The Spitfire

The Supermarine Spitfire, often referred to as simply ‘Spitfire’, is a British fighter plane which gave the British dominance in the air in the Battle of Britain during World War 2. First produced in 1936 by manufacturer Supermarine, a handful of Spitfires have survived to still be airworthy well into the 21st century.

The man who’s been writing about Spitfires for FlyPast since 1981

As the magazine celebrates its 40th birthday, we chat to Peter Arnold about how he came to be its Spitfire expert, the feature on his Seafire F.46 restoration from 1982… and his favourite ever cover

Chasing Chuck Yeager and tea-pouring barrel rolls!

As if escaping from a German prisoner of war camp wasn't enough, Bob Hoover took things to the next level when he befriended none other than record-setting test pilot Chuck Yeager. So did his life ever get less exciting...?

The US pilot who escaped a German prison… then fled the country in the same plane that had shot him down!

He taught himself aerobatics and used his knowledge as a pilot to escape a prisoner of war camp: was there anything this American pilot couldn’t do?

Historic aviation off and on screen

Andy Saunders didn't have much time for girlfriends as a young man; historic aviation was (and still is) a huge part of his life...

Spitfire Touches Down in Microsoft Flight Simulator

FlyingIron Simulations has announced the Spitfire L.F Mk IXc is now available for Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Spitfire Vs. Hurricane

They went down in history as two of the most innovative and loved British aeroplanes of World War II. But how do they compare to one another?

The complete evolution of the Spitfire

Charting the development and evolution of Britain’s greatest fighter.

Stories of the Spitfire heroes

Among the many tales of heroism during the war, historic aviation experts Tony Hoskins and Hugh Hunt recall one in particular – and Tony’s arduous journey to recover one pilot’s wartime Spitfire for the ultimate restoration project.

What made the Spitfire better than the Bf-109?

With nearly half its weight coming from the Merlin engine, the Spitfire’s light body gave it speed and manoeuvrability – two qualities that helped it defeat its Messerschmitt rival.

The World’s Greatest Spitfire collection, part 2

Covid has temporarily scuppered organised tours of the Heritage Hangar at Biggin Hill, so we went to have a mooch ourselves to give you a feel for it. Here’s the second part of our guided tour…

Spitfire Plane Facts, News and Restorations

This page is the only place you need for everything Spitfire related; from interesting historical facts to the latest news on restoration projects, Spitfire appearances and more! For example, did you know that early models of the Spitfire had issues with their Browning machine guns freezing at higher altitudes, a problem that was not addressed until 1938 when a heating system was added to the gun bays.

No military plane has become such a renowned symbol of British Airforce superiority both in terms of its engineering prowess and illustrious military record. The Spitfire has become one of the most popular military aircraft amongst restorers, enthusiasts and airshow attendees alike and for the British represents a symbol of victory. Powered by two Rolls Royce Merlin or Griffon engines, the Spitfire was fast with later variants hitting a top speed of 454mph, making it a formidable and agile foe when it came to short range dog fights giving the RAF the slightest of advantages in critical battles of WW2.

Despite being outnumbered by the Hurricane during the battle of Britain, The Spitfire suffered fewer overall losses and had a higher victory to loss ratio. This, in part, is what lead many of the British to believe that the Spitfire was the reason the Battle of Britain was won. In reality the combination of the two planes and their skilful pilots is what lead the British to victory in the skies.

Of all the legendary fighter, bomber and transport military aircraft from this period, the Spitfire is the one that has captured the hearts and minds of countless enthusiasts and lead to a myriad of restoration projects, airshows and museum pieces.

Take a look at our Spitfire related articles below to find out more about this legendary Warbird aircraft. Discover more articles on vintage aircraft restorations.

The future of the Spitfire

The Spitfire has been around since 1936 and whilst there are still a few airworthy examples well into the 21st Century, they have not been used during any military engagements since 1961 and production stopped in 1948. The future of the Spitfire then is in the hands of restoration projects and museums around the world. Whilst a few fine examples will doubtlessly continue to be airworthy for years to come, they have long been relegated to the history books.

Other military aircraft categories

Looking for military aircraft news or updates from your favourite military aircraft airshows? Or information on other military fighter aircraft?

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