The iconic fighter with an unmistakable silhouette became a legend thanks to its merits during the Second World War. That's why we didn't hesitate for a moment and put this unique machine on our t-shirts. But what is the story of this plane?
British designers began developing the first fighter aircraft in 1931, but the prototype completed at the beginning of 1934 was not sufficient. Two years later, the Type 300 prototype took off for the first time – the first all-metal fighter to serve the famous RAF. The model was equipped with a twelve-cylinder Rolls-Royce Merlin C engine with an unmistakable sound, a wooden two-bladed propeller (which was soon replaced by a de Havilland adjustable metal three-bladed propeller in flight), a covered cabin and retractable landing gear. The hood and fuselage of the aircraft then hid 7.7 mm machine guns.
The series of aircraft, which was characterized by its geometric twisting of the wings (instead of the more common aerodynamic one), was given the now well-known name Spitfire. It is interesting that the author of this model, engineer RJ Mitchell from the Supermarine company , proposed the names Shrew (shrew) or Scarab (scarab) for the aircraft, but the head of the Vickers Aviation Limited subsidiary, Sir Robert McLean, came up with a different proposal.
Spitfire, i.e. the designation of a temperamental and wild , boisterous person (after all, that's what McLean nicknamed his daughter), eventually gave the name to one of the most produced British aircraft.
A legend with incredible production
From the end of 1938, the Spitfire was an integral part of the Royal Air Force until the 1950s. During the ever-improving production, 24 versions were created and more than 20,000 units were produced . In 1944, the best version was deployed: the Spitfire Mk.XIV with a Rolls-Royce Griffon engine . Along with the Hawker Hurricane, the Spitfire became a legend in the Battle of Britain in 1940.
Minor blemishes on beauty
However, there were also opponents of this model, according to whom the fame of this fighter is exaggerated and unjustified. The first versions of the Spitfire were equipped with carburettors, which stopped supplying fuel to the engine during a dive. Enemy Messerschmitt Bf 109E aircraft, on the other hand, had carburetors with direct fuel injection into the cylinders. Thanks to this, the German planes had a better chance of escaping the enemy , as the British planes needed a few seconds more to go into a dive.
The first solution, however, appeared already in 1940, but it was not fully put into production until after the Battle of Britain. However, the interesting thing is that the author of the new system was a woman - Beatrice Shilling .
Today, the Spitfire is not just a thing of the past
And how are the Spitfires today? There are several dozen pieces in the world that are still able to fly - after all, in 2019 two enthusiasts, Steve Brooks and Matt Jones, set off on a journey around the world in a Spitfire. And if you don't mind this British World War II star, get stylish
- In 1938, the Spitfire was one of the first aircraft with retractable landing gear
- it was the only British fighter to be produced throughout the war
- More Spitfires were produced than any other British aircraft
- Spitfire also had its naval version - Seafire
- surprisingly, this aircraft also served its time in the Soviet army , for the first time already in 1943
- pilot JE Johnson was the RAF's most successful fighter pilot - he shot down 34 enemy aircraft alone, and in cooperation another 7 (in the cockpit of a Spitfire, of course)
- in 2018 , a film was made about this legend - Spitfire: The Plane That Saved the World