The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works. The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during and after World War II. The prototype Spitfire first flew on 5 March 1936 and entered the RAF service in 1938. During the Battle of Britain, the public perceived the Spitfire to be the main RAF fighter. More than 20,000 were built. Produced for 12 years, Spitfire's top characteristics are its ability to adapt to advanced engines and arms and remain competitive as the war continued. The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts; nearly 60 remain airworthy, and many more are static exhibits in aviation museums throughout the world.


The Turkish Air Force wanted to add Spitfire Mk 1’s into the inventory in order to reinforce fleets just prior to the Second World War. Türkiye ordered 15 Spitfire Mk.1a (Type 341) aircraft. As Britain decided that it needed the aeroplanes more than its overseas customers due to war, the contract was cancelled after the delivery of 2 aircrafts. Another Spitfire also came via a very long route from England. In 1939, Poland was interested in purchasing the Spitfire and the aircraft was set sail for Poland. As the Germans had invaded Poland, and controlled the seas, the ship changed its course and set sail for Romania. However, Romania banned the transit of any arms toPoland. As a result of this, Spitfire was sent to Türkiye. All three Spitfires were allocated to 42th Fighter Command, 8th Fighter Battalion, 4th Air Regiment at Çorlu. By late 1940, all three Spitfires were grounded due to lack of spares. 2 Spitfires which directly came from England, were ferried to Egypt where they were used by the RAF and given the new serial numbers. Spitfire P9565 (number 4), was one of the original 15 ordered by Türkiye, but upon cancellation of the contract was retained for use by the RAF. 

The first solo flight of Mr. Necati ARTAN was on Spitfire number 4, produced in Eastleigh/England (number 702) with Merlin III engine. This aircraft made its first flight on 16 May 1940. As P9565, the Spitfire initially served with the Aircraft & Armaments Experimental Establishment, where it was one of a number of trials including testing de Havilland propellers and the installation of a 30 Gallon fuel tank mounted under the port wing. Therefore, it was identified as Type 343 with these installations. Trials were carried out operationally with Nos. 66, 118 and 152 Squadrons. On 15 October 1940, it was transferred to the Special Duties Flight at Christchurch. On 13 March 1941, it was sent to the Heston Aircraft Company where it was converted into a Spitfire Mk Va with a new Merlin series 45 engine. On 2 October 1941, Spitfire moves to No. 59 Operational Training Unit where it was used for fighter pilot training. On 16 July 1942, it was converted into a PR.VIII Type G for photo-reconnaissance duties. On 30 September 1942, it joined Squadron 542 where it was a photographic reconnaissance unit. On 5 May 1943, the Spitfire moved again to No. 8 Operational Training Unit. On 25 February 1944, it was damaged in an accident, struck off charge after repair and sold to Türkiye.

This special mock-up Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a carries the mark of Turkish Airforce used in those years. It was brought to M.S.Ö. Air & Space Museum by Ali İsmet ÖZTÜRK.

Spitfires in Turkish Air Force

Spitfire Number 4 of Mr. Necati ARTAN


Empty Weight


Maximum Speed



Service Ceiling

Rate of Climb

Wing Span


5635 lbs

9499 lbs

408 mph


433 miles

13,106 M (43,000 FT)

3345 fpm



Empty Weight 5635 lbs

MTOW 9499 lbs

Maximum Speed 657 KM / S

Length 31’

Range 433 miles

Service Ceiling 13,106 M (43,000 FT)

Rate of Climb 1 M / S

Wing Span 36’10’’

Height 48 M