but it’s been so fabulous to see such passionate enthusiasm for aircraft restoration on our travels so far.”




Remember to follow the journey on the Live Flight Tracker or learn more about our partnership here.


The longest flight: week four


Since leaving the United Kingdom back in August, pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones have chalked up an impressive 6,449 nautical miles on their “Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight” expedition. As the unprecedented round-the-world trip enters its fifth week, we caught up with the daring duo to find out more about their visit to Los Angeles and their trek up America’s western seaboard.


“Fresh from Las Vegas, we enjoyed a fabulous few days in Santa Monica. The runway is right in the middle of the city, so as we came into land we passed right by houses and back gardens. We could see a lot of people rushing out to catch sight of our beautiful Spitfire, which was a lovely treat for us - and for them too!”


“We thought our trip to Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without paying homage to the famous Hollywood sign, and we had a brilliant opportunity to fly right by alongside our friends at Pursuit Aviation. It was the perfect way to bring together our Silver Spitfire with the silver screen, as we prepared to say goodbye to L.A.”




Remember to follow the journey on the Live Flight Tracker or learn more about our partnership here.


The Longest Flight: Week Three


It’s been just over three weeks since pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones set out on their epic round-the-world journey. Fresh from New York, they have been busy, trekking across the United States in their iconic Spitfire, and stops in Texas, Las Vegas and finally Santa Monica have dominated their schedule over the last few days.


“What a week! After bidding farewell to the Manhattan skyline and giving the Statue of Liberty a wave goodbye, we set to work making up some more kilometres. Luckily, the weather was firmly on our side and we had a productive few days making it out to Beaver County before continuing onwards.”


Remember to follow the journey on the Live Flight Tracker or learn more about our partnership here.




As the epic journey enters its third week, we are delighted to report back on how the “Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight” expedition is progressing. Travelling from the relative wilderness of Greenland and Canada to the bustle of New York, pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones have been blown away by both amazing scenery and kind hospitality, as they continue their unprecedented challenge.


“With G-IRTY emerging from her check-up with flying colours, we pressed on - all the way to New York. Flying down the Hudson River at 1,000 feet, with the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty in the background, was just incredible. It felt a little surreal to be honest and it’s hard to believe we actually did it. What a moment!”


NEXT SCHEDULED STOPS: Fallon, then Los Angeles


Remember to follow the journey on the Live Flight Tracker or learn more about our partnership here.


The Longest Flight: Week One


After a weather hold in Iceland, The Silver Spitfire Team successfully made it to the vast open expanses of Greenland, before moving on to Northern Canada.


Remember to follow the journey on the Live Flight Tracker or learn more about our partnership here.


The Silver Spitfire lands in Iceland


Singer JJ Julius Son from rock band Kaleo welcomes the pilots to his home country. Follow IWC Schaffhausen on Instagram for more.


Remember to follow the journey on the Live Flight Tracker or learn more about our partnership here.


IWC celebrates the Silver Spitfire’s take-off


IWC Schaffhausen and the Boultbee Flight Academy, in collaboration with Aviation Adventures Ltd, have celebrated the official start of the “Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight” expedition in Goodwood. To the roaring applause of more than 400 guests, the carefully restored and polished Spitfire aircraft embarked on its unprecedented flight around the world. IWC supports the mission as its main partner and official timekeeper.


Over the last two years, more than a dozen specialists have worked to restore an original Spitfire MK IX aircraft, which was originally built in Castle Bromwich back in 1943. Following several successful test flights in July, the “Silver Spitfire” finally took off from Goodwood Aerodrome today, beginning its much-anticipated circumnavigation of the globe. Piloting the iconic British aircraft, on the first leg of its journey, is Matt Jones, co-founder of the Boultbee Flight Academy.


Visit the IWC Press Area to discover more.


Remember to follow the journey on the Live Flight Tracker or learn more about our partnership here.


“Silver Spitfire”: restoration of iconic aircraft complete


IWC Schaffhausen and Boultbee Flight Academy are delighted to announce that the restoration of the “Silver Spitfire” is complete. The unique surface of polished aluminium highlights the iconic silhouette of the British aircraft in a way never seen before. The “Silver Spitfire”, with the new G-IRTY registration, has been taking off for flight tests this month, before embarking on an unprecedented flight around the world in August.


Visit the IWC Press Area to discover more.


Remember to follow the journey on the Live Flight Tracker or learn more about our partnership here.


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IWC Schaffhausen