Sigh for a Merlin : Testing the Spitfire
The enthralling account of Alex Henshaw’s life with the Spitfire.
Alex Henshaw spent the early days of World War II at Eastleigh, England, testing the immortal Spitfire fighter with Jeffrey Quill before being appointed Chief Test Pilot at Supermarine’s new factory in Castle Bromwich. Thousands of Spitfires were tested and manufactured at this site throughout the war, by the end of which 37,000 test flights had been made with Alex Henshaw flying an estimated ten per cent of all Spitfires ever built. Often landing without aids of any kind, his breathtaking aerobatic style and complete mastery of the aircraft were to save his life on several occasions.
I scrawled rapidly on my pad, 'Baling out - engine seizure - suspect piston conrod.' I had barely finished my scrawl when the machine shook so much that I tore my safety harness pin, pulled down my goggles to protect my eyes from oil, glycol and debris, snapped back the cockpit hood and with all my strength kicked away from the cockpit.
Paperback: 240 pages