Today In Aviation History – March 5, 1936 – First Flight – Supermarine Spitfire

aviation history

 March 5, 1936.  First flight of the Supermarine Spitfire.

The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries during and after the Second World War. The Spitfire was built in many variants, using several wing configurations, and was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter to be in continuous production throughout the war. The Spitfire continues to be a popular aircraft, with approximately 50 Spitfires being airworthy, while many more are static exhibits in aviation museums all over the world.

The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works (which operated as a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong from 1928). In accordance with its role as an interceptor, Mitchell designed the Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing to have the thinnest possible cross-section; this thin wing enabled the Spitfire to have a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane. Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death from cancer in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith took over as chief designer, overseeing the development of the Spitfire through its multitude of variants.

During the Battle of Britain (July–October 1940), the Spitfire was perceived by the public to be the RAF fighter, though the more numerous Hawker Hurricane shouldered a greater proportion of the burden against the Luftwaffe. However, because of its higher performance, Spitfire units had a lower attrition rate and a higher victory-to-loss ratio than those flying Hurricanes.(details from Wikipedia)

The Spitfire above is a Mk XVI owned and flown by Vintage Wings of Canada in Gatineau, Quebec.

The air show tour continues

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The calendar marches on and mid-August finds 3 more air shows on my to-do list.  Two I’m working and one is just to watch.

First on this list is the Waterloo Air Show that takes place August 20-21 at the Region of Waterloo International Airport outside of Toronto.  I’m working airside security at this one so there won’t be many photo opportunities but I’ll do my best to grab a few shots of what looks to be a fantastic group of performers and static displays including the Snowbirds and the CF-18 demonstration team.

Heavy Metal Jet Team Oshkosh 2011

The end of the month marks the unofficial end of Summer and in Toronto that means two things.  The end of the CNE and the Canadian International Air Show, better known as the CNE Air Show.  This will be my second year working in Boss Control on the Ontario Place island.  Absolute best seat in the house to see a fast paced over-water show from the likes of perennial favourites the Snowbirds to the V22 Osprey making its first appearance and the Heavy Metal Jet Team who put on a great show at Oshkosh.  Dates for this show are September 3rd, 4th and 5th.

September 16th marks probably what will be my last road trip of the year to watch airplanes.  Vintage Wings of Canada and the EAA Canada chapters come together for Wings over Gatineau, a one day event which promises to see the skies full of birds- military, private, old and new.  I’m a member of both groups but this one is strictly for pleasure and picture taking.  Gatineau is located just across the Quebec border from Ottawa.

The Canadian air show calendar might be more compressed than the US but there’s lots to see in that time.