|Spitfire AB910, built in 1941, she is painted in the colors of the Polish 303 Squadron; the Donald Duck symbol is the personal logo of Squadron Leader Jan Zumbach.|
(Photo by Adrian Pingstone - Source)
Okay, my archivist, she's a cat. But she works cheap and has a pleasant disposition...
Anyhoo, it's been a while. While thinking about what to base the Flyby on, I saw a picture of a Spitfire. The Spit is my favorite aircraft, bar none. For it's aesthetics and it's role in history. While the Spitfire does get most of the glory, we shouldn't forget the Hurricane. Not as glamorous but that bird downed a lot of Jerry aircraft in its time. I have grown to love this bird as well. Without further ado...
Here's a little bit of what I like to call "A Few of My Favorite Things"
|Hurricane IIC at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center|
There are approximately 55 Spitfires and a few Seafires in airworthy condition worldwide, although many air museums have examples on static display, for example, Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry has paired a static Spitfire with a static Ju 87 R-2/Trop. Stuka dive bomber.As for the Hurricane...
The oldest surviving Spitfire is a Mark 1, serial number K9942; it is preserved at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford in Shropshire. This aircraft was the 155th built and first flew in April 1939. It flew operationally with No. 72 Squadron RAF until June 1940, when it was damaged in a wheels-up landing. After repair, it was used for training until August 1944, when it became one of several Battle of Britain aircraft veterans that were allocated to the Air Historical Branch for future museum preservation.
What may be the most originally restored Spitfire in the world is maintained in airworthy condition at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida. Over a six-year period in the 1990s, this aircraft was slowly restored by Personal Plane Services in England using almost 90% of its original aircraft skins. Owner Kermit Weeks insisted that the aircraft be restored to original condition as closely as possible. Machine guns, cannon, gun sight and original working radios are all installed.
Two MK 1 Supermarine Spitfires originally restored remain in a flying condition at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, in Cambridgeshire, England. Both restored by American billionaire Thomas Kaplan, one has been donated to the Imperial War Museum and the second was auctioned in July 2015 at Christie's, London. Being only one of four flying MK 1 Spitfires in the world, the aircraft fetched a record £3.1 million at auction on 9 July, beating the previous record for a Spitfire of £1.7 million set in 2009. W
Of more than 14,583 Hurricanes that were built, only 12 (including three Sea Hurricanes) survive in airworthy condition worldwide, although other non-flying examples survive in various air museums. (List of surviving Hurricanes.) WNow as an American, not to mention a retired Air Force MSgt, I am often chastised by my fellow Yanks as to my placing of the Spitfire higher in my affections than the next aircraft on my list, the P-51 Mustang. To be sure, the Mustang is an awesome aircraft, the sound of that engine sends a shiver up my spine every time I hear it. 'Tis a lovely bird indeed.
There are a number of Mustangs still around, here's a list. That list has airworthy and static examples of this magnificent warbird. (Over 200 I believe.)
|A beautiful aircraft, deadly with long legs. Berlin and back, broke the Luftwaffe's back.|
What's that? You want to hear that engine sound? Well, sure, why not?
Want to know something, listen to the engine sound in this next video, yup Spitfires and Mustangs were cousins of a sort.
Both aircraft were powered by variants of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine. (The P-51D used a Packard V-1650 which was a version of the Merlin built under license in the U.S.) As were a number of other WWII aircraft, to include the mighty Lancaster and another favorite of mine, the Mosquito.
|"Avro Lancaster B I PA474" by Kogo - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Commons (Source)|
Sounds familiar doesn't it?
Now the the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito (or Mossie as her crews dubbed her) was fast and could reach high altitudes in her photo-reconnaissance versions. The Jerries couldn't catch a high flying photo-recon Mossie. She was also called "The Wooden Wonder" being built nearly entirely of wood (except for the engines and such, of course).
Another of the Sarge's favorites.
|"De Havilland Mosquito 11" by Rudolph89 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons (Source)|
Sadly there aren't that many Mossies left.
There are approximately 30 non-flying Mosquitos around the world with two airworthy examples. The largest collection of Mosquitos is at the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre in the United Kingdom, which owns three aircraft, including the first prototype, W4050, possibly the only initial prototype of a Second World War aircraft design still in existence in the 21st century. WHere's one of the still flying ones...
I suppose I should have mentioned that the Hurricane was also powered by a Merlin engine.
Like he's just come back from beating up the Huns over Dunkirk!
Mossies and Lancs and Spits and Hurricanes! Oh My!
Of course, I have other favorites than these. I guess you could say, "These are my favorite aircraft which are powered by Merlin engine variants." Not a bad criteria to go by is it?
Next time I'll take a look at some of my Axis favorites, or maybe World War I favorites, or Naval Air favorites, or, or, you just might get a post on my favorite modern birds.
For now I'll leave you with this...
One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong...
|Spitfire Mk IX PL344, Spitfire Mk IIa P7350, Hurricane Mk I R4118, Bf 109 G-4 (D-FWME). Photo by tataquax (Source)|
Sarge Note: This guy has a lot of great aviation photos, check him out on Flickr.