|Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo|
Several aircraft on display at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 were in markings of the British Forces of World War II. As with many warbirds on the circuit today, these aircraft are late-model aircraft of the type and may not have served directly in combat during the war. They are still representative of the aircraft that made history in the defense of Britain and appreciated by audiences around the country. We present two aircraft here: Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XVIII and Stinson (Vultee) Reliant.
This Vickers Supermarine* Spitfire Mk. XVIII is from the Frasca Air Museum in Urbana, IL. About 300 Mk. XVIII Spitfires were produced in fighter and reconnaissance versions, both having a Rolls Royce Griffon engine. The Griffon was a larger 12-cylinder, 2220hp turbo-charged cousin of the famous Merlin engine and it was used to power late-model British warplanes of the era. The Mk. XVIII was introduced in June of 1945, and thus too late for direct action in World War II. It served in Middle and Far East post-war theaters and may have participated in combat during the early years of the Malayan Emergency. Surplus aircraft were also reportedly sold to India.
* The Vickers Armstrong acquired Supermarine Aviation Works Ltd. in 1928, although Supermarine continued to operate under its own name. The proper name of the company producing Spitfires was Vickers Supermarine until the Vickers Armstrong group was consolidated into British Aircraft Corporation in 1960.
Another aircraft used by British Forces during the World War II era was the Stinson-Vultee** Reliant series. They were based on the 1938 production civil SR10 and produced after 1942 mostly for Lend-Lease to Great Britain as instrument trainers and light cargo aircraft. They were also manufactured for utility and training roles in the U.S. military as UC-81 and AT-19. They were sold on the civilian market after the war as the V-77.
**In 1939, Stinson became part of Vultee Aircraft. Vultee acquired Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in 1941 to become Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, with Stinson as a division of the new company Convair.