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Nachtwulf

What makes the Spitfire such a beautiful aircraft?

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What makes the Spitfire a beautiful aircraft to you? I personally seem to gravitate toward wing shapes, the Tempest being one of my favorites, but I am curious what others see in it. I agree that the spitfire is very good looking. Another thing that does it for me is the sound of a Merlin engine at full song, just gives me goose bumps! I do however think it looks a little awkward on the ground. I tend to favor the looks of a widely spaced set of landing gear . Don't be shy, just looking for opinions.

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The same thing that made Audrey Hepburn the most beautiful woman in the world ('cept Mrs T of course)

Grace

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Just is, ok? :fight: I think it's the overall grace of the design, coupled with some pretty formidable capabilities. It also helped that it did its fair share of saving us in WWII along with the Hurri. :)

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Context. It is a nicely proportioned aircraft, but then there are people around who can look at other nicely-proportioned aircraft and call them ugly - especially when they come from "the other side".

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I'm always amazed that the same country/engineering tradition that produced so-ugly-it's-almost-beautiful aircraft such as the Blackburn Blackburn or the Avro Bison could also come up with drop-dead gourgeous beauties like the Spitfire or the Mosquito.

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The Merlin Mk.I was like a teenage girl, scooting about a hockey pitch. Once war broke out, growing ever stronger faster and deadlier with successive variants until the Mk.VIII, the equivalency of full womanhood.

Then her offspring with the genetics of Mk.I~VIII and the Griffin became even more awesomely beautiful and so powerful and lethal as to totally out shine dowdy Messerschmitts, capricious Capronis and delicate Mitsubishis. Even Mustangs look lumpy by comparison let alone stout Grummans.

Athletic good looks that endure, faithful performance and responsiveness to a pilots touch endeared her to most who took her up.

Cor, phew.

Grant

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The Merlin Mk.I was like a teenage girl, growing ever stronger faster and deadlier with successive variants until the Mk.VIII, the equivalency of full womanhood.

Then her offspring with the genetics of Mk.I~VIII and the Griffin became even more awesomely beautiful and so powerful and lethal as to totally out shine dowdy Messerschmitts, capricious Capronis and delicate Mitsubishis. Even Mustangs look lumpy by comparison let alone stout Grummans.

Athletic good looks that endure, faithful performance and responsiveness to a pilots touch endeared her to most who took her up.

Cor, phew.

Grant

Have to agree with you on the griffon Spitfire, brutal yet beautiful. I am a big fan of the Mustang as well, but It looks mechanically beautiful to me, more of a manufactured good look than the grace and form of the spitfire.

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seeing it flying, it was not flying through the air, it was floating away as a ballerina on a scene. But it is correct the remark about British aircraft going (in sjape) from the ridiculous (like the Fairey Barracuda) to the absolute 1st class like the Spitfire, Mosquito, and Lancaster, and post-war the Hunter. Was there any jet more gracefully looking than the Hunter?

Also have to say that my wish for my next life is to fly Spitfires during the Battle of Britain (why should time just go one way?). A lot of fun, and probably not lasting for long so as to get back and doing something more mundane.

Edited by NPL

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Hard to put a finger on. I think the lack of a straight line or hard angle (e.g. compare wing root to Me-109 or Mustang) anywhere has a lot to do with it for me. Makes it look superbly elegant and sleek whether it's a Mk1 or Mk47.

It's role in history helps too.

David

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Having modeled the Spitfire IX in 3D, I'd say:

The wing tips seen from the top, are also pointy when seen from the front.

The whole wing seem big imo.

Very classy canopy, being rounded and all, contrasted greatly with the flat front, yet having this bend in the frame for the armored glass at the front.

The oil radiators beneath the wing.

The long straight nose on the top side, in front of the canopy.

A big antenna pole behind the canopy glass.

Generally rounded shapes on rudders.

Slim tail.

Generally, a slim looking aircraft.

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A lot of hyperbole and misty-eyed nostalgia, which the Brits excel at.

That said, it's got quite a pleasing shape, for a killing machine.

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I'm always amazed that the same country/engineering tradition that produced so-ugly-it's-almost-beautiful aircraft such as the Blackburn Blackburn or the Avro Bison could also come up with drop-dead gourgeous beauties like the Spitfire or the Mosquito.

Or that the designer , one RJ Mitchell, also excelled with the ever so streamlined Supermarine Walrus :shrug:

Still there is something in the saying handsome is as handsome does too

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There are questions that should never be asked, such as asking a lady her age.

But asking what makes a Spitfire beautiful, that's just ungentlemanly.

It is, because it is.

Mind you I could be biased

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A lot of hyperbole and misty-eyed nostalgia, which the Brits excel at.

That said, it's got quite a pleasing shape, for a killing machine.

"Even this grey machinery of murder
Holds beauty and the promise of a future.”
-- Norman Hampson
I am not British (I hope to be someday, though) and so my misty-eyed nostalgia game might not be up to snuff. I have, however, loved the Spitfire since I first saw a picture of one as a very small boy in the late 1980s. It was then for me and still remains the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
Objects may be only objects, but they carry an emotive weight beyond the physical one, and I think if the Spitfire means so much to so many, it must be in part because of what it can be said to represent, on some basal, primal level: the magic sword, Arthur's sword ("its name is Excalibur, which is as much to say as 'cuts-steel'"), or Ascalon, perhaps, something crafted for our heroes and waiting only for their devoted hand to wield it; a weapon at last, at last, to take any blow that the dragon may care to deal us, and then to hit back, better and harder than they can imagine.
Even the possibly apocryphal historical record bears this out: when Alex Henshaw recalled his visit to Germany in 1939, he remembered a Luftwaffe officer telling him the 109 was the greatest fighter in the world, that nothing could stand against it (shades of The Beast in the Book of Revelation). When he said, "well, we have the Spitfire," the German officer replied "The Spitfire is a pretty little toy, but the 109 is a fighting machine." It seems so incredible that it may well not be true, and I certainly am inclined to doubt it, but it feels right.
It has the magic of victory about it, too, a restorative power to it -- the Battle of Britain, Malta, over the beaches of Normandy, and ultimately even over Berlin itself, like Tolkein's eagles over Mordor. It's just an object, of course, but it's an object that signifies events that were real, and for me at least, powerful and beautiful.

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I have seen loads of Spitfires in my time but I have to say IMHO its not the most beautiful. The most beautiful to me was the Hawker Sea Fury, it remains the most impressive piston driven aircraft I have ever seen. I was lucky enough to see the historic FFA version at Duxford and Farnborough in its 'crash' season - and I dream of the day when it flies again.

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If I would put it in only a few words, I would say "Because it looks like a racer". Flowing smooth graceful lines on every part of the plane from every angle you look. Iconic.

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A lot of hyperbole and misty-eyed nostalgia, which the Brits excel at.

Having watched a lot of Hollywood films of historic subject matter it doesn't seem that is particularly unique to the British. They do tend to be more polite when it comes to commenting on the chauvinism of other countries though.

Nick

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For me, it's not only its shear beauty which supports the theory "if it looks right, it'll fly right", but it's a symbol of victory in the face of adversity. When you see one fly over, it's far more than just a mechanical object in the sky

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Having watched a lot of Hollywood films of historic subject matter it doesn't seem that is particularly unique to the British. They do tend to be more polite when it comes to commenting on the chauvinism of other countries though.

Nick

but Nick, Rob is right really, we Brits do excel at misty eyed nostalgia though its understandable given that we have just so much to be misty eyed about compared to everyone else :wicked::winkgrin:

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I have seen loads of Spitfires in my time but I have to say IMHO its not the most beautiful. The most beautiful to me was the Hawker Sea Fury, it remains the most impressive piston driven aircraft I have ever seen. I was lucky enough to see the historic FFA version at Duxford and Farnborough in its 'crash' season - and I dream of the day when it flies again.

Agreed. The Hawker Sea Fury is tops on my list for best looking British aircraft. It has my favorite wing plan form and wide set landing gear, smooth round....... oh dear......

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