The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II.
Speedy, agile and equipped with plenty of firepowers, the aircraft played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain, duking it out with the Luftwaffe and earning its status as a symbol of the country’s spirited airborne resistance.
There’s no argument that the Supermarine Spitfire is one, if not the most iconic plane of World War II. It is loved both by veterans and enthusiasts alike. But how much do you know about this legendary fighter?
Here are fascinating facts about the iconic plane that saved the Allies during the Battle of Britain.
1) The name Spitfire was taken from an old English word meaning someone of a strong or fiery character. The Spitfire’s name is often assumed to derive from its ferocious firing capabilities. But it likely owes just as much to Sir Robert McLean’s pet name for his young daughter, Ann, who he called “the little spitfire”. The names Snipe and Shrew were also considered for the plane.
2) 20,351 Spitfires were built in total (Of these, 238 survive today across the globe, with 111 in the UK. Fifty-four of the surviving Spitfires are said to be airworthy, including 30 of those in the UK.)
3) It was one of the first planes to feature retractable landing gear
4) The plane weighed almost 2,400 kilograms and had a top speed of 582 kph, although could dive at faster speeds. It was able to climb to a height of almost 7,000 metres in just over 9 minutes.
5) Each Spitfire cost £12,604 to build in 1939
6) The Spitfire featured innovative semi-elliptical wings
7) The Spitfire has featured in many war films, including Battle of Britain, Malta Storyand Reach for the Sky. Today, there are almost 50 Spitfires left around the world which can still be flown.