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Flying start for David from Stratford as he soars into the sky in Supermarine Spitfire

DAVID Bishton’s Sunday got off to a flying start when he took the controls of a Spitfire for a once in a lifetime experience which saw family members fly alongside him in the skies above Goodwood.

The 30-minute flight with an ex-military pilot, was a present to David - from Stratford - from his family and while he was not involved in the take-off or landing of the iconic aircraft, he does possess a private pilot license and as such was given the treasured opportunity of flying the Spitfire himself for a while.

David Bishton airborne in the Spitfire.
David Bishton airborne in the Spitfire.

“It was so agile,” David said. “The touch sensitivity of the controls was phenomenal. We averaged 300 to 350 miles per hour but we didn’t do any loops or rolls. It was such a thrill to have the family flying alongside me in an eight seater plane so they could take pictures and share the experience with me.”

He said the flight in the TR9 Supermarine Spitfire was very noisy with a lot of vibration from the Spitfire’s 27 litre Merlin engine and it was very hot in the cockpit because of Sunday’s 28-degree sunshine.

“As a hobby, I’ve flown many types of small light aircraft over the years and always dreamt of flying the iconic Spitfire. R J Mitchell designed a masterpiece,” said David.

In fact, it’s fair to say his family is a family of high flyers.

His father, George, was with the RAF in Malta during the war and taught David to fly at Long Marston Airfield. David’s son, Mark, is a senior training captain for Virgin Atlantic. His niece Faye is a squadron leader and her husband, Stewart, a group captain with the RAF and David’s daughter-in-law, Natalie, is a business jet pilot.

To complete the family line-up David’s grandchildren, Charlie and Jack, were also in the eight-seater plane last Sunday watching their granddad.

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