History of the Spitfire Airplane

Introduction

Long raged wars have often ended due to the negative repercussions that were being caused by the modern equipment such as bomber aircrafts which damaged a lot of area as well as killed a large number of people as well. As a result of this, due to extreme violence by the bomber planes such as the Spitfire Airplanes, the wars often brought to a ceasefire. Many different types of bomber planes have been used in the World Wars and the Spitfire Airplane has been one of the most important ones. Learn more about it in the article below.

About the Spitfire Airplane

The Spitfire Airplane also known as the Supermarine Spitfire is a British fighter aircraft. It has a single seat and was developed before World War II. Currently, the Supermarine Spitfire is no longer used because of improved technology which has helped in inventing modern fighter planes and jets.

As of 2017 currency evaluations, a Spitfire Airplane has a cost of £774,905.  In 1936, this was equivalent to £12,604. The Spitfire is a fighter / interceptor aircraft which has a short range for firing. A total of 20351 aircraft were produced of which only 60 remain as airworthy while the rest are either useless or have been destroyed during the wars. There are different Spitfire Aircrafts that are held all over the world in famous museums because of the significance as well as the important role they played during World War II.

About Mitchell

The Spitfire was designed by R. J. Mitchell. He was an aircraft designer who had worked with the company Supermarine during 1930 and 1936. Over the 16 years he spent as an aircraft designer in Supermarine, he designed over 20 different models. Out of these 20 models, the Spitfire and his seaplane designs were considered to be his biggest achievements.

When Mitchell first started to look for a fighter interceptor, he was not much successful because he was able to design an aircraft called Type 224 that had a max speed of 230 miles per hour. This was lower than the specified limit by the Air Ministry that wanted an aircraft at 250 miles per hour. This aircraft was known as the Spitfire and its initial design was not much liked by the company.

However, Mitchell continued his effort and designed a Type 300 aircraft with the collaboration of Rolls Royce to provide for the aircraft engines. This was a much-improved version of the first Spitfire aircraft and work began on its prototype soon. When it was created and went up in the air for the first time, its true capabilities were evaluated and there was an instant order by the Air ministry for more such aircrafts because of the aerodynamics, mechanics, suspension, and attack formations. It was a success for Mitchell who was later awarded “Most Excellent Order of British Empire” also known as the CBE.

History of the Supermarine Spitfire

Before the 2nd World War, Great Britain was already focusing on improving its air and military strengths. This was being done so as to protect Britain and its allies in case there is any war. It’s design and production were first started in 1934 while the first flight took place in 1936. R. J. Mitchell was the designer of this aircraft. Just 4 years after its production, the aircraft was used heavily during World War II by Britain and its allies.

During the Battle of Britain between July to October 1940, the Spitfire was considered as the main aircraft which was used by the Royal Airforce. The Spitfire Airplane was quite successful against the campaigns with the German Nazi Airforce such as the Luftwaffe. There was a higher victory to loss ratio reported for ground combat as well as air combat in the case of the Spitfires. A closer combat was reported between the Spitfire and the Messerschmitt Bf 109E series aircraft of the Germans.

The Supermarine Spitfire in 1940

Supermarine Spitfire Roles

After the Battle of Britain, there were different types of statistical evaluations made for the Spitfire which showed that this is one of the most useful aircrafts ever produced. It was replaced by the Hurricane and became the major airplane used by Royal Air Force Fighter Command. Right after the Battle of Britain, the Supermarine Spitfire was used in other campaigns in the European and Pacific region as well.

The pilots used to like this aircraft because of the diversity of the roles that it performed which included the role of an interceptor, fighter-bomber, trainer, and a photoreconnaissance as well. These roles were continued in the 1950s till the Spitfire was used.

The primary users of the Supermarine Spitfire have been Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Free French Air Force, and United States Army Air Forces as well.

The Spitfire was an important piece of equipment during the Battle of Britain.

Technical Specifications

The Spitfire was a useful aircraft due to numerous reasons which mainly include the technical abilities of this aircraft. The original airframe aircraft was powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin Engine which had the power to produce 1030 horsepower that was equivalent to 768 kilowatts.

The engine was quite strong and resistant which is why it required lower maintenance compared to the other aircrafts being used by the Royal Airforce. Later after the death of primary designer R. J. Mitchell, the Griffon engines were used which enhanced the performance of the spitfire to even higher extents. It produced a total of 2340 horsepower equivalent to 1745 kilowatts.

From an attack point of view, the aircraft had a Wing Type A and a Wing Type B. The two different wings were segregated on the basis of the type of weapon which they were holding. The Wing Type A used to have four .303 machine guns. The Wing Type B had the capability of holding Hispano-Suiza 20mm cannons. To balance out, each wing had one cannon and two machine guns installed.

The Spitfire had a quiet climb rate which was one of the main reasons why it was used for instant combats. In only 7 minutes, it could reach 20,000 feet while the maximum height that it could gain was 32,800 feet. In order to protect and keep the pilot safe, additional armor was behind the head of the pilot which ensured that the pilot’s head was fully protected.

The top speed of the Supermarine Spitfire was 528 kilometers per hour equivalent to 330 miles per hour. This was higher than the speed of Hurricane, another reason why the Spitfire became more popular than the Hurricane.

Today, many Supermarine Spitfire airplanes are in Museums

Distinctive features of the Supermarine Spitfire

Chief Designer R. J. Mitchell designed the aircraft to be a short range but a high performance one. He focused on the features such as the elliptical wing with the cutting-edge rivets. This helped in giving the aircraft the thinnest possible cross section. As a result, the aircraft could gain a better tip speed than the different types of fighters that were being used at that time.

Another distinctive feature of the Supermarine Spitfire was that it had an oversensitive rudder. The oversensitive rudder allowed the pilot to immediately change the course and prepare for dynamic maneuvers. In War times, this was considered as quite an outstanding feature which helped in increasing the victory to loss ratio as well.

In 1941, the problem of overflow of fuel during extreme maneuvers was also solved when a metal disc with a hold was fitted in the fuel line. This restricted any excessive fuel that the carburetor was getting and that helped in prolonging the life of aircraft as well as improved control was provided too.

The Supermarine Spitfire became such a successful model due to the distinctive features that it outweighed the Hawker Hurricane in terms of the different types of features. Up until his death, the chief designer R. J. Mitchell continued to focus on the design of the aircraft and improve it. In 1937, Mitchell died after which the project of Supermarine Spitfire was taken under control by Joseph Smith who was one of the colleagues of R. J. Mitchell had seen the development of this aircraft under him.

Following his death, there were several different changes that were made to the aircraft mainly with the wing structure which helped in maintaining the popularity and usage of the aircraft with the Royal Airforce as well as the other different allies of The Great Britain. The Spitfire was produced for 10 years on a large scale between 1938 and 1948.

The shape was altered regularly for improved performance.Conclusion

The Spitfire airplane has been one of the most popular ones during and after World War II. With its exceptional technical abilities as well as maneuvering controls, the aircraft was one of the main reasons why British emerged to be successful in the war. In 1961, the last aircraft was retired by the Irish Air Corps. Although, it is not used today, it still stands as an important one due to its history with the Britain wars.