Spitfire plane takes to the sky made of Winston Churchill’s upcycled tophats and cigar-butts

Patriotic British amateur aircraft maker Keith Pluck has built and flown a replica of the famous World War II fighter aircraft, made from upcycled material from top hats worn by wartime leader Winston Churchill. The aircraft took its first flight today from Margate Airport.

The Spitfire first flew in 1936 and went on to defend Britain from Nazi invasion and win the War.

In celebration of this aircraft, Margate-based aero engineer Keith Pluck has created an exact replica – but one with a difference: most of its structure is made of a composite created from top hats, cigar butts and other miscellaneous items sourced from the Winston Churchill Collection. According to Pluck, “It is an absolute honour to fly the Tophat Spitfire, you can literally smell Churchill’s ghost in the cockpit.”

Pluck’s intends the aircraft to raise awareness of the part hatmakers had in the making of Britain.

Tophat Spitfire facts

The Spitfire’s composite laminate structure contains materials that include:

5 of Churchill’s trademark top hats

Winston’s Zumba leotard

498 cigar butts

3 pairs of Churchill’s ‘long johns’

Churchill’s first Tamagotchi 

The former Prime Minister’s Pieminister loyalty card

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