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Category Aviation Books, Subcategory Military Magazin, ISBN/Box 9781909786080, Series Icons 14, Publisher Key Publishing, Format a4, No. Pages 130, Version sb, Language English
The Spitfire is undoubtedly the most famous British aircraft of all time. The mere mention of the name is enough to summon up vivid mental images of aerial combat, and tumultuous battles high above the puff y clouds rolling across southern England. Of course for most people these images are purely imaginary as so few survivors have first-hand experience of the Battle of Britain. But the Spitfire’s almost legendary status has endured and more than seventy years after its finest hour, it is still regarded as the classical ultimate expression of fighter aircraft design. Precisely why the Spitfire has earned this status isn’t too difficult to establish, and it would be fair to say that the aircraft was in many respects no more advanced than other contemporary designs. The Spitfire was however, a shining example of being in the right place at the right time. It performed well, it could be manufactured relatively easily, and it could be made available to the Royal Air Force at the very time when it was needed so badly. It gave the RAF a fighter that was almost perfect in every respect, and it enabled the brave young men of Fighter Command to take on the Luftwaffe with confidence.
Such was the Spitfire’s success that it endured throughout the years of World War Two and was indeed the only aircraft to remain in continued production throughout the war. Ultimately, more than 20,000 examples were manufactured, and the Spitfire became much more than a fighter, embracing other important roles such as ground attack and reconnaissance. Undoubtedly it was a remarkable aircraft, embracing an aerodynamic and structural design that was certainly bold at that time. With its all-important Merlin engine it was light, fast, tough and manoeuvrable, and just as importantly it was versatile. But above all else it was perhaps a rather more prosaic attribute that endowed such an enviable reputation on the Spitfire – it looked good.
In this edition of the Aeroplane Illustrated series we take a look at the immortal Spitfire. Naturally, with more than 20,000 examples to choose from, it is impossible to explore the Spitfire in great detail, as this would probably require a library of books rather than just one modest publication. We therefore take a more comprehensive look at the aircraft, with a narrative that traces the story of the Spitfire from its very beginnings in the days of the Schneider Trophy air races, right through to the creation of the last examples of the Spitfire design. Photographically, we follow the same story, but with a more detailed look at the Spitfire in its many forms as the aircraft developed through the wartime years and beyond. We hope that together, these two accounts will provide an interesting and exciting account of a truly magnificent machine, an aircraft that can truly claim to have changed the course of human history.
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