|STANDARD DATA: (Spitfire 1) Seats 1. Gross wt.5,332. Fuel capacity 102. Engine Rolls-Royce Merlin III.
PERFORMANCE: Top mph 367. Initial climb rate 3,000. Range 500. Ceiling 40,000.
Six years of war proved the basic Spitfire design to be highly successful. In actuality, the first Spitfire was outfitted with a 600-hp Goshawk engine and fixed landing gear. The name was later transferred to the more familiar aircraft that was the product of high-speed design features borrowed from three successive Schneider Cup Trophy Contest winners that set three world speed records. Powered by one of the earliest Merlin engines turning a fixed-pitch prop, the prototype classed itself as the fastest military plane of its day.
The Spitfire I saw the early Merlin replaced by a Merlin III and the two-blade wooden prop exchanged for a three blade controllable-pitch metal prop. Subsequent Spitfires housed Merlin XII, 32, 45, 46, 47, 61- 66, 70, 71, 77, Griffon III, IV, and 65 engines. Standard wings were elliptical in design; however, some were fitted with shorter square-tipped or pointed wings. Some later versions were equipped with a bubble-type rearview canopy.