View Full Version : it's about time it happened

16th Sep 2005, 02:21
After 65 years, Spitfire inventor is finally honoured (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4251182.stm)

16th Sep 2005, 09:12
I thought that there was already a statue in Stoke on Trent - his birthplace

Gingerbread Man
16th Sep 2005, 10:10
Theres a fair amount of stuff in Southampton to tell you who he was as well.

Standard Noise
16th Sep 2005, 10:21
I think it's a shame that there's going to be a Spitfire theme park built, in Florida. Good idea, just a bit far to take the kids for a day trip. I think that Sidney Franks chap is involved with it.

16th Sep 2005, 10:31
I fly near to this most days;


Spitfire Island is next to the factory where Spitfires were built, now the Jaguar Factory, at Castle Bromwich just off Junction 5 of the M6. The sculpture on the island celebrates the Spitfire and is called "Sentinel Spitfire". It makes little attempt to mimic the aerodynamic shape of a Spitfire, the Spitfires being aluminium cut-outs, but captures the essence of the plane - with a tryptych of Spitfires fanning out into the sky. The steel support structure rises up from the ground to the soaring planes above; a perfect way of illustrating how this area was the place where 11,989 Spitfires were built and rose up from the ground to defend the country from fascism. The sculpture was designed by J.R.R. Tolkien’s great grandson Tim Tolkien; who is now attempting to get an Ent installed in another area of Birmingham.

"The Castle Bromwich Aerodrome Factory (now home of Jaguar Cars in Birmingham) was built in 1940 to produce planes for the war effort; most significant of these was the Spitfire (12,000 spitfires were manufactured at this plant between 1940 and 1945). Over 37,000 test flights were made from the adjacent Castle Bromwich Aerodrome, the site now wholly taken up by CastleVale estate. The Chief Test Pilot throughout this period was Alex Henshaw MBE. ‘The Castle Bromwich Aeroplane Factory became the anvil on which the sword of freedom was forged.’"


Link (http://www.spitfire-sculpture.co.uk/spit1.htm)Link2 (http://www.geograph.co.uk/photo/47346)

Onan the Clumsy
16th Sep 2005, 12:08
It makes little attempt to mimic the aerodynamic shape of a Spitfire Must have the "A" wing on it...no cannons.

Conan the Librarian
16th Sep 2005, 15:58
I applied to go to Hanley High School (Bucknall, Stoke On Trent) after my 11 plus, as it was where Mitchell was taught.

Above the hall hung a wooden two bladed prop from I believe, one of the early pre prod Spitfires and I also remember a cut away Merlin in a glass case that was nearby. Hated the place though...

It is now named the Mitchell Memorial School. Think I might even have a pic or two somewhere.


16th Sep 2005, 17:44
I fly near to this most days;
Any chance you can lob a bomb at it next time.....that's a hideous attempt at memorialising the most beautiful aircraft ever built! :*

Anyway, who needs a memorial to Mitchell? The fact that we're still British and free (well, OK, as free as Blair & Co. will allow) is the best memorial.

surely not
19th Sep 2005, 10:02
Nah the Mosquito was the most beautiful aircraft ever built :ok:

19th Sep 2005, 10:32
There is a lovely sculpture of a Spitfire on the roundabout leading to Southampton airport. The irony of it all is that the local Mercedes garage paid a large slice of the installation costs.

Edited to add this:http://www.moody.co.uk/news/spitfire2.jpg

19th Sep 2005, 11:02
An appropriate honour for a natural engineering genius and his finest creation.

I'd put Mitchell in a rare class of engineers who can see, feel, or otherwise sense if a design is right (and are regularly backed up when the calcs are done) - a class of engineers which includes but is not limited to Marc and Isambard K Brunel, Kurt Tank, Ben Lexcen, Nathaniel Herreshoff as well as others through history, both known and unknown.

Seems to me that when that 'right' design is produced, whether Spitfire aircraft or Thonet chair, even those of us with lesser engineering faculties can sense the same 'rightness', even if we couldn't produce it.


RJM (no relation!)

19th Sep 2005, 11:10
Victory was made possible by the Spitfire Although the Spitfire was a very important factor, this does unjustice to the Hurricane.

In reality, the Hurricanes shot down more planes, even for their numbers, than the Spitfires did. It should also be taken into consideration which units were on which missions and engaged which planes mostly. It took both of them to win the Battle of Brittain. They were a great team together.

19th Sep 2005, 11:56
" Although the Spitfire was a very important factor, this does unjustice to the Hurricane."

So very true. Although a common misconception, I would not have expected to see it on here.

Onan the Clumsy
19th Sep 2005, 12:06
I think the Gannet is the world's most beautiful aircraft


19th Sep 2005, 12:13
I agree that far too many references to the B of B overlook the Hurricane, but to be fair to the BBC report, it did also say:-"The aircraft, along with the Hurricane, was vital in defeating the German Luftwaffe in the skies over southern England during the war."

Perhaps, on this occasion, we can forgive R J Mitchell's son for being just a tad biased, if not entirely factually correct.

19th Sep 2005, 12:48
It's a known fact that Luftwaffe pilots preferred to say that they were shot down by a Spitfire rather than a fabric and wood plane like the Hurricane ;)

19th Sep 2005, 17:11
Although the Spitfire was a very important factor, this does unjustice to the Hurricane.
But answer this.....if you had a choice of 100% Spitfires or 100% Hurricanes (i.e. were only allowed one type, not any mixing) then which would you pick to give you the best chance of winning The Battle of Britain?

Hmmmm? :rolleyes:

20th Sep 2005, 03:09
Kaos - I imagine the chagrin was worse for the crew of the state of the art battleship Bismarck, disposing of the Hood in a few salvoes then being disabled by a torpedo dropped from a creaking old biplane like the Fairey Swordfish!

11th Nov 2005, 11:14
I recently noticed that there is a blue plaque (http://www.rjmitchell-spitfire.co.uk/newsandevents/index.asp?sectionID=7) on the wall of Mitchell's old house in Southampton. Not that I knew it was his house till I saw the plaque.

Send Clowns
11th Nov 2005, 11:22
It is correct to say that Hurricanes shot down more planes than any other type, and being easier to build in quantity made a great contribution. However Hurricanes tended to be sent against the bomber formations; it was the ability of the Spitfire to take on the bf109 and the FW190 on their own terms that allowed the Hurricanes free reign, and the Battle of Britain to be won.

Of course the designer of the Hurricane also desgned the aircraft that shot down the most enemy aircraft in WWI, so deserves double honour!

Biggles Flies Undone
11th Nov 2005, 11:26
FW190 wasn't around for the Battle of Britain ;)

11th Nov 2005, 11:29
SC not that old myth again. That was the theory but, as with most theories, didn't stand the test of time. The reality of the situation was that the RAF pilots, regardless of their mount, took an initial potshot at the bombers and then fought off the fighter(s) on their tail.

Dak Mechanic
11th Nov 2005, 11:29
That Spitfire "thingy" by Castle Brom (a site I'm familiar with as a Jaguar Engineer) needs to be moved apparently due to road widening plans.. Going to cost about £250k to shift it to the side of the road.


11th Nov 2005, 13:15
The wing on the Spit has always looked to me as if it is on "back-to-front", and yet, it "looks okay" and certainly seems to have worked. Any ideas as to why this shape - exclusive to the Spit? - was so good?

Send Clowns
11th Nov 2005, 13:25

Oops, you are correct. I should have broadened the scope to "the European air war". Then we can add in some fine later Hawker designs too.


That analysis is based partly on the opinion of pilots of the time. There certainly were battles that went as you say, but there were also plenty of times that the Spitfires (which were typically directed initially towards what the controllers thought to be fighter formations, so didn't have the chance to "take a pot shot at bombers") kept most of the 109s busy, so they could not go after the outclassed Hurricanes. Hurricanes alone would not have stood up to the assault.

11th Nov 2005, 13:28
Says something for teamwork then. My dad flew both but never did say which he prefered.

Send Clowns
11th Nov 2005, 13:31

The ellipse is the perfect shape to minimise induced drag. With this distorted ellipse I am not sure why the lesser curve on the leading edge is best, although the sweep forward of the chord line might help. It did after all have a very high Mcrit (the mach number at which some of the airflow reaches the speed of sound, developing the first shock wave and disturbing the aerodynamics) of about 0.9. That might help reduce drag. Anyone know?


Can't fight efficiently without the whole team, each doing the job. We can't all be doing the most glamorous bit, or we'd never get there.

Gordon Fraser
11th Nov 2005, 13:52
A fact that is often overlooked in the Spitfire/Hurricane controversy is the, although the two aircraft were contempories, powered by the same engine, they belonged to two different generations of fighters. The Hurricane evolved from a long line of biplanes - Fury, Osprey, Nimrod and Demon. It was basically a single wing version of a biplane. as is shown by its limited development throught the war. The Spitfire, on the other hand was a brand new design, allowing for some input from the Supermarine Schneider Trophy winners, utilising moncoque construction. The Spitfires used in the Battle of Britain were mainly Mk1 with some Mk2s. and were the start of a glorious line of superlative aircraft that resulted in well over 20 Mks - plus the Seafire and Spiteful.

The point that I am trying to make is that it is difficult to treat the two aircraft as equals. Each had their strong points - the Hurricane was the more robust and easier to repair - the Spitfire was faster and hardy to hit.

The Hurricane and Spitfire were unequal partners but were a formidable twosome and they should be regarded in history as such