The future according to at least one man flies with the distant past.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Sept. 7, 2012
A later Spitfire variant (Mk IX shown) was first flown on February 26th, 1942. It had a top speed of 409 mph at 28,000 feet, an increase of 40 miles per hour over the V I believe, could climb at 4,000 feet per minute and had a service ceiling of 43,000 feet, almost 7,000 ft. above its predecessor. It was the answer to Germany’s latest Fw 190 fighter in 1942.
Let’s talk about the iconic “Spitfire”
According to online reports, the Spitfire was the brainchild of a Reginald Mitchell, an aeronautical genius. While the first prototype built back in 1934 was a disaster thanks to some external design mandates, the young designer went his own way with a slimmed down fuselage, thinner elliptical wing, retractable front gear, a smaller span, an enclosed cockpit with a plastic bubble, an onboard O2 supply and probably most important, a Rolls-Royce Merlin 27L V12 engine making it a true fighter the likes had not been seen in the sky before.
In March of 1936 the new plane took off and the first Spitfire was born.
The Spitfire with the distinctive roar of her 27L V12 was the envy and savior of Britain saving the country and its people facing impossible odds.
Battle of Britain – July through October 1940
The Spitfire which made up far less than half the British air assets while standing up against the NAZI onslaught was a beautiful design that provided speed, maneuverability and the ability to put bullets (and cannon for the few so equipped) on target and stemmed the tide of the NAZI war machine that had ran over most of Europe in less than a year.
When the Battle of Britain began on July 10, 1940, the British Hurricane bore the brunt of the fighting and things could not have looked bleaker.
Germany’s chief of the German air forces Hermann Goering, believed the Royal Air Force (RAF) could be destroyed in days. Fortunately he underestimated the island nation’s ability to predict where the attacks were heading (radar and coastal patrols) and the island nation’s aircraft production capabilities.
Out planed by over 4:1, the RAF Spitfire pilots had two aces up their sleeve. That being they were defending their homeland and the fact the Spitfires were superior to the vaunted ME109s.
During the Battle of Britain the Luftwaffe lost 1,887 planes whereas the RAF lost 1,547. In the end, Britain won the battle of the skies and was the first fighting force to not just hold but back the NAZI’s blitzkrieg “lightning war” but push it back with a determination not thought possible given the country’s precarious and desperate situation.
Jetman and the Spitfire
As part of a celebration of Aviation, Yves "Jetman" Rossy took to the skies with fellow "Breitling Flyer" pilot, Nigel Lamb in the renowned Spitfire MH434. In this unique close-formation flight, the British iconic aircraft offered a stark contrast to the futuristic Jetwing, the cutting edge of Swiss innovation.
The Mk IXB Spitfire, operated by 'Old Flying Machine Company' and normally based in Duxford, (UK) was invited by Toni Kupfer, former president of Bex Aeroclub to display at the airfield's annual 'fly-in' where the aircraft has been a favorite participant since its first appearance in 1976.
Bex aerodrome, near Geneva is also the home base of the pioneering aviator Yves Rossy and serves as a perfect development area for his famous Jetman project.
"To take this occasion to fly in formation with this wonderful machine is an incredible experience. We were very fortunate to have the assistance of the TBM Avenger piloted by Laurent Calame, to act as a camera-ship and I would really like to thank everyone involved, at Bex, OFMC (Old Flying Machine Company) and Breitling to help make this happen.
Since my technology is getting more and more reliable I am very confident about these types of flights. I can relax and enjoy such a fantastic experience. Under my wing I am free, I have the perfect view!"
For Rossy, this is the latest in the series of formation flights with older prop planes from a bygone era.