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  • Happy Anniversary to the Spitfire!

    Posted by David Foster on March 5th, 2016 (All posts by )

    Today marks the 80th anniversary of  the first flight of the Spitfire fighter prototype.

    See also my post from last year: the Battle of Britain + 75

     

    7 Responses to “Happy Anniversary to the Spitfire!”

    1. Mike K Says:

      Duxford has a two seater trainer but I was not able to get a flight when I was there about ten years ago.

    2. Bill Brandt Says:

      I remember reading up on Reginald Mitchel some time ago. IIRC just getting it to the RAF with the pre-Churchill govt was a feat in itself.

    3. SPKorn Says:

      Read the autobiography of Freddie Forsyth: The Outsider. If you like his thrillers, you’ll love his lifetime story

      It begins and ends with his personal Spitfire stories

    4. David Foster Says:

      Interesting chronological comparison: 40 years before the Spitfire would have been 1896, when there were no airplanes at all. 40 years *after* the Spitfire was 1976, at which time the Boeing 747 had already been in service for several years.

      And 40 more years brings us to the present…while there have been some efficiency improvements and considerable safety improvements, it would be hard to argue that the progress in aviation over the last 40 years is anywhere near comparable to that over the two previous intervals.

    5. David Foster Says:

      Interesting that a Spitfire required about 13000 man-hours to build, compared with only 4000 for the enemy ME-109.

      http://www.airspacemag.com/daily-planet/building-spitfires-slowly-104266182/?no-ist

      …the difference being mainly attributed to the complex construction required for the Spitfire’s elliptical wing.

      Here’s an interesting piece in which both German and British pilots compare the two aircraft:

      http://www.spitfireperformance.com/spit1vrs109e.html

    6. TangoMan Says:

      And 40 more years brings us to the present…while there have been some efficiency improvements and considerable safety improvements, it would be hard to argue that the progress in aviation over the last 40 years is anywhere near comparable to that over the two previous intervals.

      I’ve lost touch with the aviation world but as a kid I marveled at the vast array of model airplane kits, it seems that the USAF was coming out with new models of aircraft every year and now we have the JSF for everyone and that’s it for the next 30 years. I imagine that being a test-pilot in the 40s, 50s and 60s was a good career move, always new aircraft coming out and needing to be tested but what do test-pilots do these days, play canasta in the flight room for 20 years until a new model of aircraft is rolled out?

    7. jhoover Says:

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/12/the-spy-behind-the-plane-that-saved-britain.html