Having passed the life-sized monument of Mitchell’s Supermarine Spitfire, just outside Southampton Airport, on numerous occasions I still find it possesses a design that stands the test of time. Historically it was born from a race between Supermarine, Heinkel and Hawker (amongst others) to perfect the monoplane as the limitations of the biplane rapidly became all to apparent. Though undoubted artistic licence it was Leslie Howard, in the film, the First of the Few (1942) that suggested Mitchell’s inspiration had been through watching gulls in flight – perhaps not so fanciful.
The above image was taken whilst waiting on an adult heron to move in with the tide so I could get some closer shots. Now sticking with the man made aeronautical theme I remember time spent at HMS Heron when they operated the Harrier jump jet, famed for it’s short take off capabilities. Well the Heron is a large bird but, when it wishes to, can get airborne very quickly with a single drive from it’s legs before those large wings bring more power to bare.
The Heron adjusted its position on a number of occasions as the tide quickly submerged favoured fishing spots. Once or twice I was entertained by a fly by, low over the water and so much quieter than the RAF Typhoons that use the Sound of Sleat and the Isle of Eigg as a marker for their low flying exercises.
Still (and as ex Navy) every cloud has a silver lining……………