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Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX in Detail
The Airframe

n by Martin Waligorski
n photos by Martin Waligorski, Mattias Linde and Phillip Treweek


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A nice view of the HH 434 taxiing. Prominent features of the Mk. IX are immediately apparent - four-bladed propeller, the twin underwing radiators and the more substantial cowling housing the  Merlin 60-series engine.  

Photo: Mattias Linde

 


Same aircraft parked on tarmac prior to air display.
The original RAF camouflage of Dark Green and Ocean Gray over Medium Sea Grey has been faithfully restored on this aircraft, with exception of the yellow spinner which is a recognition mark of Breitling Fighters, the warbirds team operating the aircraft.

Photo: Martin Waligorski

 


Another view of the same aircraft.
 

Photo: Martin Waligorski

 

 


View of the wing upper surface. As on earlier (and later) Spitfire versions, it is striking how thin the Spitfire wing actually was. 

Upon closer inspection it can be seen that the ailerons of this version were metal-covered. 

Photo: Martin Waligorski

 


The area immediately in front of the cockpit was occupied by the main fuel tank. The tank was protected with an external armor plate, resulting in a visibly raised panel.
 

Photo: Martin Waligorski

 


The rear section of the fuselage. It is notable that the panels were not flush-rivetted as on, for example, Messerschmitt Bf 109. Although obviously the simpler technology, it never seemed to hamper the Spitfire's excellent performance. 
 

Photo: Martin Waligorski


The vertical tail of the Spitfire remained virtually identical through all production marks from Mk. I to Mk. IX. However, later Mk. IX machines were upgraded with an extended fin tip initially designed for the Griffon-powered Mk. XII.
 

Photo: Martin Waligorski

 


Early during the Mk. IX production, the elevator shape was also changed. The improved elevator featured the larger horn balance with "kinked" cutout line visible here. 

Note how the tail wheel swivels around itself with the leg remaining inline with the fuselage.
 

Photo: Martin Waligorski

 


Close-up of the elevator horn balance and trim tab actuator on its upper surface.  

Photo: Martin Waligorski


Fine detailed view of the fabric covering on the fin, the actuating rods and tail light.

Photo: Martin Waligorski

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