The reason for the Spitfire’s time-capsule condition was that it had never flown since the day Mary Ellis, the Air Transport Auxiliary ferry pilot (of whom more later) delivered it from Eastleigh to Brize Norton for shipment to Australia on 15 September 1944. A total of 20,351 Spitfires of all types were eventually built, plus 2,408 Seafires modified to operate from aircraft carriers. No end-plate effect to be expected, I thought. You keep your feet on the pedals at all times, resting your heels on the rudder control rods under them, below which is the void. Elsewhere the cockpit means business, with levers, switches and buttons strewn around a black-on-black instrument panel and gauges placed in typical British make-do fashion. Spitfireâs performance at high subsonic Mach numbers. It was on a warm summer afternoon in Bremgarten, a quiet former NATO airbase in the south-west corner of Germany, close to the Rhine. Levelling out at 4,000 feet and throttling back to plus-two, I set myself to work. Not for the first time I ran my hand along the wing’s leading edge during my walkround, marvelling at how seamlessly it tapers from the beefy wing-root to the sharpness of the trailing edge well before reaching the wingtip. Loops at 260-280 knots only require three-and-a-half g or slightly less and will obviously increase the looping diameter, though not by much. Impressive, though lower than the Mustang’s initial rate of climb and not a patch on the 6,000fpm I was used to in the pocket-rocket Yak-3. Cockpit kit comes complete with joy stick, dash, gun sight, side panels, detailed throttle quadrant, resin parts, and moreâ¦. Even though not my first time, I still set about starting the Merlin with some trepidation. With its impressive performance and maneuverability, unique wing design and multiple variants, the Spitfire rightfully earned its place in the history books. SIDESLIPPING your Spitfire is a useful way to LOOSE HEIGHT, while still keeping a curved approach. But were it not for Shenstone’s genius−and his previous experience of working on similar wing designs at Heinkel in Germany before the war−the Spitfire’s wing could have been fast but plagued with handling problems, not least of which might have been high-speed aileron flutter. An early, gentle pull on the downward half of the figure to get the nose under before speed runs away will leave you with a 300-500 feet margin on the recovery. Because so many Spitfires were built, there were plenty of leftovers after the war. Elevator trim set to half a division nose-heavy, rudder trim full right, throttle lever friction tight (a big must, or the acceleration will push it back when you let go of it on the climb-out for gear retraction). The leading edge is constantly curving, ever so slightly at first, then increasingly so before rounding the tip with a calligrapher’s flourish. The Spitfire is an icon of World War II, pictured here in the foreground alongside another combat aircraft of the era, the Hawker Hurricane. I delayed until late downwind before reaching for the gear handle, and this time held it hard against the lower stop (along with my breathing) until the green ‘DOWN’ light and the one for the tailwheel came on. For awkwardness, little beats the P11 compass, also common to the Tiger Moth and later British makes, sitting behind the flat, broad lower segment of the control stick, level with your shins, where it’s hard to see. As with all warbirds, never mind jets, you must plan ahead for slowing down to circuit speed. I moved the heavy-duty bakelite switch by my left thigh backwards for battery on, instrument needles instantly flicking alive, then pressed and held down the oil primer for three minutes amidst the piercing whine of the oil pump sending up lubricant to the overhead camshafts to prevent metal wear on the cams and rocker fingers, as would happen should these rub together dry during the start. It’s been some time now since I flew a Spitfire for the first time, but I remember it as if it were yesterday. A red warning light you hope never to see come on in flight is all you have for fuel pressure indication. FlightLine Spitfire Mk.IX 1600mm (63") Wingspan - PNP - FLW303P. You are well warned that it’s time to unload, quite unlike the Mustang in which the buffet is but a faint ripple, and the Yak-3 which only lightens on the elevator and barely thrums under you as you reach maximum angle of attack. The Supermarine Spitfire is one of the most popular warbirds in history. 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