Supermarine Spitfire Lf. Mk. XVIe
The Mk. XVI had the Merlin 266 engine built in the U.S. under license to the Packard Motor Car Company. The variant had the teardrop canopy for better visibility, low-altitude clipped wings (increased roll rate and top speed but reduced rate of climb) and a cut-down rear fuselage. The control column was pivoted about a foot from the top, and was topped with a circular spade grip. Within the spade grip was a bicycle-type brake lever which controlled pressure to the air brakes, with differential application by movement of the rudder pedals. Armament varied but, to my knowledge, the “e” variants of the Mk. XVI included two 20 mm Hispano cannon and two Browning .50 cal. machine guns (the “e” designation in the variant number indicating the .303 guns were replaced by .50 cal.). A Spitfire with cannon and machine guns typically had a 3-way rocker button on the spade grip with three positions. My recollection is that the letters “BBC” were taught as a reminder to the pilot: B for Brownings (top), B for both (middle), and C for cannon (bottom). This aircraft is restored with a single electrical-firing button and spade grip of earlier Spitfire versions. Ordnance included a center-mounted 500 lb. bomb and a 250 lb. on hardpoints under each wing. My photos.