Supermarine Spitfire PR.Mk XIX – PS852, 81 Sqn, Ted Powles, RAF Tengah, Singapore, Altitude Record 1951
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Corgi Aviation Archive 1/72 scale AA38706: Supermarine Spitfire PR.Mk XIX PS852 of 81 Sqn, Ted Powles, RAF Tengah, Singapore, Altitude Record, 1951. Limited Edition of 1,000 Pieces
Length 5.5 inches Wingspan 6.25 inches
While on detachment to RAF Tengah in Singapore, this Spitfire flew some of the last and most dangerous photo reconnaissance missions of any Spitfire. Operating from Singapore it flew missions over occupied China, ranging over the nearby Hainan Island, running the gauntlet of Chinese air defences. It was in this very machine that Ted Powles recorded a record altitude for a Spitfire of 51,550ft while on a survey flight over Hong Kong. However it was at this altitude that the Spitfire entered a dive, which was only recovered at 3,000ft. By which time the Spitfire had reached an air speed nearing 700mph. The PRXIX was the final variant of the Spitfire to perform an operational sortie with the RAF, taking place over Malaya just three years after this, bringing the superlative RAF career of the Spitfire to a close.
Designed by R.J.Michell to meet a British Air Ministry specification, the Supermarine Spitfire first flown on March 5th, 1936. With its combination of beautiful fighter design, the excellent performance of its Rolls-Royce Merlin powerplant and firepower provided by twin cannons and four machine guns, the Spitfire became an unrivaled symbol of victory. The Spitfire had 40 major variants and was built in greater numbers than any other British aircraft of the time. It flew operationally on every front between 1939 and 1945 and was engaged in every one of the Royal Air Force’s major actions.