A British single-seat fighter aircraft, the Supermarine Spitfire was used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II. Many variants were built, using several wing configurations, and it was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter produced continuously throughout the war. 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 Supermarine Sptitfire’ (Image by CRUSH Photography)

The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works, which operated as a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong from 1928. Mitchell pushed the Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing with cutting-edge sunken rivets (designed by Beverley Shenstone) to have the thinnest possible cross-section, helping give the aircraft a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane. Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith took over as chief designer, overseeing the Spitfire’s development through its multitude of variants.

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Acknowledgements: Extract taken from Wikipedia

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Large clouds of painted lady butterflies are being spotted across the UK and Ireland – and experts believe we are seeing a mass emergence that happens every 10 years.

Weather conditions and food sources are providing ideal conditions for the species to thrive.

Sightings of painted ladies – otherwise known as Vanessa cardui – have prompted countless pictures and videos to be posted to social media.

About 11 million of the butterflies were seen in the UK during the last “painted lady year” in 2009.

Simon Milne, Regius Keeper at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, describes the phenomenon as “an amazing wonder of nature”.

On a normal day, in a regular year, Simon said he would expect to see about 10 to 15 of the species at the botanic gardens.

But he has encountered thousands of painted ladies in the past few days, and predicts that this year could see bigger numbers than ever before.

We are currently seeing a wave of home-grown butterflies, which are the descendants of those carried on winds from sub-Saharan Africa, along with newer arrivals from continental Europe.

Despite their delicate appearance, the insects can cover up to 100 miles each day as they migrate.

Tom Prescott, senior conservation officer with Butterfly Conservation Scotland, says that favourable breeding conditions mean we could see another wave of butterflies at the end of the summer “come early autumn, we could be up to our knees in them,” he said.

Numbers depend on favourable conditions earlier in the year, where the butterflies spend winter, warmer temperatures and favourable wind conditions as they migrate north.

The species often lay eggs on thistles, giving them the name Thistle Butterfly. Adults tend to feed on flowering plants and are often attracted to buddleia plants.

The public is being asked to submit butterfly sightings online to help Butterfly Conservation monitor numbers of this and other breeds.

Many butterfly species have been in decline.

According to the Butterfly Conservation Society, there is “evidence of the serious, long-term and ongoing decline of UK butterflies”.

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Acknowledgements: Extracts taken from BBC News

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Nottingham Forest head coach Sabri Lamouchi says he has been delighted by the effort and commitment of his players at the end of a tough pre-season schedule.

The Forest boss watched on as his side drew 2-2 with Real Sociedad last night and Lamouchi says his squad are in really good shape as they prepare for the season opener against West Bromwich Albion at The City Ground next Saturday. …… more

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