The Spitfire, an interceptor aircraft built by British manufacturer Supermarine, was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries during the Second World War. The Spitfire's nemesis throughout the war was the German Messerschmitt Bf 109. It was less agile than its British adversary, but was equipped with a fuel injection engine, giving it a decisive advantage in steep dives.
The Spitfire soon earned global renown and popularity thanks to its unparalleled agility: between 1938 and 1948 over 20,000 were built by Supermarine and under licence, making the Spitfire the most widely built British aircraft ever. The single-seat fighter served in several roles and was used throughout the world as an interceptor, photo-reconnaissance aircraft and fighter-bomber. The Spitfire remained in service with various air forces until the late 1960s, for example in Egypt, Greece, Ireland, Israel and Denmark.
The variant appearing at AIRPOWER16 is the Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XVIe TE184 – one of 1,054 identical aircraft to leave the Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory (UK) between December 1944 and June 1945. The TE184 is particularly well travelled: between May 1945 and November 1950, it was in service with the Royal Air Force – until it was mothballed owing to an undercarriage failure. During the filming of the "Battle of Britain" (1967) it was used only for static scenes. Not until 1990 did it return to the skies with its first civil aviation licence after extensive restoration work. During restoration the original teardrop canopy was converted to the familiar high-back canopy featured on earlier Spitfires. Once the wet-wing tank arrangement had been removed, the gun bays had been restored and the main spar strengthened, the TE184 was given its unrestricted Permit to Fly in 2009. It has been under the ownership of Steven Stead since 2011.
Facts & Figures
|Version||Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XVIe|
|Length||11.22 m / 36 ft 10 in|
|Height||3.05 m /10 ft|
|Wingspan||9.55 m / 31 ft 4 in|
|Max. speed||656 km/h / 408 mph|
|Service ceiling||13,106 m / 43,000 ft|
|Powerplant||1 x Packard Merlin 266|