HURRICANE SCHOOL

Ever wondered how it's possible to sustain a private warbird operation long into the future, and provide a flow of new pilots to fly it safely? The operators of Battle of Britain veteran Hawker Hurricane I V7497 believe they have the answer...

Hurricane 501’s training duo: the Hurricane I itself and Harvard IV Wacky Wabbit, being flown by Neil Oakman and Andy Goodall respectively.
Hurricane 501’s training duo: the Hurricane I itself and Harvard IV Wacky Wabbit, being flown by Neil Oakman and Andy Goodall respectively.
PHOTOGRAPHY: DARREN HARBAR

Sitting at IWM Duxford on a summer’s day, talking to Dr Peter Kirkpatrick and Neil Oakman about the operation of Hurricane I V7497, the sound of a departing two-seat Spitfire briefly overpowers the conversation. It’s another passenger experience flight conducted under the Safety Standards Acknowledgement and Consent rules, which have provided such a revenue boost to sections of the warbird industry, and drawn in new piloting blood to fulfil the demand. But the initial route into these aircraft is a different matter entirely. Yes, various companies offer Spitfire training courses, but once you’ve gone solo, what then? The likelihood is that an owner isn’t about to let you loose on their aeroplane.

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