|The Spitfire V was supposed to be an interim fighter based on the Spitfire Mk. I. The aircraft was
given a larger Merlin engine so it could perform with the Bf-109s. The Mk.V had metal ailerons
that improved the handling characteristics dramatically and continued to use the Type A wing
with 8 × .303" Browning machine guns. The oil cooler was revised to eliminate over heating. Of
the 6,479 Spitfires produced in all variants only 94 Va variants were made.
Douglas Robert Steuart Bader was born in 1910, joined the RAF in 1928 as an Officer Cadet, he
was commissioned as a pilot on July 26, 1930 into No. 23 Squadron. While performing low level
aerobatics his aircraft crashed resulting in the loss of both legs. With a new pair of artificial legs
he managed to regain most of his abilities including flying and in 1939 with the onset of WWII he
was allowed to rejoin the RAF No. 19 Squadron. His next unit was No. 222 Squadron and then
at the end of June 1940 he was posted as Squadron Leader with No. 242 Canadian Squadron.
During the Battle of Britain Bader flew Hawker Hurricanes. In 1941 he was promoted to Wing
Commander and began flying Spitfires. Bader flew a Va variant while others flew the Vb variant
because he felt the 8 .303 machine guns on the Va were more effective. On August 9, 1941
while flying W3185 “D-B” Bader had to bail out over France and lost his right artificial leg.
General Adolf Galland treated him with respect and assured the RAF that it would be safe for a
new replacement leg to be parachuted into France. He spent 4 years as a POW and after a
couple of escape attempts he was transferred to the “escape proof” Colditz Castle on 18 August
1942 where he remained until the 15 April 1945. He is credited with 22 kills and 6 probables.
Douglas Bader died from a heart attack in 1982 at age 72. Among his many awards he was
knighted in 1976.
Specifications Supermarine Spitfire Mk Va
Type: Single Seat Fighter / Fighter Bomber
Design: Reginald Joseph Mitchell
Manufacturer: Supermarine Aviation Works (Vickers) Limited also built by Vickers-Armstrong,
Castle Bromwich and Westland Aircraft
Powerplant: (Mk I, III) 1,030 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin II liquid cooled V-12
(Mk II) 1,175 hp Merlin XII
(Mk V) 1,440 hp (1074 kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin 45
(Mk VI) 1,415 hp Merlin 47 (Mk VII, VIII, IX) 1,660 hp Merlin 61
(Mk X) Merlin 77 (Mk XI) 1,760 hp Merlin 63A or 1,655 hp Merlin 70
(Mk XII) 1,735 hp Rolls-Royce Griffon III or IV
(Mk XIII) 1,620 hp Merlin
(Mk XIV, XVIII, XIX and type 21) 2,050 hp Griffon 65 with a two-stage supercharger (type 22)
2,375 hp Griffon 65.
(Mk VA) Maximum speed 369 mph (594 km/h) at 19,500 ft (5945 m)
service ceiling 36,500 ft (11125 m).
(Mk I) 395 miles (637 km) on internal fuel.
(Mk VA) 1,135 miles (1827 km) with drop tanks.
(Mk IX) 434 miles (700 km) on internal fuel.
(Mk XIV) 460 miles (740 km) on internal fuel.
(Mk I) Empty 4,810 lbs (2182 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 5,784 lbs (2624 kg).
(Mk VA) Empty 4,998 lbs (2267 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 6,417 lbs (2911 kg).
(Mk IX) Empty 5,610 lbs (2545 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 9,500 lbs (4310 kg).
(Mk XIV) Empty 6,700 lbs (3040 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 10,280 lbs (4663 kg).
(L standard) Span 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m) length 29 ft 11 in (9.12 m); height 9 ft 11 in (3.02 m)
(LF clipped) Span 32 ft 2 in or 32 ft 7 in (9.93 m) length 29 ft 11 in (9.12 m); height 9 ft 11 in
(HF extended) 40 ft 2 in (12.24 m); length 29 ft 11 in (9.12 m); height 9 ft 11 in (3.02 m)
(Mk I) Four 7.70 mm Browning machine guns
(Mk IA, IIA) eight 7.70 mm machine guns
(Mk IB, IIB) two 20 mm Hispano-cannons and four 7.70 mm machine guns
(Mk VA) eight 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Browning machine guns
(Mk VB) two 20 mm cannons and four 7.70 mm machine guns
(Mk VC) various combinations of cannons and machine gun plus two 113 kg bombs
(all Mk V) underwing rack for a 227 kg bomb or a drop tank
(Mk IXE) two 20 mm cannons and two 12.7 mm cannons
(Mk XIII) four 7.70 mm machine guns
(Mk XIVE) two 20 mm cannons and two 12.7 mm machine guns (most others) two 20 mm
cannons and four 7.7 mm machine guns.
History: First flight (prototype) 5 March 1936; (production Mk I) July 1938; final delivery (Mk 24)
|Hobby Master 1/48 Air Power Series
flown by Wing Commander Douglas Bader
No.616 Sqn., Tangmere Wing
RAF Tangmere, England