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Aero Legends offer volunteers at Headcorn Airfield chance to ride in an authentic Spitfire

By David Gazet

Hailed as one of Britain’s most successful aircraft, in March the Spitfire celebrates the 80th of its first flight.

Now would-be aviators are being asked to help keep these vintage historic planes in the air at the last remaining grass airfield in Kent, under an innovative new scheme.

In return for people helping with maintenance tasks, the Aero Legends company, based at Headcorn Aerodrome, will offer volunteers comprehensive training and the chance to ride in an authentic Spitfire.

Elliot Styles and Ben Perkins. Aero Legends are asking people interested in vintage aircraft volunteer in exchange for free flights and lessons in their aircraft

They will even get the chance to take control of a vintage aircraft with a short flying lesson in a Harvard, Tiger Moth or Jackaroo.

Elliot Styles, operations manager at Aero Legends, which runs pleasure flights and experience days, said: “We are looking for people in the local community interested in aviation and want to get involved in aircraft first hand.

“They will be involved in keeping the aircraft in good condition and helping our pilots.”

Mr Styles added: “We are the premier provider of Spitfire experiences in the UK and keeping these aircraft flying is how we keep the memory of these aircraft alive.”

From maintenance to cleaning to starting aircraft, volunteers, who must be over 18 will help the aerodrome’s highly trained team of ground staff.

In exchange for their time they earn points they can exchange for lessons and flights in the company’s 16 vintage planes.

Spitfire TD314. Credit Rob Laker.

Headcorn currently has one spitfire taking to the air, but it will shortly be joined by a two-seater NH341 Spitfire currently being restored at Duxfield Airfield in Cambridge.

The Spitfire is the most famous plane of the RAF during the Second World War. It British a decisive advantage fighting the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain, which began in 1940, even though when the air battles started the RAF was outnumbered by German fighter planes.

Spitfires achieved a higher kill to loss ration than their German counterparts.

Keith Perkins, owner of Aero Legends added: “These aircraft are a symbol of freedom, they are special because they have the reputation for winning the Battle of Britain.

“We are trying to make them as accessible as possible for more people. Historically this hasn’t always been the case.

“Many enthusiasts never get up close to a Spitfire, so cleaning or helping to start one is a dream come true.”

Email recruitment@aerolegends.co.uk or call 01622 812 830. For more information visit aerolegends.co.uk

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