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Wed, Jun 28, 2006

'Dawn To Dusk Spitfire Challenge' Set To Take Flight Thursday

Will Visit As Many Former Spitfire Fields As Possible

Aero-News has learned that at 0430hrs local time Thursday morning, the Dawn to Dusk Spitfire Challenge will set off, attempting to visit as many former Spitfire airfields in Britain as possible over the course of one day.

Pilots Steve Bridgewater and Louise Walker (above, with sponsor Roger Harrison of brewer Shepherd Neame, center) aim to fly their Piper PA28 on a circuitous route from Oxford Airport, hoping to visit all the following airfields before returning to Oxford at around 2130hrs in the evening --

Oxford, Lyneham, Exeter, Southampton, Cardiff, Cosford, Woodvale, Blackpool, Sherburn in Elmet, Church Fenton, Hucknall, Coningsby, Wittering, Coltishall, Duxford, Fowlmere, Cambridge, North Weald, Southend, Biggin Hill, Manston, Headcorn, Goodwood, Little Rissington.

"The weather looks good and our months of preparation and planning mean we’ll be setting off at first light tomorrow," said Bridgewater on Wednesday.

With the support of sponsor Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale (possible the coolest name ever for a beer -- Ed.), the challenge marks the 70th anniversary of the WWII-era Supermarine Spitfire fighter... but perhaps most importantly, the flight is aimed at supporting the charity Flying Scholarship for the Disabled.

The charity -- inspired by the spirit of wartime flying ace Douglas Bader -- helps disabled people discover their true potential through the mental and physical stimulation of learning to fly a light aircraft.

Scholarship students complete a six-week residential training course in South Africa, which includes 40 hours of airborne tuition and ground school. Scholarships also take place in the UK, where students take a one-week course involving 10 hours of airborne tuition and ground school.

More than 250 disabled people have participated so far. Several are paraplegic, and others suffer from cerebral palsy, MS, ME, spina bifida and poliomyelitis.

Supporters can monitor the flight's progress at the FMI link below.

FMI: www.spitfireD2Dchallenge.co.uk

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