Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that served the service for the Royal Air Force as well as for other Allied countries not only during the World War II but also before and after the World War II era.
This aircraft was produced in many different variants with modification mainly carried out on its wing configuration. It is the only British aircraft, which has been mass-produced when compared to any other fighter jet. It is also the only British Air Force fighter to be produced throughout the war.
Supermarine Spitfire remains to be one of the popular World War II-era aircraft amongst the aviation enthusiasts. Only 60 of these aircraft are in flying condition while others have been lying static in aviation museums across the globe.
The aircraft is the final product of the ingenious mind of its Chief designer R.J. Mitchell of the Supermarine Aviation Works. The aircraft was designed to be a short range yet high-performance interceptor aircraft. Mitchell continued to make improvements in this aircraft’s design until he passed away in 1937. His design projects were taken over by his close colleague Joseph Smith who in his time made possible many variants of this fighter jet.
For our reader today we have gathered a bunch of amazing facts about the Supermarine Spitfire. Without any further wait read these amazing facts down below.
Aircraft’s design and its designer:-
The aircraft was built to be a short range and a high-performance aircraft mass-produced throughout the World War II era.
The aircraft came into being under the designing of R.J. Mitchell who worked as the Chief designer at the Supermarine Aviation works located in Southampton.
The name Spitfire was given after the Caiman of manufacturer’s daughter:-
Many of the people believed that the name Spitfire originated due to the aircraft’s ferocious firing capabilities. However, none of them could be more wrong. The name was given to it after the daughter of the manufacturer’s Chairman Sir Robert McLean. His daughter’s name was Ann who used to call her his “Little Spitfire”.
The Chairman of the Vickers Aviation proposed this name thinking of her little daughter Ann. However, R.J. Mitchell was clearly not happy with and he said as quoted, “the sort of bloody silly name they would give it”. The names that Mitchell’s proposed were “Te Shrew” or The Scarab”.
Supermarine Spitfire took its maiden flight back on March 5th, 1936. After two years of its first flight, this aircraft entered in the Air Force’s service and remained in the service of RAF until 1955.
Since the aircraft entered in the service, nearly 20351 Spitfire aircraft were developed making it one of the most mass-produced British aircraft ever.
Out of these tens of thousands of Spitfires, only 238 remain throughout the world and 111 of them are in the UK. Only 63 of these aircraft are said to be able to fly and 30 of those are in the UK.
The main innovation that this aircraft brought was the innovative semi-elliptical design of its wings. The aerodynamic design of the Spitfire is its most distinctive feature and is named as Beverley Shenstone design.
This design allowed the aircraft to not only have reduced drag but also be able to accommodate retractable undercarriage, armament, and ammunition.
Its wing served to take on firepower:-
With the World War II raging on, many modifications in this aircraft’s design were carried out and one main one was the increase in firepower housed in its wings.
The Spitfire I came with an “A-Wing” which was able to hold an eight.303in Browning Machine Guns each capable of housing 300 rounds.
In 1941, a “C-wing” was introduced which not only accommodated eight of the .303in machine guns but also either four 20mm cannons or two 20mm cannons along with 4 machine guns.
The wings could also accommodate beer kegs:-
Resourceful pilots of the Spitfire MK IX modified the bomb-carrying wings of the aircraft so that they could carry instead Beer Kegs.
This was done to help the thirsty D-Day Troops.
These altitude chilled Beer Bombs were highly welcomed by the Allied Troops in Normandy.
First aircraft with Retractable Landing Gear:-
Supermarine Spitfire’s novel design was the first aircraft that introduced a retractable landing gear. Many pilots who at the time were used to ‘ever-present landing gear’ forgot to put it down before landing, thus crash-landing many of the Spitfires.
Cost of one Supermarine Spitfire in 1939:-
Each one of the Supermarine Spitfire back in 1939 cost about 12604 British Pounds, which roughly calculates into 681000 British Pounds in today’s economy. Compared to other British modern jet fighter s of today, this price seems very minuscule. To produce a British F-35 fighter jet it costs about more than 100 million British pounds.
Used in movies:-
After the war when filmmakers decided to produce a move named “Battle of Britain” back in 1968, real Spitfires were used during the shooting.
This was all made possible because by then they had been decommissioned from the service and huge numbers of them were lying across the world n military basses without serving any purpose. These aircraft used in movies were still flown by veterans of war.
The maximum top speed which a Supermarine Spitfire could muster in-flight was recorded to be 363mph. Its normal range was approximately 991 nautical miles but when I was in combat missions, this range was reduced to less than half at 410 nautical miles. The aircraft was able to fly up to an altitude of about 36000 feet. However, the cabin built was not pressurized.
This is one of the most iconic fighter jets t be designed and produced in the history of planets aviation field. The fighter jet served its purpose of keeping the German invaders at bay successfully. The aircraft was co competent in its air combat missions that even the German forces admired it and wanted it in their air force arsenal. Only 238 of these iconic aircraft remain across the planet and all of them are being kept as the most prized possession of the World War II era.