AN OXFORDSHIRE pilot has taken off on a challenge to fly a newly-restored Spitfire 27,000 miles around the world in the first trip of its kind.

Steve Brooks, 58, from Burford, has set off with fellow pilot Matt Jones, 45, from Exeter and will stop off at 100 locations in 30 countries during the five-month journey.

The project, named Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight, set off from Goodwood aerodrome on Monday, at the site of the first-ever school for Spitfire pilots.

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Mr Brooks, who co-founded the school in 2010, said: "I am terribly excited, it has taken us two-and-a-half years and the time has come to stop making excuses and to get going.

"The biggest challenge is the weather as well as some of the longer flights. The longest flight will be Hong Kong to Vietnam which is 500 miles.

"The Spitfire was built as an interceptor which had a range of 300 miles, so the question now is can we nurse it around."

The pair headed to Scotland, then westbound to places including the US, Canada, Japan, Russia and India and back to Britain with a single-seated Mk IX Spitfire originally built in 1943, followed by a chase plane for safety.

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The pair said they will be taking regular breaks and switch at different stops.

The chase plane, which will have a full-time captain, an engineer, as well as a film and camera crew to video the journey for a documentary, will follow the Spitfire.

Either Mr Jones or Mr Brooks, a property developer, will be in the plane whenever they are not flying the Spitfire.