Royal Aero Club - Blog

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"Beyond the Spitfire"
100 years ago today, on 27 June 1916, The Supermarine Aviation Works Ltd was registered as a private company, restructured and reorganised from Pemberton-Billing Ltd, after Billing sold his interest in the business when he entered Parliament. Supermarine had a long and successful relationship with the Royal Aero Club. Flying boats and seaplanes of their design participated in the Club’s team entries for the Schneider Trophy on seven occasions, finally securing the trophy in perpetuity in 1931. In addition, their aircraft held many British and World speed records, for most of which the Club provided the official timekeepers. Company director Commander Sir James Bird (below left), an ex-RNAS officer who joined Supermarine in 1919, was a prominent member of the Club, serving on several committees. He obtained his Aviators’ Certificate, No. 1203, from the Club in 1915. Reginald Mitchell, Chief Engineer and Designer for the company until his death in 1937, held Aviators’ Certificate No. 122,814 issued in September 1934, shortly before he completed the preliminary design work on the Spitfire. A new book (above) “Beyond the Spitfire” covering the unseen designs of R J Mitchell (example – below right), written by RAeC Trust volunteer Ralph Pegram, has recently been published by The History Press.