The Flight Itself

Arriving at the airfield you will walk airside to the waiting Spitfire, where Ben will carry out the pre-flight checks. These inspections are made before every flight and will be explained as they are undertaken.

Climbing into the cockpit he will help you strap in, then it’s flying helmets on, headsets plugged in and an intercom check before the prestart checks.

After the Spitfire’s 8 cylinder engine is warmed up, there are a few more checks then it’s ‘Chocks away’ and we will taxi out to the runway – and the waiting skies.

Lining up for take-off from the grass airfield, the throttle is then pushed wide open and the Spitfire will quickly climb over the lush Normandy countryside. With undercarriage and flaps retracted we will rapidly climb at over 2500 feet per minute as we bank over to see the first of our historic D Day battle grounds.

During the run up and entire flight, you will be in direct contact with the pilot.

Flight Plans

Flying between 500 and 1500 feet our Spitfire will take you first over the town of Sainte Mere Eglise.

This was the first town liberated on D-Day by the 82nd airborne division and where famously a parachutist became snagged on the church steeple

Roaring on over the French countryside the Spitfire will take us north of Utah beach, the most westerly of the D Day beaches before swinging south and dropping spectacularly down to 500 feet as we fly down the beach.

Hugging the coast and climbing up to 2500 feet we will head off to Point du Hoc where the American 2nd Rangers stormed the strongpoint built on 90 foot cliffs at Point du Hoc. Then, we will circle the point a few times so you can fully appreciate the enormity of the problems posed on D-Day.

Winging over we will move down to Omaha beach – the scene of the worst Allied casualties and deaths on the 6th June and made famous by Saving private Ryan.

As we fly down the coast we will see the gun batteries at Longues-sur-mer – known as the ‘Longues battery’. Effectively silenced by HMS Ajax and HMS Argonaut after a day long battle, the site is awe inspiring from the air.

Flight Plans Part 2

Sweeping down the coast we will fly to one of the best kept secrets of D Day – the artificial harbours code named ‘Mulberry harbours’ at Arromanche. Circling around the huge concrete remains you will get an idea of the enormous technical and constructional difficulties of this undertaking.

Onward as we will follow the coastline to each of the British sector beaches, Gold Beach, the Canadian beach of Juno Beach and onto Sword Beach.

Crossing the Orne river estuary we will pass over the Merville battery – scene of the heroic and bloody storming by 6th Airborne under Lt Col Terence Otway. Just a few miles from there we will re cross the Orne river and canal to arrive at Pegasus bridge, captured by British glider borne troops just after midnight on June 6th.

Dropping south we will head over the Canadian cemetery at Cinteaux and see where the German tank Ace Michael Wittmann was killed.

From here we will move on some 25 miles to Falaise – and the ‘Gap’ the scene of a German disaster at the end of the conflict in Normandy. Here Canadians and Poles from the north and US forces from the south tried to close the neck of the bag on the retreating German army.

Dropping down low we will emulate the many Spitfires who peeled off to harry the retreating German columns as they attempted to get through the closing gap – and the carnage that ensued.

Being relatively low on these passes you may notice Ben wagging the wings from time to time – this is acknowledging the friendly waves from the civilians visiting the sites and watching as the Spitfire passes nearby. You might well wonder how many are saying to themselves as we pass by ‘I wish it were me up there!’

Lastly we will head out to Villiers Bocage a scene of an unmitigated disaster for the British on the 13th June. Wittmann in his tiger tank single-handedly knocked out 10 main British battle tanks, 3 light tanks, 2 anti-tank guns and 13 armoured half-tracks.

From Villiers Bocage we shall et a return course of 50 miles back to the airfield – so sit back and watch the scenery go by at about almost 200 miles per hour.

Return to the airfield

The Spitfire will return to the same airfield and after landing we will have a post flight debrief – and a welcome cup of tea/coffee.

Returning to the Manor guests can then get a more ‘down to earth’ feel for the area either by taking one of our planned walks or a drive out to the locations before returning to the Manor for the last night’s dinner.