The Supermarine Spitfire (also simply called the Spitfire) is one of the most iconic aircraft in aviation history. Known for its popular and storied use during the Second World War, several veteran pilots received recognition for their daring on these high-performance interceptor aircraft. An article on the Mail Online dated December 11, 2014 features one such pilot, whose heroism during the Battle of Britain and other aerial skirmishes continues to fascinate and inspire people. The article reveals telling details on the life and times of the pilot.
Recognition and Popularity
While the featured pilot favoured another aircraft over the Spitfire, there is no denying the popularity of the fighter—the article even admits it. Indeed, aviation enthusiasts consider it one of the best planes ever manufactured to date, and many would be honoured to sit in the cockpit of one. Spitfires, however, are so few in number these days, and the few that are airworthy are either privately owned or maintained only as museum pieces. Fortunately, aviation fans can experience the thrill for themselves by joining exciting Spitfire flights organised by flight schools such as the Boultbee Flight Academy.
Spitfire planes were so iconic that even aviation enthusiasts from other countries fell in love with it. The craft was also very reliable in terms of performance, and saw service flights well into the late 1950s. There was even a naval version of the Spitfire, affectionately called the Seafire, which was built specifically to launch from aircraft carriers. About 55 Spitfires are currently in airworthy condition around the world, and they are taken good care of by some of the most passionate aviators.
Power and Performance
Hailed as Britain’s finest fighter, the Spitfire owes much of its reputation to its powerful Rolls-Royce Merlin engine and curiously-shaped elliptical wing, which improved its performance in high-speed flights. Later models would incorporate more powerful Rolls-Royce engines, resulting in a superior craft and an unmistakable sound. Its high-specification propeller engine is something to behold, and even a short flight in a Spitfire can leave passengers in awe at the manoeuvrability of a supposedly dated craft. Those genuinely curious about the famous Spitfire should try riding in one at least once; the experience can be life-changing.
(Source: Last of the Few: One of the final surviving Battle of Britain pilots dies aged 98 – leaving incredible archive of aerial photographs, dailymail.co.uk, Dec. 11, 2014)