On this day in March 1936 one of the most iconic World War 2 era fighter aircraft took to the skies in Southampton. The aircraft, prototype Supermarine Spitfire K5054, was the first of over 22000 aircraft that would be a firm favourite of pilots, aircraft buffs, small boys with notebooks, old men who fought in wars and even German pilots who tried to outfly this thoroughbred aircraft.
There is so much to say about the Spitfire that it could take ages and reams of paper to catalogue, and even then some stuff would be left out. Southampton is really the home town of the Spitfire, and the manufacturers Supermarine, would be plunged into fame as they built the aircraft that helped to win the Battle of Britain. There are a few places in Southampton that celebrate the birth of the legendary aircraft and I catalogued some of then in a post that I created way back in 2013 and since then I can safely say I have added a few Spit sightings to my collection, although have yet to see one in flight! The most obvious reference to the Spitfire in Southampton is the sculpture of the original K5054 that may be found on a roundabout at Southampton Airport. Formerly Eastleigh Aerodrome, it was the site of the first flight of the aircraft in March 1936.
At the nearby Solent Sky Museum in Southampton there was only one example of the real aircraft, a MK24 (PK683), was one of twenty seven converted from MK22’s. It would have been powered by a Rolls Royce Griffon engine.
And yes, the engine did run while I was there and it was awesome. Unfortunately it did not run at full power, but it was really something to experience.