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1

Supermarine S.6B

In the 1920s mihI early 1930s seaplane racers were the fastest aircraft on the planet. Built purely for speed, entrants for the biennial Schneider Trophy contest were at the cutting edge of progress in streamlining, high-performance engines, and high-octane fuels, Britain won the trophy in 1927 and 1929 with sleek Supermarine monoplanes designed by Reginald Mitchell. For the 1931 contest, Supermarine adapted their 1929 winning […]

2

Supermarine Spitfire

This superb fighter, designed by Reginald Mitchell, will always be remembered as the RAF’s outstanding fighter ofWorld War II, and especially for the vital part it played in the Battle of Britain, Powered by the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, the Spitfire combined all the most advanced features of its time; a variable-pitch propeller; all-metal monocoque construction; a retractable undercarriage; and an enclosed cockpit. […]

3

Macchi MC.72

Designed by Mario Castoldi, the MC.72 was the fastest piston-driven seaplane ever built, although it endured many setbacks before proving itself a world-beater. Macchi built this lean and deadly racer as Italy’s entry for the 1931 Schneider Trophy contest. It was powered by a supercharged Fiat AS.6 engine, comprising two lightweight 12-cylinder Fiat AS.5s combined in tandem on a common […]

4

Curtiss CR-3

Cheated for the 1923 Schneider Trophy contest, the Curtiss CR-3 proved itself the fastest seaplane racer of its day. In the early 1920s American Glenn Curtiss had developed sleek landplane racers, powered by his outstanding CD-12 in-line engine. The US Navy converted two of these beauties into floatplanes, which were entered as CR-3s for the Schneider race, held that year in England, […]

5

Messerschmitt Bf 109

Designed by Willy Messcrschmitt. the Bf 109 fighter was the greal adversary of the Hurricane and Spitfire during the Battle of Britain. When it first flew, in September 1935, the lightweight Bf 109 was probably the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft, made entirely of metal, with a retractable undercarriage and an enclosed cockpit. Blooded with the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War. […]

6

Hawker Hurricane

The doughty Hawker Hurricane single-seat fighter is famous for destroying more enemy aircraft than any other Allied fighter during; World War II. Designed by Sydney Camm, it made its maiden flight in November 1935. When the Hurricane entered service in December 1937, it was the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) first monoplane fighter and its first […]

7

Sopwith Tabloid

First built in 1913 when all speed records were held by monoplanes, the Sopwith Aviation Company’s triumphant Tabloid racer proved that a biplane could be first as well as robust. Originally a two-seat landplane powered by an 80-hp Gnome engine, the Tabloid’s performance proved so promising that Tom Sopwith decided to enter it for the 1914 Schneider Trophy seaplane race. However, the necessary […]

8

Deperdussin Seaplane Racer

Founded in 1910, French businessman Armand Deperdussin’s company was famed for its racing monoplanes, which were then the fastest aeroplanes in the world. The key to their success was the use of the monococque (“single shell”) method for buildingu light yet strong fuselage. Originally devised by Swedish engineer Ruchonnet, the technique was adopted by Deperdussin’s designer, Louis Béchereau, in 1911. Layers of  plywood […]

9

Focke-Wulf Fw 190

Designed by Kurt Tank, the Fw 190 is considered Germany’s best single-seat fighter of World War II. When the first production model, the Fw 109A-1, entered Luftwaffe service in mid-1941, it took Allied intelligence completely by surprise because its air-cooled BMW radial engine gave il the appearance of an American fighter rather than a German one. Disturbingly for the RAF, the Fw […]

10

Gloster-Whittle E.28/39

The Gloster-Whittle E.28/39 was the first jet aeroplane to fly in Britain. II was built to test the viability of the turbojet engine invented by Flight Lieutenant Frank Whittle. Apart from its powerplant the aircrafl, designed by George Carter of Gloster Aircraft, was thoroughly conventional. It was a compact all-metal single-seater with a monococque fuselage, a low wing, and a short, retractable tricycle […]