Reginald Joseph “R. J.” Mitchell was the chief aeronautical engineer at British seaplane manufacturer Supermarine Aviation Works and designed several flying boats, including the Walrus and Stranraer that would see lengthy service with the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. During the 1920s and 30s, Mitchell designed a series of experimental aircraft that won several of the prestigious Schneider Trophy seaplane races.
No other aircraft in aviation history surpasses the iconic status of the Supermarine Spitfire fighter aircraft of WWII. Mitchell would take the lessons learned from his successful racing seaplanes and apply them to the design of a new monocoque, elliptical-wing, eight-gun fighter in response to a 1934 Air Ministry design specification. Mitchell’s Spitfire first flew in March 1936. By the time production ended a decade later, more than 20,000 aircraft were manufactured in 24 “marks” and numerous variants.
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