Without doubt the best known British aircraft of World War II, the Supermarine Spitfire originated
from the Type 224 designed by R. J. Mitchell to meet the requirements of Specification F.7/30. A cantilever low-wing monoplane of all-metal construction, it had an inverted-gull wing and 'trousered' fixed main landing gear, and was powered by a 447kW Rolls-Royce Goshawk II Vee engine. When the Type 224 was tested its performance proved disappointing, and it was no more successful than any of the other submissions to this specification; none of them gained an Air Ministry contract.
Given a free hand to design a new single-seat fighter unfettered by official specifications, Mitchell outlined on his drawing board the delightful Type 300. Smaller, sleeker and with drag-reducing retractable landing gear, it was tailored around the new Rolls-Royce P.V.12 (Merlin) engine; the wings were not only of distinctive elliptical shape, but they housed eight machine-guns, all of them firing outside the propeller disc. Air Ministry Specification F.36134 was drawn up around the Type 300 and a prototype was ordered. It was powered by a 738kW Rolls-Royce Merlin C and flew for the first time on 5 March 1936. Comparatively little flight testing was needed to confirm it as a winner, and its superb handling qualities and performance resulted in a first contract (for 310 Spitfire Mk I aircraft) being awarded on 3 June 1936. However, planned mass production was slow to gain momentum and it was not until July 1938 that the first Spitfire Mk I reached No. 19 Squadron at Duxford; only five had been delivered by the time of the Munich crisis in September of that year, but the trickle was eventually to become a flood that totalled 20,334 Spitfires and 2,556 related new-build Seafire naval fighters. A degree of multi-role capability was to result from the development of low-altitude clipped wings (prefix LF), and high-altitude increased-span wings (HF), the standard wing being identified as F, and with variations of armament within these wings comprising eight machine-guns (suffix A), two cannon and four machine-guns (B), four cannon (C) and two cannon, two 12.7mm machine-guns and up to 454kg of bombs (E).
By the outbreak of war on 3 September 1939, the RAF had nine operational Spitfire squadrons, and on 16 October 1939 a Spitfire of No. 603 Squadron claimed the first German aircraft to be destroyed over the UK in World War II, a Heinkel He 111. By August 1940, shortly before the Battle of Britain reached its climax, RAF Fighter Command could call upon 19 Spitfire Mk I squadrons. By December 1940 Spitfire Mk IIs were carrying out 'Rhubarb' sweeps over occupied Europe, and the first to serve overseas were Spitfire Mk VBs flown to Malta from HMS Eagle on 7 March 1942.
Soon after that date the same mark was operational in the Middle East, and by early 1943 the first Spitfire Mk Vs were arriving in the Pacific theatre. In growing numbers and with increasing capability the Spitfire served throughout World War II, not only with the RAF but with the nation's allies, including US and Soviet squadrons. It also had the distinction of remaining in production throughout the entire war and was operational post-war, the last mission flown by a photo-reconnaissance Spitfire PR.Mk 19 of No. 81 Squadron in Malaya on 1 April 1954.
|A three-view drawing (592 x 919)|
| MODEL||Spitfire Mk VA|
| ENGINE||1 x Rolls-Royce Merlin 45, 1102kW|
| Take-off weight||2911 kg||6418 lb|
| Empty weight||2267 kg||4998 lb|
| Wingspan||11.23 m||37 ft 10 in|
| Length||9.12 m||30 ft 11 in|
| Height||3.02 m||10 ft 11 in|
| Wing area||22.48 m2||241.97 sq ft|
| Max. speed||594 km/h||369 mph|
| Ceiling||11125 m||36500 ft|
| Range w/max.fuel||1827 km||1135 miles|
| ARMAMENT||8 x 7.7mm machine-guns|
|Neil, Neil.Horlock=aa.com, 08.11.2012|
My Father apprenticed in a machine shop that made the receivers for the machine guns mounted in this aircraft.
|Mark, mark=citroen.com, 20.09.2012|
Το Supermarine Spitfire υπήρξε ένα από τα πιο διάσημα καταδιωκτικά αεροσκάφη όλων των εποχών, σύμβολο της Βρετανικής αεροπορικής ισχύος και χρησιμοποιήθηκε ευρύτατα από τη RAF και τις συμμαχικές αεροπορίες κατά το Β΄ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο και τη δεκαετία του ΄50.
Κατασκευασμένο από τη Βρετανική Supermarine το Spitfire ήταν μια δημιουργία του αρχισχεδιαστή της εταιρείας R. J. Mitchell, που συνέχισε να τελειοποιεί το σχέδιό του μέχρι και το 1937 που πέθανε από καρκίνο. Οι ελλειπτικές του πτέρυγες του επέτρεπαν ανώτερες ταχύτητες από το Hawker Hurricane και άλλους ανταγωνιστές του, του έδιναν δε μία χαρακτηριστική εμφάνιση, ενισχύοντας την όλη του αεροδυναμική εικόνα. Ιδιαίτερα αγαπητό από τους χειριστές του, το Spitfire χρησιμοποιήθηκε καθ’ όλη τη διάρκεια του Β΄ Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου και τα αμέσως μετέπειτα χρόνια, σε όλα τα θέατρα του πολέμου και σε πολλές παραλλαγές.
Περισσότερα από 20.300 τεμάχια όλων των τύπων κατασκευάστηκαν, συμπεριλαμβανομένου και ενός διθέσιου εκπαιδευτικού, ενώ κάποια από αυτά συνέχισαν να χρησιμοποιούνται ακόμα και στη δεκαετία του ’50, όταν τα αεριωθούμενα είχαν πια επικρατήσει. Αν και ο μεγάλος του αντίπαλος, το Messerschmitt Bf 109, το συναγωνίστηκε σε στατιστικά παραγωγής, το Spitfire υπήρξε το μόνο Βρετανικό καταδιωκτικό που παρέμεινε σε συνεχή παραγωγή πριν, κατά τη διάρκεια και μετά το Β΄ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο.
|Matt Thrasher, old51crow=aol.com, 27.03.2012|
"4. The speed of sound does not vary with aircraft attitude."
I think you're almost correct. The speed of sound varies with the density and pressure/temperature of the gas(es) involved. Ask Gen. Yeager why he flew the X-1 in a climb instead of a dive to break 'the sound barrier', if you get a chance.
Regardless, the Spitfire is one beautiful aircraft.
|Ron, toolkeeper123=roadrunner.com, 08.01.2012|
Mk LF IX (3293 kg loaded): (235m radius) 360 degree turn time is put at 17.5 sec.@ 1,000m alt, by some.
Of course that's with clipped wings.
|remi riemis, remi.riemis=telenet.be, 20.12.2011|
this is a great aircraft when i was 15 jears old i saw the first time the spitfire.I live in belgium in the city of antwerp and somethimes at the airport of deurne flys a spitfire and that is great many greetings
|Chris, northern_trick=shaw.ca, 07.06.2011|
A number of points...
1. The speed of sound in air is a function of barometric pressure, temperature and humidity.
2. The figure 761.2 mph is valid only in an ICAO Standard Atmosphere at Sea Level.
3. While the above data would have been available from the recording instruments carried by Flt. Lt. Ted Powles' Spitfire PR-XIX, PS852, the instruments were never designed for recording this data in a very rapidly changing environment such as would have been encountered in a high speed dive. Consequently, the readings are questionable. Without knowing the degree of accuracy available from each instrument, it is impossible to accurately reconstruct the flight's proximity to Mach 1. To be accurately informed as to the accuracy of the instruments, one would need to consult either official documentation or an instrument technician familiar with the types of instruments carried by PS852 on February 5, 1952 out of Kai Tak, Hong Kong.
4. The speed of sound does not vary with aircraft attitude.
5. Different parts of the airframe will have different Mach numbers, owing to local fluctuations in airflow.
6. It was the thin wing cross-section of the Spitfire that gave it a higher critical Mach number than any of its contemporaries, including the early jets.
|John V C Fisher, johnfisher129=btinternet.com, 29.05.2011|
I was in the Air Force in 1947 after the war,Group 1 instrument maker, @ No 1 PRFU Finningley.I can remember being upside down in a Spit cockpit working behind the blind flying panel, a tight squeeze. The gun sight filled the front screen space.
|Ron, toolkeeper123=roadrunner.com, 29.05.2011|
Using Mach speed for dives is tricky.
If the Mach 0.891 dive was 606 mph, then that computes to 680 mph for Mach 1. That was in the 1940s
If the Mach 0.94 dive was 680 mph, then it is 715 mph for Mach 1! That was in the 1950s.
Another site online uses 692 mph to convert to Mach dive speed. So forget the post of 761.2 mph I was using before.
It is obviously for level speed.
What does your math say? I could be wrong again.
What should still show is the relative dive performance of the planes, by either measure (mph or Mach). Alas, there are varied results that can be found in contradiction to that line of thinking too.
Then I tend to make excuses like weather, pilot's courage to push the envelope, design stability, and structural strength.
So, if you read some of my posts in the past that seamed off, bear these points in mind.
|Mick Skinner, skinnermick=hotmail.com, 08.03.2011|
I worked on the later versions of this beautiful A/C in 1966 on the Historical Aircraft Flight at RAF Coltishall we had 3 Spitfires and 2 Hurricanes all in great flying condition, they did airshows and practised regularly at Colt doing beat ups down the Lightening pan, I wonder where they are now. I would love to see one at the Reno Air Races to give the P51 Mustangs some competition. The sound of a Merlin on full chat is a sound to behold.
|Bill Holmes, bill=holmesfamilyweb.com, 03.03.2011|
I am 58 and my father (now deceased) flew spitfires in the 54 squadron. I still have all his flight books and always loved hearing his stories of defending Darwin Australia during later part of the war. He loved Australia so much we moved out here from UK when I was 5 after he returned from the war.
|John Beavin, jonbev=slingshot.co.nz, 21.02.2011|
I was a flight mechanic engines , my squadron had the mark 24s, ground attack fighter, they never gave much trouble, needed a plug change occasionally or a prop change, the pilots loved them, dumped for D H Hornets in 50 or 51.
|Col. Larry Guarino USAF ret, Larry43B=yahoo.com, 18.01.2011|
I flew the Mk5B and C. Only difference that I recall was the B had a metal prop.Then I flew mostly the MkVIII and the MkVIIIC. The eight had pointed wingtips and blower cut in at 21,000 ft. The C had rounded tips and blower cutin at 14,000 ft.The US Army Air Corps had two groups, 6 squadrons flying the Spit from the landings in Africa to Anzio. Also flew most models of the P-51 to the K model. Cant compare the aircraft, both wonderful. Spit was basically an interceptor with limited range. The Mustang could fly from England to Berlin and back.
|Geoffrey Styles, gews=embarqmail.com, 16.12.2010|
I am 81 years old. During WW2 I lived three miles from Hornchurch Aerodrome. My Dad took me there in 1938 for Empire Air Day. I remember the day it was bombed. My Dad worked in Hornchurch (WW1 veteran). We would go to the airfield gates and watch our heroes head out for R7R in London. Great chaps. We will never forget them.
|Martijn K., stano2006=hotmail.com, 15.11.2010|
Which planes are drawn on the previous page ? I see a: A10 (groundhog), a: flying boat (dornier perhaps ?), and there's a twin engined, inverted gull wing plane wich i'd like to know. Thanks in advance for reply. ps Nice site.
|Robert Tobin, robert.tobin=bigpond.com, 31.10.2010|
I'm Australian, 70 years old and have loved Spitfires since I was a kid. I have the MS FS2009 Flight Simulator on my Computer and my Spitfre collection is my favorite.
I saw the reference to Squadron Leader J. R. Tobin. My name is Robert C. Tobin. I am probably not related to J.R. Tobin. I would love some information about this gentleman.
|Alphatango, alphatango=lineone.net, 30.10.2010|
Guys, the speed of sound in air depends on temperature more than anything else. It's about 331.3m/s at 0 degrees C and 343m/s at 20 degrees C. The formula for local speed of sound is S = 331.5 + 0.6 x T (degrees C). Thus, the local speed of sound usually increases as the aircraft dives (and the local temperature increases) so that the aircraft becomes, once more, subsonic and therefore controllable. We don't have any data for the temperature at altitude during these incidents, but it could be assumed fall at around 2 degrees C per 1000' of altitude. The surface temperature in Hong Kong varies considerably, however, both seasonally and diurnally.........
|Alex Barbour, alexbarbour=bell.net, 17.10.2010|
Some years ago my friend Des McKenna( LLOYDS medal Chief Engineer MN WWll )and I were running a passenger tug up the Rideau River in Ottawa Ontario. It was Battle of Britain Day and just as we passed under the bridge for HuntClub we heard the noises we had both grown up with.
A Spitfire and a Lancaster Bomber coming from the eastern bank of the river where the air port sits above the river valley.
Unbelievable ------He remembered their noise from the days he ran ships in convoys in the Atlantic.
Me being younger, remembered them taking off on missions.
Most of the passengers had never heard them, nor heard of them.
|Ron, toolkeeper123=roadrunner.com, 20.09.2010|
The Mach .94 episode over Hong Kong by Ted Powles was in the early 1950s (1953 I think). I was passing on what I read, but if your sure I'm wrong, then I appreciate the correct info. I was thinking the wing was the new one like that in the picture (not saying the Mk in the photo).
I am aware that the earlier incident of Mach .891 has been reported as a Mk XIV or a Mk XI by different ones.
Sometimes the source has an obvious typo with an improper Roman numeral in the Mark. Keeps things mysterious I guess.
|Jef, julian=wvi.com, 12.09.2010|
The spit that we have in our museum has a merlin engine made by packard with metric specs.
|Jef, julian=wvi.com, 12.09.2010|
The spit that we have in our museum has a merlin engine made by packard with metric specs.
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?