Spitfire amateur flights threatened by soaring fuel prices and squeezing cost of living


Spitfires.com has so far resisted rising prices despite soaring fuel prices.

The cost of maintaining a vintage Spitfire is also very high. Overhauling one of the iconic aircraft’s Rolls-Royce Merlin engines with its propeller costs around £200,000 and should be carried out every 12 to 18 months for safety reasons, Mr Hall explained.

Despite a cottage industry in southern England specializing in Spitfire parts, some components are “almost impossible” to source due to their age. A landing gear leg, carrying one of the Spitfire’s two main wheels, costs £25,000 “if you can find one”.

Two-seater vintage plane flights were legalized by the Civil Aviation Authority in 2014, after years of insisting World War II fighters were too dangerous for the general public .

Reducing red tape and allowing for-profit jaunts were part of a wider package to boost Britain’s £4billion light aviation sector. A handful of companies across the UK now offer two-seat ‘warbird’ flights, as well as specialist technical support for aircraft maintenance and pilot training.

The companies are selling 30-minute flights in WW2 planes including the Spitfire, Hurricane and Mustang from just under £3,000 and almost £6,000 for an hour. Packages to fly alongside historic aircraft and training to convert current pilots to flying in warplanes are also offered.

Companies often operate flights from historic airfields which were used by the RAF during the war.

Ofgem raised the cap on energy prices to £3,500 on Friday, an 80 per cent increase on the previous cap set in April and energy bills could hit £7,600 by April this year next, according to estimates by energy consultancy Auxilione. Inflation is expected to remain in double digits for much of next year.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi told The Telegraph that even ‘average earners’ could struggle to cope with the coming winter price hikes, saying: ‘If you’re a senior nurse or teacher on £45,000 per year, your energy bills will increase by 80% and will probably increase even more in the new year; it’s really difficult.”

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