What engine did the Spitfire have?

Many people know that the Supermarine Spitfire had a 27-litre Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. What they might not know, though was that later models of the Spitfire used a 37-litre Rolls-Royce Griffon engine. And almost no-one knows that the Griffon was first run nine months before the Merlin, back in 1933! The Merlin was a petrol … Read more

Top 19 facts about the Supermarine Spitfire

19 facts about the beautiful Spitfire The Supermarine Spitfire was a short-range, high-performance fighter plane designed in the 1930s by Reginald Mitchell, chief designer at the Supermarine Aviation Works in Southampton. 2. Mitchell was diagnosed with bowel cancer while doing his best work on the Spitfire. 3. The Spitfire was named after the daughter of … Read more

Can a Spitfire break the Sound Barrier?

Spitfire with four bladed propeller

A Spitfire very nearly broke the sound barrier in 1944. In the 1930s a small number of aero-engineers recognized that the piston-engine and propeller were providing diminishing returns. Despite reductions in drag and increases in efficiency provided by slippery airframes and variable-pitch propellers, huge increases in engine horsepower were yielding smaller and smaller increases in … Read more

Who is fossil hunter Mary Anning?

Mary Anning’s discoveries of fossils along the coast of Dorset brought home the fact that southern England once was filled with giant monsters more strange and terrible than the wildest dream.

Merlins over Everest

A Supermarine Spitfire flew over Mount Everest in May, 1945. Then on 16 June another Merlin-powered aircraft, a Mosquito, made an “accidental” flight over Everest.

Cost of the Merlin engine

When I was writing my book about the Rolls-Royce Merlin I discovered some amazing facts. There has never been another engine more thoroughly, continuously, aggressively and successfully developed than the Merlin.

Which planes used the Merlin engine?

The Merlin engine was used in over forty aircraft during World War Two but it is mostly associated with the Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane, Avro Lancaster bomber and the de Havilland Mosquito.

How many cylinders were in a Merlin?

The Merlin was a petrol engine, which in a car or an aeroplane has to have many cylinders to make it run smoothly and powerfully. A single cylinder is OK for a small bike, and you can hear how rough they are! The Merlin had 12 cylinders.