The Spitfire, for many, holds a special position in the history of the global conflict for its contribution to the war effort.The aircraft fought in the skies above Northern Ireland from RAF bases including Aldergrove, Eglinton and Long Kesh.And now a replica of the plane has taken pride of place among the many aircraft of the Ulster Aviation Society at its museum at the Maze, Long Kesh.Ray Burrows, chairman of the society said: "This is the only Spitfire we have in the whole of Ireland at the moment and even though it's a replica, it's an iconic aircraft."When you talk to the kids today and ask them about an aircraft it's the Spitfire they mention."It took over a year to build the replica, with the makers meticulously ensuring its historical accuracy.Ray continued: "Ours is actually moulded off an actual aircraft so when go to look at the rivets where the rivets on the original have been deformed, they are actually deformed on this one."It looks just like the real thing."He continued: "Here in Northern Ireland, Spitfires would have protected troop convoys during the war."They would have also come here to allow the squadrons some rest and recuperation from battle and they would have practised the skills needed for war."The Ulster Aviation Society, which has almost 400 volunteers, hopes the piece will inspire more people to research local links with aviation history.And it plans to host a series of open days for the public to enjoy its impressive collection.Ray added: "We now have the largest collection of aircraft anywhere on the island of Ireland and we are quite proud of that considering we are 100% volunteer led."It's an absolutely unique collection."