March 5th 2016 marks an incredible 80 years since the first flight of the Supermarine Spitfire. The first prototype, K5054, designed by Reginald J. Mitchell, took off from Eastleigh Aerodrome on March 5th 1936 and while it may have looked a little rough around the edges it was unmistakably a Spit’ with its beautiful wing shape and smooth lines.
During World War II it was these stunning looks coupled with the throaty sound of its Rolls-Royce Merlin engines that helped raise the spirits of the British people as they found themselves facing a seemingly unstoppable Nazi war machine. It’s use as a propaganda machine was every bit as important as its use as a weapon of war. As well as serving the Royal Air Force, a carrier capable variant known as the Seafire was developed for the Royal Navy who continued to fly them on operations in the Korean War.
A number of events are taking place around the UK to celebrate the anniversary including a flypast of the site of the former Supermarine factory in Woolston where the aircraft were assembled by one of the numerous aircraft still flying today.
More articles about the Spitfire on Defence of the Realm
- Spitfire flies under a bridge
- Supermarine Spitfire Mk.III
- Supermarine Spitfire Vb vs. Kawasaki Ki-61-I-KAIc Hien (“Tony”)
- Supermarine Spitfire Vb vs. Macchi C.202 Folgore
- Supermarine Spitfire IX vs. Macchi C.205 Veltro
- The Spitfire & the Lightning – how two British icons met in simulated combat
- The Last Air Battle of World War II
- The Franken-Spitfire