Vintage Second World War plane lands in Okanagan on world tour

Click to play video: 'Iconic WWII plane makes pit stop in Kelowna'
Iconic WWII plane makes pit stop in Kelowna
Iconic WWII plane makes pit stop in Kelowna – Sep 6, 2019

A vintage plane doing an around-the-world flight landed at Kelowna International Airport on Thursday morning.

The 1943 Silver Spitfire landed at YLW, much to the delight of hundreds of local aviation enthusiasts, after a last-minute plea by the Kelowna Flying Club president.

“I followed their track and saw them land in Madras, Oregon, southeast of Portland,” Dave McElroy said. “So I jumped in my plane two days ago and flew down there to see them.”

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The large crowd on the tarmac was overwhelming for the Silver Spitfire tour team, who admitted the turnout may be the largest since they left the UK Aug. 5.

“It’s an utter privilege to fly it especially with scenery like yours,” pilot Steve Brooks said. “Just phenomenal!”

Brooks called the Spitfire “the most beautiful airplane every built.”

A team of 12 rebuilt the plane over two and half years after being picked up from a UK museum.

“It flew 51 times in the war,” he said.

The Spitfire were instrumental in the battle of Brittain according to the Kelowna Flying Club’s president.

“Some would argue it changed the course of history for all time,” McElroy said. “This is one of 35 or 40 in the world flying today. There were 21,000 built.”

“To have one fly around the world and stop here and see us is marvelous,” McElroy said.

The stop in Kelowna was not only to show off the iconic plane but to fuel up and check in with customs, having left Seattle earlier in the day.

Following the stop at YLW, the Spitfire departed for Williams Lake and Fort St. John ahead of a trip across the Bering Strait to Russia.

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WATCH BELOW (Aired Nov. 11, 2016): One man’s quest to restore a vintage Bolingbroke airplane

Click to play video: 'One man’s quest to restore a vintage Bolingbroke airplane'
One man’s quest to restore a vintage Bolingbroke airplane

From Russia, the team will head to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, German, Holland, France and, finally, the U.K. on Dec. 8.

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For more about the Silver Spitfire, click here.

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