THANKS for showing the powerful image of the Spitfire fighter aircraft in The Bugle (January 23 edition).
The article is correct in saying that the sound of the 24 litre Rolls Royce Merlin engine inspired all who heard it during the war years, as it does to this day.
The much later aircraft in the picture, probably a Mk XIV, is fitted with the 36 litre Griffon engine which increased power to 2,035 hp. The five-bladed propeller was introduced to take full advantage of this. The prototype Spitfire, with a two-bladed propeller, had 990 hp!
The aircraft was capable of 446 mph in level flight at 43,000 feet, almost as fast as our early jets and, at the time, no other aircraft, friend or foe, could equal it in terms of speed, agility or rate of climb.
A later Mk XIX was taken to 51,550 feet – almost 20,000 feet above our cruising altitude to Lanzarote – and almost broke the sound barrier in a dive.
This speed record for propeller aircraft remains to this day.
I'm not often lost for words but I find it impossible to describe what the Spitfire means to my generation. It is a thing of extraordinary beauty and yet a deadly weapon at the same time.
Thank you, Bugle,
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