Single engine military fighter

History of EE853

Constructed in 1942 by Westland Aircraft Ltd, Yeovil, Somerset, UK, it was shipped to Australia in 1943. It became part of the RAAF’s 79 SQN at Goodenough Island and later Kiriwina Island, PNG, using Squadron code UP-O. From these bases (with a drop tank of extra fuel) the aircraft helped protect our bombers as far as Rabaul, New Britain. On 28 August 1943 it had a landing accident on Kiriwina Island and was transported back to Goodenough Island. Langdon Badger found the aircraft in 1971 and had it shipped to Adelaide in 1973. After four years of restoration at Parafield Airport, Langdon displayed the Spitfire at his home in Adelaide. In October 2001 the aircraft was put on display in the Museum on a long-term loan basis.

Note: The Spitfire was designed by RJ Mitchell, and first flew on 6 March 1936. It was a revolutionary aircraft with an elliptical wing, all metal construction, and housed 8 machine guns.


History of Type

The Spitfire was the first all metal monoplane fighter to come into service with the Royal Air Force. It was designed by RJ Mitchell, who was considered to be a genius aircraft designer. The first prototype flew on 6 March 1936. With a retractable undercarriage, a maximum speed of 330 kts (605 kph) and armed with eight .303 Browning machine guns, it was a revolutionary aircraft. The curved elliptical wing and monocoque all metal construction represented new technology for the makers, and the first aircraft took a long time to produce.

Various engine configurations were used during the lifetime of the aircraft, with the engine power going from 782 kw at the start to 1757 kw for the later models (Mk 24). At the same time the weight of the aircraft rose from 2,395 kg to 4,672 kg, but it was still able to hold its own against most other aircraft. The possible exception was the jet powered German Me262. A total of 22,742 Spitfire aircraft were built – more than any other Allied aircraft – and stayed in service with the RAAF until 1952. There were 24 marks built including the Royal Navy’s Seafire .

Approximately 220 Spitfires, in varying conditions from airworthy to awaiting restoration, are known to exist worldwide.

Spitfire Vcs (as displayed in the Museum) and some Mk VIIIs assisted in the defence of Darwin during World War II. Both RAAF and RAF Spitfires flew in that theatre. Aircraft equipped with the larger ‘C’ wing were usually armed with 4 Browning machine guns and 2 Hispano 20mm cannons or 4 cannons only.


Spitfire Open Days

Ask Museum staff about the next Spitfire Open Day. You can register your interest and later be advised of the next event.


Technical Specifications

spitfire 2Engine:  V12 supercharged Rolls-Royce Merlin 46 (27 litres, 1416 hp)

Maximum take-off weight: 3,071 kg (6,760 lbs)

Wing span: 11.23 m

Length: 9.12 m

Height: 3.86 m

Maximum speed: 330 kt (605 kph)

Range: 760 km (440 nm)

Crew: 1 pilot

Armament: 2 Hispano 20mm cannon (60 RPG), 4 Browning .303 machine guns (140 RPG)