Spitfire The Spitfire was the favourite fighter aircraft of New Zealand and British fighter pilots. This rare late example was never flown in combat but was presented to the people of New Zealand by a grateful Britain. Built in late 1945, this Spitfire Mark XVI was not commissioned until 1951, when it saw service with the RAF until 1956. Thus this particular plane didn't fly in the war, and has recorded only 638 flying hours. In 1956 New Zealander Sir Keith Park, commander of No 11 Fighter Group (which defended London and the south of England during the Battle of Britain), arranged for it to be given to Auckland War Memorial Museum to remember the important part it had played in the war. Many New Zealanders piloted Spitfires during the war. Powered by a Packard Merlin 266 engine (unlike other models powered by Rolls Royce engines); its armament consists of two 20mm cannon and two .5 inch machine guns. Drop tanks and bombs were carried under the wings.