Great Design… the Supermarine Spitfire
Thoroughbred lineage: Supermarine S series airframes and the Rolls-Royce R series engines
My grandfather George Garrett was designer of the floats for the Supermarine Spitfire shown below.
Proudly I hope you enjoy the article.
The S Series
Designed by Supermarine ‘s brilliant Chief Designer Reginald J. Mitchell the Type 300 Spitfire was a thoroughbred design whose lineage can be traced back through Mitchell’s ‘S’ series of high-speed racing floatplanes of the late 1920’s that competed for the ‘Coup Schneider’ (‘Schneider Cup’) seaplane contests after the first World War.
These popular sea-plane races attracted aviations elite designers and pilots, spurring phenomenal advances in aerodynamic technology and high speed engine development during the years between the two world wars.
Advanced aerodynamics and airframe engineering were mated to unbridled horse power when Henry Royce developed a special R (R for racing) series of the Rolls Royce Kestrel engine for Mitchell’s new S6B seaplane, and the union secured the Schneider Cup for Britain in 1931. The R series trippled the original output of the Kestrel to over 2000 horse power.Mitchell ‘s Supermarine S6B was one of the major technical achievements in British aviation between the two world wars, and set an absolute speed record of 656 km/h (407.5 mph) on 29 September 1931, alarmingly almost twice the speed of Britain’s fastest service fighter aircraft at that time!
This Supermarine S6B raised the world absolute speed record to 656 km/h (407.5 mph) in Sept 1931.
Supermarine Type 224
The first Supermarine ‘Spitfire’ (the Type 224 design) first flown in 1934 didnt satisfy expectations. After their success with the the high speed S Series of monoplane racers, Mitchells team thought that designing a fighter to Air Ministry specification F.7/30 would be a relatively simple affair. The design was also hampered by the evaporative cooling design of the 660 horse power Rolls Royce Goshawk engine. The fighter contract was eventually awarded to the Gloster SS 37 (Gladiator) biplane because of it’s climb rate advantage over the monoplane designs.
In 1934 the Supermarine 224 design was subsequently cleaned up and succesive specifications sought from the air ministry to cover the refinements, eventually leading to the superb Type 300 that followed.
- Vickers Supermarine Spitfire LF XVIe (crufc.ca)
- Ten Best Fighter Aircraft of All Time (socyberty.com)