It’s a busy day for the UK’s vintage aircraft, as just a few hours after the Battle of Britain flypast marks Dame Vera Lynn’s funeral, a Spitfire will take to the skies of East Anglia to show support for NHS workers.
The classic plane, operated by family-owned engineering firm The Aircraft Restoration Company, will take off from its base at Duxford Airfield in Cambridgeshire.
From there, it will cross the skies of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, entering the airspace of East Anglia’s biggest hospitals in appreciation of the hard work of health workers during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
It will be carrying a special message on its fuselage, with “THANK U NHS” written under its wings.
The Spitfire can reach speeds of up to 369 mph.
An online fundraiser to mark the NHS’ 72nd Birthday last weekend has allowed the names of those who pledged £10 or more to NHS Charities Together to be handwritten onto the craft – there is room for 80,000 names.
Here's everything you need to know:
Where will the Spitfire fly?
The blue Spitfire will make its second of two special flights on the afternoon of 10 July.
The plane is expected take off at 3pm from Duxford Airfield, after which it will pay a visit to Northampton’s General Hospital (3.15pm) and the Peterborough City hospital (3.26pm).
It will then head east to visit Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King’s Lynn at 3.36pm, before moving on to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) in Norwich, where it due at 3.49pm.
From there, the Spitfire will head south, crossing into Suffolk to fly past RAF Lakenheath Hospital at 4pm, and West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds (4.06pm) – a trip to Ipswich Hospital (4.15pm) marks the plane’s final Suffolk stop.
The last leg of the tour takes it into Essex to fly past Colchester Hospital (4.20pm) and Earls Colne Air Ambulance base (4.25pm), before it returns to Duxford, touching down at approximately 4.40pm.
The Spitfire’s East Anglian odyssey will be its second of two special flights on 10 July.
The first, in the morning, took it over the hospitals of southern Essex, London and Hertfordshire, including visits to the NHS Nightingale hospital.
Will the Spitfire come to my area?
While the routes of today’s flypasts may not take the plane over the skies near you, it may fly out your way in the future.
The Aircraft Restoration Company said they will be planning flight routes across UK mainland local communities and hospitals “during the next few months.”
"The aim is to lift the spirits of those across the UK," they said, “many of whom are still living in some form of isolation, whilst also thanking the hospitals, communities and individuals who have been at the forefront of getting the country through the pandemic.”
For more information on future NHS Spitfire flypasts, head to The Aircraft Restoration Company’s website