Spitfires, Mark I to 24.
Thu Feb 22, 2018 22:03

Hi Tim,

I have one of Tom Neil`s books here called From the Cockpit-Spitfire. Which was once his best seller-he told me in 2010. In this he talks of the Spitfire V and the XII which he considered amongst the best marks he flew. He once told me that he considered the Mark XII very good-which was the first Griffon engined one.

I spoke with Ron Meadows, a late friend of mine who had flown these as well as other marks from the Mark I, V, IX and XIV and others from 1941 to 1945 and he loved the XIV and the IX best.

Men I never met but whose books I read, such as Hubert "Dizzy" Allen and others lamented the later Spitfires after the Five saying they lost the feel when they got bigger and heavier. Later war pilots preferred the Nine.

What was interesting is seeing one of the two recovered Dunkirk period Spitfires recovered and restored back to an exact spec for Stephensons Spitfire I not Ia and how the pilot who first flew it again after the rebuild, preferred this to any other mark of Spitfire he had flown.

I have sat in Spitfires from the Mark V, IX and XIV but never flown in one so cannot say which I would prefer-given a choice, but I flew the Mark I, the Mark Ia and V as well as IX in quite accurate computer Sims and loved the IX better than the others.

I have a soft spot for the I for the Battle of Britain period and was delighted when I won that competition a few years ago and got to fly with a wartime Spitfire V flown by Charley Brown of the Historic Aircraft Collection from Lydd Airfield, which, although not a Mark One, is still a baby Spit and looked similar!

Funny enough, despite being interested since around 1969 or just before, in wartime fighter pilots, model Spitfires etc, I had never seen a Spitfire taxi on the ground or heard one start up until that day. Seen lots at Air shows but always from them flying in from somewhere else. Lovely noise the Merlin made on start up. During the flight alongside it, I could not hear it as the twin engined Piper Chieftain Navajo we were in, drowned out the sound! I was up front and was allowed to fly it for a little while as I was a pilot and the Captain wanted to watch the aerobatics sequence whilst I held her straight and level around 2000 feet over the sea off the whiter cliffs of Beachy Head than the greenish ones I saw over Dover earlier.

Anyhow-enough rambling from me.

So, I say Mark I Spitfires for purists, Spitfire V for the better punch of cannons, Nines for power and fighting the FW190 and I would not want anything like the (twice heavier than the original Spitfire) Mark 22 or 24! Also I dont think that the Mark 18, 22 and 24 should have been named "Spitfire" and should have really got another name instead as they were totally different machines in every way from Wings, engine, weight, canopy., tail fin etc. The other variants later got names like Spiteful, Seafang and so on and these should have been a different name too.
Conversely I always thought the Seafires should have been Sea-Spitfires, because the Hurricane became a Sea Hurricane when it got a hook and other slight mods like folding wings and beefed up under cart!

Best wishes

Paul Davies

  • Re: Tim MarkII missingSmithy, Wed Feb 14 19:31
    Don't want to get too full of myself Paul! II will do :-) Plus Tim Elkington will always be the first Tim round these parts and I just happen to play second fiddle. It's funny if you've spoken to old ... more
    • Spitfires, Mark I to 24. — Paul Davies, Thu Feb 22 22:03
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