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.
Its uniqueness lay in the elliptical wing. This deftly solved the problem of housing eight machine guns and a retracted undercarriage, while providing enough strength to withstand high-stress manoeuvres. There were a few drawbacks. The novel wing construction meant that the aircraft was relatively difficult to manufacture and early versions of the engine often cut out going into a dive.
But the Spitfire was a joy for an experienced pilot to fly, responsive to the slightest touch of the controls. Its blend of sleek elegance and fighting efficiency was summed tip by RAF pilot Adolf “Sailor” Malan: “The Spitfire.” he said, “had style and was obviouslv a killer.”
The overall quality of t he design was proved by the aircraft’s ability to hoId its own throughout the war in a string of different versions tailored to specialist roles and powered by progressively upgraded engines.