The Spitfire Legend
There is a good reason the Spitfire is legendary. The classic Schneider Cup seaplane racers
S.4, S.5, and S.6, the passionate creations of Sir Reginald Mitchell and Rolls-Royce, won the
most prestigious air races in history. Mitchell's designs were beautiful combinations of form and
fiction; their sleek lines and graceful curves were nothing short of works of art. Their power
and speed put England at the forefront of aircraft technology in pre-war Europe.
After the S.6 won the Schneider cup permanently, Mitchell and his team set out to create a
land-based fighter that would harness the speed and power of his seaplanes, adding the
maneuverability and battleworthiness needed by the RAF. From the experiences of his seaplane
racers, his partnership with Rolls-Royce, and what must have been pure aesthetic inspiration,
was born the Spitfire. Suffering from cancer even as the first Spitfire flew, all of Mitchell's
remaining energy and life force went into the creation of his greatest masterpiece. Mitchell
would not live to see his Spitfire change the world.
The first models were barely in service when world events called upon the Spitfire to defend
its homeland and alter the course of world history. The Spitfire's elliptical wings soared
over England, and along with its stablemate the Hurricane, Spitfires charged valiantly into
the skies winning what would be known as the Battle of Britain. Its beauty, maneuverability,
speed, and finesse were unparalleled, and it was revered by all who were lucky enough to fly
it. Far more than just a great fighting aircraft, it possessed something more than the sum of
its parts...perhaps it was Mitchell's spirit, perhaps the hopes and spirit of an entire
nation...the Spitfire had character. That character and the Spit's
unmistakable shape became the icon for Britain's 'finest hour' for all time.
Through all of World War II and several years afterward, the Spitfire proved itself in combat
as well as endearing itself to every man, woman and child who ever laid eyes on it. Not
suprisingly, when the Spitfire was phased out of military service it became the prized
possession for pilots around the globe. Air Marshals, test pilots, captains of industry, movie
stars, and aircraft enthusiasts of all ages have fallen hopelessly under its spell for
sixty-five years. More than any other aircraft in existence, the sight or sound of a Spitfire
will stop any pilot in their tracks, their eyes thrust into the sky to see its shape, their
ears yearning to feel the thunder of twelve cylinders at full song, their spirits transported
back to the skies over Europe when the fate of the world hung in the balance.
Legendary - there's a good reason.