It could be that the Spitfire just had more sex appeal than the Hawker Hurricane. For some reason, itʼs remembered as the hero of the Battle of Britain, the critical showdown between England and the Luftwaffe in WWII, even though the Hurricane did more of the work. The Spitfire, though, thanks to a thinner wing had greater speed and maintained a lower loss ratio. And the wingʼs the thing thatʼs most recognizable about this nimble, long-lived fighter. Its elliptical shape not only gave it an elegant, almost birdlike form, it also made possible a thinner cross-section while still accommodating the fully retracted gear and the guns. Lack of fuel injection initially plagued the fighter in steep, high-speed dives. Negative g-force would draw the fuel away from the conventional carburetor, so that pilots actually had to go into a partial roll before making a dive. This was corrected in 1942 with a Bendix carburetor that allowed fuel flow at any altitude. The Spitfireʼs flying characteristics made it a candidate for early tests on aircraft approaching the speed of sound. An MK XI version of the fighter reached a speed of 606 mph (Mach .891) as early as 1943. More than 20,000 Spitfires were built and the intrepid Messerschmitt-killer served the length of the long, brutal air war.
The fine specimen you see here was built at the famous Castle Bromwich factory, the largest in Britain during the war, where as many as 50 Spitfires were turned out in a week. Marion is named for the girlfriend of this MK-VBʼs RCAF pilot. G.B. “Scotty” Murray and Marion locked horns with German Focke-Wulf Fw 190s over France and Holland in 1942. The aircraft was found abandoned on a farm in Cromwell and acquired by Australians Peter Croser and Michael Aitchison, who started restoration in 1977. Most of the restoration, however, was done by Avspecs and not completed until 2008. One of only seven MK-Vs flying today, our proud maid Marion won Best Fighter at the 2008 EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
|Wing Span||36' 10"|
|Max Speed||369 mph|
|Gross Weight||6,417 lbs|
|Power Plant||Rolls-Royce Merlin 45 V-12 piston engine|
2 x 20mm Hispano Mk II cannon
4 x 0.303 cal (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns