The symbol of Britain's refusal to give up during that dark summer of 1940, the Spitfire won the hearts of both pilots and public in World War II. A Second World War vintage Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX (L.F.), rebuilt by Canada's National Aviation Museum. Martindale blacked out under the 11 g loading, but when he resumed consciousness, he found the aircraft at about 40,000 feet with its (originally straight) wings now slightly swept back. This aircraft was the 155th built and first flew in April 1939. Over a six-year period in the 1990s, this aircraft was slowly restored by Personal Plane Services in England using almost 90% of its original aircraft skins. Combat reports showed that an average of 4,500 rounds were needed to shoot down an enemy aircraft. [96] Early tests showed that, while the guns worked perfectly on the ground and at low altitudes, they tended to freeze at high altitude, especially the outer wing guns, because the RAF's Brownings had been modified to fire from an open bolt. More Spitfire Mk Vs were built than any other type, with 6,487 built, followed by the 5,656 Mk IXs. [3] The Spitfire was the only British fighter aircraft to be in continuous production before, during, and after the Second World War. British company Historic Flying Limited has either restored or built from scratch a significant proportion of the Spitfires that are now airworthy. Amongst other notable achievements, the Mk IX took part in the highest altitude combat of the Second World War, when it intercepted a Ju 86R at 43,000 feet over Southampton on 12 September 1942. [98], The decision on the arming of the Spitfire (and the Hurricane) is told in Captain C. H. Keith's book I Hold my Aim. In fact the Mk.IX was simply a Mk.V Spitfire with a newer engine. This matter was almost conclusively answered in 1985 by aviation author Alfred Price, who received an account sheet with a handwritten note by Mitchell updating a line from "Not yet flown" to "Flew 5 Mar 36". [143], The Seafire II was able to outperform the A6M5 Zero at low altitudes when the two types were tested against each other during wartime mock combat exercises. Williams, Anthony G. and Dr. Emmanuel Gustin. In 1941 and 1942, PRU Spitfires provided the first photographs of the Freya and Würzburg radar systems, and in 1943, helped confirm that the Germans were building the V1 and V2 Vergeltungswaffen ("vengeance weapons") rockets by photographing Peenemünde, on the Baltic Sea coast of Germany. [167] In 2016 it was reported that the hunt was continuing.[168]. The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries before, during and after World War II. [129], RAE Bedford (RAE) modified a Spitfire for high-speed testing of the stabilator (then known as the "flying tail") of the Miles M.52 supersonic research aircraft. With the later and still heavier versions, one got even less. The trailing edge of the wing twisted slightly upward along its span, the angle of incidence decreasing from +2° at its root to -½° at its tip. The fuselage plating was 24, 20, and 18 gauge in order of thickness towards the tail, while the fin structure was completed using short longerons from frames 20 to 23, before being covered in 22 gauge plating. [107] Paddy Finucane (28–32 e/a) scored all his successes in the fighter before disappearing over the English Channel in July 1942. The first pilot to fly. At the time the wing was designed, this D-shaped leading edge was intended to house steam condensers for the evaporative cooling system intended for the PV-XII. Invented by Beatrice "Tilly" Shilling, it became known as "Miss Shilling's orifice". [18], K5054 was fitted with a new propeller, and Summers flew the aircraft on 10 March 1936; during this flight, the undercarriage was retracted for the first time. Originally a Merlin 70 powered HF Mk IX, SM520 was delivered to 33MU, RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire, on the 23 rd November 1944. Its first combat success came on 30 July 1942, when an Spitfire Mk IX shot down a Fw 190. The Air Ministry submitted a list of possible names to Vickers-Armstrong for the new aircraft, then known as the Type 300. The resultant narrow undercarriage track was considered an acceptable compromise as this reduced the bending loads on the main-spar during landing. On 20 February 1948, almost twelve years from the prototype's first flight, the last production Spitfire, VN496, left the production line. This modification is known as the Grace Canopy Conversion, and was designed by Nick Grace, who rebuilt ML407. Green, Peter. Progress was rapid, and full production began in June 1942. The second cockpit of this aircraft has been lowered and is now below the front cockpit. The cabin pressure fell below a safe level, and in trying to reduce altitude, he entered an uncontrollable dive which shook the aircraft violently. Douglas Bader (20 e/a) and "Bob" Tuck (27 e/a) flew Spitfires and Hurricanes during the major air battles of 1940. Most of the casualties were experienced aircraft production workers.[42]. [71] This washout was first featured in the wing of the Type 224, and became a consistent feature in subsequent designs leading to the Spitfire. The Mk IX (and very similar Mk XVI) was produced in greater numbers than any other type of Spitfire. [92], Early in its development, the Merlin engine's lack of fuel injection meant that Spitfires and Hurricanes, unlike the Bf 109E, were unable to simply nose down into a steep dive. 1190 (46) “I would like to pay tribute to one of the most fabulous fighter aircrafts of the World War II and the designer of Spitfire: Sir Reginald Mitchell.” – Jean-Pierre Cousinet “I dedicate this to the fabulous Spitfire pilot Sir Ray Hanna who had so warmly received this Spitfire MK IX B MH 434 at The Old Flying Machine Company.” The problems increased when the work was put out to subcontractors, most of whom had never dealt with metal-structured, high-speed aircraft. Several other manufacturers have produced replica Spitfires, either as complete aircraft or as kits for self-building. As a result, the Spitfire's performance and capabilities improved over the course of its service life. For other uses, see, British single-seat WWII fighter aircraft. However, Spitfire units had a lower attrition rate and a higher victory-to-loss ratio than those flying Hurricanes because of the Spitfire's higher performance. The Spitfire LF Mk IX is a rank IV British fighter with a battle rating of 5.7 (AB/RB) and 5.0 (SB). By June 1939, most of these problems had been resolved, and production was no longer held up by a lack of wings. The removable wing tips were made up of duralumin-skinned spruce formers. He says "I think it can be reasonably contended that the deliberations of that conference made possible, if not certain, of the winning of the Battle of Britain, almost exactly six years later". Greenwood Military Aviation Museum is also home to a replica non-flying Spitfire. It had been maintained in running condition by ground crews at Binbrook, and after a short time was participating in the trials. [29] Although outside contractors were supposed to be involved in manufacturing many important Spitfire components, especially the wings, Vickers-Armstrong (the parent company) was reluctant to see the Spitfire being manufactured by outside concerns, and was slow to release the necessary blueprints and subcomponents. After the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire superseded the Hurricane to become the backbone of RAF Fighter Command, and saw action in the European, Mediterranean, Pacific, and South-East Asian theatres. [148] Although the later Griffon-engined marks lost some of the favourable handling characteristics of their Merlin-powered predecessors, they could still outmanoeuvre their main German foes and other, later American and British-designed fighters. From February 1943 flush riveting was used on the fuselage, affecting all Spitfire variants. This memorial is in memory of the old, A fibreglass replica of a Spitfire Mk XVI has been mounted on a pylon in, A fibreglass replica of a Mk XVI spitfire sits on a pylon next to Memorial Avenue at Christchurch Airport, New Zealand. Sometimes unarmed, they flew at high, medium, and low altitudes, often ranging far into enemy territory to closely observe the Axis powers and provide an almost continual flow of valuable intelligence information throughout the war. Its service ceiling rose from 36,200 feet to 43,000 feet. The most expensive components were the hand-fabricated and finished fuselage at roughly £2,500, then the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine at £2,000, followed by the wings at £1,800 a pair, guns and undercarriage, both at £800 each, and the propeller at £350. [141] Like the Spitfire, the Seafire also had a relatively narrow undercarriage track, which meant that it was not ideally suited to deck operations. The Spitfire achieved legendary status during the Battle of Britain, a reputation aided by the "Spitfire Fund" organised and run by Lord Beaverbrook, the Minister of Aircraft Production. "Spitfire con Coccarde Italiane (Spitfire in Italian service)." Hill's assistant in making his calculations had been his teenage daughter. The aim was to fit the Merlin 61 engine to a Mk V fuselage while making as few changes as possible. The U-shaped frame 20 was the last frame of the fuselage proper and the frame to which the tail unit was attached. [79] The wing tips used spruce formers for most of the internal structure with a light alloy skin attached using brass screws. Spitfire Mk 24s were used by only one regular RAF unit, with 80 Squadron replacing their Hawker Tempests with F Mk 24s in 1947. Under the port wing, a new radiator fairing housed a square oil cooler alongside of the other half-radiator unit. 1230 (50), Prototypes - Mk I - Mk II - Mk III - Mk V - Mk VI - Mk VII - Mk VIII - Mk IX - Mk XII - Mk XIV - Mk XVI - Mk XVIII - Mk 21 to 24 - Photo Reconnaissance Spitfires - Spitfire Wings - Timeline, Help - F.A.Q. During the battle, Spitfires were generally tasked with engaging Luftwaffe fighters—mainly Messerschmitt Bf 109E-series aircraft, which were a close match for them. Morgan and Shacklady 2000, pp. [101] A variant on the Spitfire design with four 20 mm Oerlikon cannon had been tendered to specification F37/35, but the order for prototypes had gone to the Westland Whirlwind in January 1939.[102]. And it looked nice. The replica was apparently used as a static display in, A fibreglass replica in the colours of 603 (City of. The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II. The Mk IX remained in service until the end of the war, even after the appearance of the Griffon powered Mk XIV. This Spitfire is completely original, and has never been fully rebuilt. The longer noses and greater propeller-wash resulting from larger engines in later models necessitated increasingly larger vertical, and later, horizontal tail surfaces to compensate for the altered aerodynamics, culminating in those of the Mk 22/24 series, which were 25% larger in area than those of the Mk I. With the 1053 Mk XVIs (the same aircraft with a Packard Merlin engine) that amounts to a total of 7,011 aircraft. [33], In 1938, construction began on the Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory (CBAF), next to the aerodrome, and the installation of the most modern machine tools then available began two months after work started on the site. Vickers Aviation could not keep up with demand and most of Britain’s manufacturers began building Spitfires. Both restored by American billionaire Thomas Kaplan, one has been donated to the Imperial War Museum and the second was auctioned in July 2015 at Christie's, London. [152], The last non-operational flight of a Spitfire in RAF service, which took place on 9 June 1957, was by a PR Mk 19, PS583, from RAF Woodvale of the Temperature and Humidity Flight.