The Hawker Hurricane was a British single-seat fighter aircraft of the 1930s and 1940s.
Sydney Camm was its designer and Hawker Aircraft Ltd was its manufacurer.
As a fighter plane, the Hawker Hurricane was to revolutionise all future fighter plane design.
The Hurricane first made its mark in February 1938 when a Hurricane, piloted by Squadron Leader J W Gillan, commanding officer of 111 Squadron, had flown from Scotland to Northholt, a distance of 327 miles, in 48 minutes at an average speed of 409 mph (admittedly with a tail wind). By the end of 1938, Hawker Aircraft Ltd had delivered 200 Hurricanes to the RAF’s Fighter Command.
A Hurricane was the first RAF plane to destroy a Luftwaffe plane in October 1939 when Pilot Officer Mould shot down a Dornier Do-17 over France. It was to prove a short-term success. In the Spring of 1940 the Luftwaffe destroyed 25% of all Hurricanes (some 200 planes) defending France.
It was in the Battle of Britain that the Hurricane made its mark. Although frequently associated with the Spitfire, on August 8th, 1940, the RAF could call on 32 squadrons of Hurricanes and 19 of Spitfires. Therefore, the Hurricane was the dominant British plane.
Though slower than the Spitfire, the Hurricane developed a reputation as a plane that could take more than a few hits from the Germans and continue to fly. To some the Spitfire was a thoroughbred horse, superb until it was damaged. The Hurricane, though less graceful and slower than the Spitfire, was more a shire horse; incredibly strong and capable of taking many hits before it was taken out.
In total, more than 14,000 Hurricanes fought in World War Two in all theatres of war – a remarkable achievement for a remarkable plane.