Home secretary tries her hand at being a Spitfire pilot

Home secretary tries her hand at being a Spitfire pilot

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James Pidduck

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Home secretary tries her hand at being a Spitfire pilot

Home secretary Theresa May had a taste of what it was like to be one of 'the few' when she took the controls of a Spitfire, writes James Pidduck.

The Maidenhead MP was visiting the town's heritage centre on Saturday to see its Grandma Flew Spitfires exhibition about the work of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) at White Waltham in World War II.

She took flight in the exhibition’s Spitfire simulator, flying from White Waltham, over Dorney Lake and Windsor Castle, before a descent at Heathrow airport.

“The experience of the simulator brings it home to you what a magnificent job the Spitfire pilots did, with others, to keep Britain safe,” she said.

“ I would encourage everyone to visit in order to learn more about Maidenhead’s heritage and have a go on the simulator!”

Chairman Richard Poad, who assisted Mrs May on her flight, said she was a great pupil and praised her ability to learn quickly.

“But then she has plenty of practise speed reading the contents of her ministerial red boxes!” he said.

Based in White Waltham, the ATA includes many female pilots. It's tasks included transporting military aircraft and workers as well as air ambulance duties.

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