Aircraft of the Week: Supermarine Spitfire

The Supermarine Spitfire is an iconic single engine fighter aircraft designed by R.J. Mitchell of Supermarine Aviation Works in the 1930’s. First flown during a time when biplanes were still in use as fighter aircraft, the Spitfire’s thinner wings enabled faster speeds than even the Hawker Hurricane. The Spitfire made its debut during World War I, and was especially celebrated after the Battle of Britain due to its high victory-to-loss ratio. The first Spitfire Mk. 1 was delivered to the 19th RAF Squadron at Duxford in July 1938. On 16 October 1939, a Spitfire of No. 603 Squadron claimed the first German aircraft to be destroyed over the UK in World War II, a Heinkel He 111 .

The last operational mission of the Spitfire took place on 1 April 1954, when a Spitfire PR.Mk 19 flew a photo-reconnaissance mission over Malaya.


Type: Single Seat Fighter / Fighter Bomber (Seafire was a carrier-based version)

Design: Reginald Joseph Mitchell

Manufacturer: (Spitfire) Supermarine Aviation Works (Vickers) Limited also built by Vickers-Armstrong, Castle Bromwich and Westland Aircraft. (Seafire) Cunliffe-Owen and Westland Aircraft.

Powerplant: (Mk I, III) 1,030 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin II liquid cooled V-12 (Mk II) 1,175 hp Merlin XII (Mk V) 1,440 hp (1074 kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin 45 (Mk VI) 1,415 hp Merlin 47 (Mk VII, VIII, IX) 1,660 hp Merlin 61 (Mk X) Merlin 77 (Mk XI) 1,760 hp Merlin 63A or 1,655 hp Merlin 70 (Mk XII) 1,735 hp Rolls-Royce Griffon III or IV (Mk XIII) 1,620 hp Merlin (Mk XIV, XVIII, XIX and type 21) 2,050 hp Griffon 65 with a two-stage supercharger (type 22) 2,375 hp Griffon 65. (Seafire 47) One 2,375 hp (1771 kW) Griffon 87 or 88 piston engine.

Performance: (Mk VA) Maximum speed 369 mph (594 km/h) at 19,500 ft (5945 m); service ceiling 36,500 ft (11125 m).

Range: (Mk I) 395 miles (637 km) on internal fuel. (Mk VA) 1,135 miles (1827 km) with drop tanks. (Mk IX) 434 miles (700 km) on internal fuel. (Mk XIV) 460 miles (740 km) on internal fuel. (Seafire 47) 405 miles (652 km) on internal fuel.

Weight: (Mk I) Empty 4,810 lbs (2182 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 5,784 lbs (2624 kg). (Mk VA) Empty 4,998 lbs (2267 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 6,417 lbs (2911 kg). (Mk IX) Empty 5,610 lbs (2545 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 9,500 lbs (4310 kg). (Mk XIV) Empty 6,700 lbs (3040 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 10,280 lbs (4663 kg). (Seafire 47) Empty 7,625 lbs (3458 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 12,750 lbs (5784 kg).

Dimensions: (Mk VA) (L standard) Span 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m) (LF clipped) Span 32 ft 2 in or 32 ft 7 in (9.93 m) (HF extended) 40 ft 2 in (12.24 m); length 29 ft 11 in (9.12 m); height 9 ft 11 in (3.02 m); wing area 242 sq ft (22.48 sq m).

Armament: (Mk I) Four 7.70 mm Browning machine guns (Mk IA, IIA) eight 7.70 mm machine guns (Mk IB, IIB) two 20 mm Hispano-cannons and four 7.70 mm machine guns (Mk VA) eight 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Browning machine guns (Mk VB) two 20 mm cannons and four 7.70 mm machine guns (Mk VC) various combinations of cannons and machine gun plus two 113 kg bombs (all Mk V) underwing rack for a 227 kg bomb or a droppable tank (Mk IXE) two 20 mm cannons and two 12.7 mm cannons (Mk XIII) four 7.70 mm machine guns (Mk XIVE) two 20 mm cannons and two 12.7 mm machine guns (most others) two 20 mm cannons and four 7.7 mm machine guns.

Variants: Type 224, Type 300 (prototype), Mk I, Mk II, Mk III, Mk PR III (photographic reconnaissance), Mk IV, Mk PR IV (photographic reconnaissance), Mk V, Mk VI, Mk VII, Mk PR VII, Mk VIII, Mk IX, Mk X (high altitude photographic reconnaissance ), Mk XI, Mk XII, Mk XIII, Mk XIV, Mk XVI, Mk XVIII, Mk XIX, Mk XX, Mk 21, Mk 22, Mk 23, Mk 24, Spiteful (the intended replacement for the Spitfire, but the advent of jets rendered it obsolete after only 17 planes were produced).

History: First flight (prototype) 5 March 1936; (production Mk I) July 1938; final delivery (Mk 24) October 1947.

Operators: RAAF, RCAF, RAF, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, France, Yugoslavia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Soviet Union, Turkey, USAAF.

Number Built: 20,334 Sptifires; 2,556 Seafires

Number Still Airworthy: 50

Aircraft specifications have been provided by Pilotfriend and can be found here

FSX Admin

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