The Hawker Hurricane was one of the famous British fighters of WW II. The prototype was
first flown in November 1935 and the first production aircraft made its initial flight in
October 1937. Within a matter of weeks, Hurricanes were being delivered to their operational
squadrons. By the time the war broke out in September 1939, the Royal Air Force (RAF) had
taken delivery of about 500 Hurricanes as production continued.
The hurricane is probably best known for its performance during the Battle of Britain. When
the battle commenced in July 1940, the RAF Fighter Command had but 527 Hurricanes and 321
Spitfires to counter the enemy's 2,700 aircraft. Yet, the RAF was able to maintain air
superiority in the skies of Great Britain.
Hurricanes were built not only in Great Britain but also in Yugoslavia, before the German
invasion, and in Canada during the 1940-1942 period. they were flown by pilots of many
nations during the war. The Hawker Hurricane MKIIa on display is a Canadian built airframe
painted to represent an aircraft of 71 Squadron, Royal Air Force, one of the three Eagle
Squadrons of WW II. Americans in the RAF flew Hurricane MKIIa's with this unit from May to
The Museum acquired this Hurricane MK IIa through an exchange with RRS Aviation of Hawkins,
Texas, which also restored the aircraft.
Span: 40 ft.
Length: 31 ft. 4 in.
Height: 13 ft.
Weight: 7,200 lbs. loaded
Armament: Eight .303-cal. Browning machine guns
Engine: Rolls-Royce Merlin XX of 1,260 hp.
Maximum speed: 340 mph.
Cruising speed: 238 mph.
Range: 468 miles with internal fuel only; 1,090 miles with two 90 gal. ferry tanks
Service Ceiling: 35,000 ft.
AIR FORCE Magazine / December 2009
- Accounted for 1,593 of 2,739 Battle of Britain victories
- Appeared in 1969 film "Battle of Britain"
- Nicknamed Hurry, Hurribomber, Hurricat
- Featured steel tube fuselage with mechanical joints, not welds
- Operated as Sea Hurricane off merchantmen and escort carriers
- Led to development of Typhoon, Tempest, Sea Fury
- Acted in roles of fighter, ground attack, night fighter, night intruder, and reconnaissance aircraft
Recent Comments From Readers:
I’m a huge Hurricane fan, and have always credited it with winning the Battle of Britain. Yes, the Spitfire was simply a marvelous aircraft, and had the edge on everything that the Germans threw into the air during those months of fighting. But, it was the hurricane, covered in fabric as compared to metal which in my view really held the Hun at bay. Consider this: When a Hurricane was hit by 20mm cannon fire it punched holes in the fabric, baring a direct fuel system or engine hit, the Hurricane could land safely, be patched up with a bit of glue on the tarmac, actually grass in those days, and be back in the air for the very next go round with the Gerry’s. Not so with the Spitfire, or anything that the Germans had. The Spitfire was a simply marvelous plane, yes, unquestionably, the best piston driven European fighter of the war. But, when it was hit with cannon fire, or even machine gun fire, it had to go back into the shop and be re-metaled. That took a lot of time and each Spit that was hit was out for days. A great plane that’s not in the air fighting is a great plane that’s not in the air fighting. The Hurricane on the other hand, even though much slower than an ME 109 and not nearly as well armed, was out there day after day after day. If it wasn’t completely downed by the Gerry’s then they could figure on meeting the same plane again on the next raid no matter how badly it was hit, short of being destroyed. In hockey terms here, we call that a “ham and egger”. Nothing in any way fancy, absolutely nothing special, but day after day it gets the job done. The Hurricane couldn’t have won the Battle of Britain without the Spitfire, but equally, the Spitfire could not have won the Battle of Britain without the Hurricane. According to German Luftwaffer acquaintances that I talk to who flew in WW2, (lots here in Windsor, the tool and die capital of Canada) they absolutely feared the Spitfire, but they absolutely hated the Hurricane. Anyway, nice work, and very well done on the site. Many thanks from an amateur historian of WW2.