The Supermarine Spitfire is not only one of the most famous British icons, but it is arguably the most widely-recognized and popular aircraft in the history of aviation. For many generations, it was said to be ‘every schoolboy’s dream’ to fly a Spitfire, and Flying the Icon: Spitfire aims to give the reader an insight into what that requires.
To mark the 80th anniversary of the first flight of Prototype K5054 on 5 March 1936, author Jarrod Cotter presents something entirely different from the previously published histories of the Spitfire. Having spent a great deal of time talking to Spitfire pilots past and present, attending flight operations briefings and Spitfire pilot training courses, he has used his ‘insider’s’ perspective to produce a book solely on flying this most iconic of all fighters.
With the use of original wartime Air Ministry Pilot’s Notes, historic flight test documents, modern flight reference cards and pilot’s reports, this book details how the Spitfire was and is flown, and what the pilots thought and think of it nowadays. Included are quotes from test pilot Jeffrey Quill, one of the most respected and well-known personalities who flew this icon.
To provide an extreme range of the fighter’s evolution, the variants included comprise Prototype K5054, the Mk.I, Mk.IIa, Mk.Vb, Mk.VIII Mk.IXe/XVIe, PR.XIX and the post-war F.18/22/24. To keep with the theme of the book, it is comprehensively illustrated with pictures of Spitfires flying and pilots in Spitfires. This book is a must-have guide, giving enthusiasts the best possible idea of how to fly the icon that is the Spitfire!
The book is split into 9 main chapters, each one looking at a different mark of Spitfire. Then at the end, there are 4 Appendices, each with more interesting content. The different marks that are featured start with details of the prototype itself, K5054. Then it moves on through the Mk I, the MK IIa, the Mk Vb and the Mk VIII. Then it goes on to cover the Mks IX and XVIe, the Mk XIX then the F.22 and F.24. It is rounded off with Jarrod's experience of first flying in a (two seater) Spitfire himself, the text uses pilots' experiences over the years, along with extracts from the various editions of Pilot's Notes. Couple all this with data tables providing more information, and descriptions of working through the start-up procedures of the pilot going through once in the cockpit it makes for some really interesting reading. Throughout the book, there is a host of excellent color photos of modern, preserved aircraft, showing not only the interior of the cockpit and other details of the aircraft which those who find their self in the hobby of building models will enjoy. Lastly, you will find some excellent photos of Spitfires in the air.
The 4 Appendices cover, with the Spitfire Mk IX Pilot's Check Lists, then Wartime Emergency Procedures, A step-by-step guide to a Spitfire Sortie, flying a sortie to fly over the Battle of Britain memorial at Capel-le-Ferne in Kent, and Spitfire Ladies, those women who flew them as ferry pilots, delivering the aircraft to squadrons.
Jarrod Cotter has done a great job with this book from his personal accounts with the aircraft and many, many great details and pics. Highly Recommended. I would like to thank Casemate Publishing and IPMS USA for the opportunity to review this book. I was not disappointed.