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Author Topic: Favourite Spitfire book?  (Read 11712 times)
Editor
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« on: June 15, 2009, 11:00:38 PM »

Let's share some tips on aviation-related books. Any Spitfire favourites? Feel free to share your recommendations.

I definitely find that I keep returning to some books more often than others.

- Alfred Price - The Spitfire Story.
Old stuff, but still in a class of its own.

- Ted Hooton - Spitfire Special.
By no means complete, but I love the fact that this book is essentially a collection of well printed and described photos.

- Leo McKinstry - Spitfire - Portrait of a Legend.
For a book with an ambition to tell the whole Spitfire story, a very good read indeed.

/Martin
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NZTyphoon
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2009, 12:45:30 AM »

Definitely a tick for the three of them.

Morgan and Shacklady; Spitfire the History
So much information on the Spitfire and the Seafire...and the poor od Spiteful and Seafang, not to mention some of the other, competing designs.

Quill; Spitfire a Test Pilot's Story
Has a depth of understanding of flying the Spitfire in all of its forms
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gingerbob
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2009, 12:38:51 PM »

Only trouble is, who knows how long it'll take me to write it, let alone publish!

Meanwhile,

Quill- Spitfire A Test Pilot's Story remains the one I keep referring back to.
Henshaw- Sigh For a Merlin is a natural companion to it, and a good read, but not as useful a "source"

Morgan & Shacklady, of course- but I've mined it pretty thoroughly, so don't refer directly to it as much as I used to.  To a degree, it was this book's shortcomings that drove me to do my own research.

After that?  Oh, there are SO many...

bob
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NZTyphoon
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2009, 12:12:57 AM »

I wish you well in your project gingerbob. There's this Martin Waligorski who would probably be a useful contact  Wink  ; other people who have combed the records and dug up new information are Neil Stirling and Peter Williams of WW II Aircraft Performance.

Speaking of books

Matusiak; Merlin PR Spitfires
Lots of info in a compact book. Some of the profiles are a little off with the colours to mind, (eg; the bright Salmon Pink on an FR IX) but that's being picky.
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Editor
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2009, 08:09:59 PM »

Definitely a tick for the three of them.

Morgan and Shacklady; Spitfire the History
So much information on the Spitfire and the Seafire...and the poor od Spiteful and Seafang, not to mention some of the other, competing designs.

Quill; Spitfire a Test Pilot's Story
Has a depth of understanding of flying the Spitfire in all of its forms


I fully agree about Quill's book. It is IMHO the best book written by a Spitfire pilot that I've read so far, lots of information and beautifully written. Personally I don't think that Alex Hanshaw's memoirs hold quite the same class.

As for the Morgan & Shacklady, there is no doubt that it's a Spitfire Bible. However, I found the text rather poorly organized, so finding anything such as "were there any modifications to the undercarriage on Mk XVI? etc." or "what was the sum of major mods introduced with Mk. x"? is a real pain. Furthermore, focus is clearly put on the many experimental modifications to the Spitfire held by either Supermarine and Boscombe Down. What's NOT described, however, are the all in-production modifications and improvements. For example, IIRC the introduction of bulged cowling on late Mk IX isn't mentioned, the late u/c modifications, Mk. V evolution or operational mods such as the USAF solution to the dust filter problem mentioned elsewhere on this forum. Perhaps this is too much of a criticism towards the two authors who managed to track the operational history on every Spitfire built (na the book is worth having for this list alone),  but I still feel that the book is not a definitive source of reference - especially when it comes to production mods.

/M.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2009, 08:11:35 PM by Editor » Logged
Edgar Brooks
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2009, 09:35:17 AM »

Excuse me, if this drags on a bit, but the most useful book (which isn't really a book,) for me, as a researcher, is sitting in the RAF Museum's library, not mine.  While struggling through the lists of (60,000+) drawings, held by the museum, I asked if they had anything on Spitfire mods.  "Oh, you want the ledger."  Out came a file/ledger, about 15" x 6" x 6", which contains every Spitfire/Seafire mod, in numerical order, about 2200 of them.  Even the most minor changes are listed, but included are some absolute gems, including, for example, 1338, on the IX "Modify cowling structure to give greater clearance for coolant pipe," from 25-7-44, which I take to be the bulge, but can't, at present, find any matching drawing.  Thanks to that ledger, I've managed to establish that the Spitfire's harness was a Sutton throughout the war, which has been backed up by drawings and photos, as well.  It helps, somewhat, when you realise that the the first three numbers, on a Spitfire drawing, match up to the Supermarine type no., and therefore the Mark. Being a modeller, I've made a list of only those that I think might interest modellers, and, at double spacing, it runs to 16 A4 sheets!  If you want to see the ledger, its reference no. is B3606, but be sure to set aside a whole day (and then some.)
As a (sort of) cross-reference to that, I've found dozens of files in the National Archive(nee Public Record Office) for the Spitfire, and some contain the original mod. leaflets sent out to the workshops, and some make interesting reading, e.g., the wing-stiffening mods on the V.  The overwing strakes on the Va & Vb might appear to be fairly simple, but 100 man-hours had to be set aside for them, exactly the same as the apparently more complex Vc internal mod.  It's generally thought that the modification of a IXc to a IXe was a simple matter, but the leaflet says that it must be carried out by Vickers own engineers, since it involved removal of some internal plumbing.  I've found nothing regarding the IX cowling, so I'm presuming that it was a factory-based mod, so no leaflet was issued.
Edgar
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gingerbob
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« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2009, 08:00:29 PM »


I wish you well in your project gingerbob. There's this Martin Waligorski who would probably be a useful contact  Wink  ; other people who have combed the records and dug up new information are Neil Stirling and Peter Williams of WW II Aircraft Performance.

Sorry, been out straight.  Thanks for the well-wishes, I'll need them.

Who's this Martin chap?  I've had an exchange with 'Mike Williams' of the Performance site (and owe him a better answer...)  I've only just been e-mailing Wojtek Matusiak, have had some good arguments with Peter Arnold, put electronic heads together with Edgar Brooks (see above)... It is an international conspiracy- there, the cat's out of the bag.  Should anyone else read this and feel slighted, I wasn't trying to be comprehensive...

I should also point out Andrew Pentland's site, which is a great resource that we should all have bookmarked:
http://www.spitfires.ukf.net/index.htm
After a chance meeting at RAF Museum he sent me an early version on disc, and we worked in parallel from there.  By making Excel databases for the various types I was able to figure out a number of things.

bob
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Editor
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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2009, 07:21:20 PM »


I wish you well in your project gingerbob. There's this Martin Waligorski who would probably be a useful contact  Wink  ; other people who have combed the records and dug up new information are Neil Stirling and Peter Williams of WW II Aircraft Performance.

Sorry, been out straight.  Thanks for the well-wishes, I'll need them.

Who's this Martin chap? 

Well that would be me...  Grin. Dreaming of completing my own book in a long term, but currently stuck with other urgent issues such as the influence of the Spitfire on design of baby buggies...   Roll Eyes (see http://www.spitfiresite.com/hobbies/art-memorabilia/2009/06/click-on-image-to-enlarge-among-more.html)

"My" site should already be known http://spitfiresite.com.

/Martin
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gingerbob
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2009, 01:09:36 PM »


Who's this Martin chap? 

Well that would be me...  Grin. Dreaming of completing my own book in a long term, but currently stuck with other urgent issues such as the influence of the Spitfire on design of baby buggies...   Roll Eyes
/Martin

Martin, I was following Mr. Tiff's lead with tongue in cheek.  I almost threw in one of those demonic expression icons, but I prefer my humor to be slightly more subtle, rather than supply my own laugh track [come to think of it, I go through life supplying my own laugh track, but I always thought it was just in my own head...]  In all honesty I have only seen enough of your site (aren't we on an aspect of it as we speak?) to realize that I haven't yet understood how much there is to be found within it. 

Case in point- I had completely failed to make the connection between Spitfire landing gear and baby buggies!  Perhaps an appendix is in order.  I have to say looking at the photo it seems to have certain inaccuracies, but to be fair I haven't had the chance to examine one at first hand, or compare to drawings.  But we are getting extremely off the original intention of this thread!

I guess I should add (warn?) that I also hope my book is the funniest Spitfire history.  Tongue

With all due affection for fellow travelers on the path toward Supermarine enlightenment,

bob
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Big_guy
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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2009, 12:56:36 AM »

Edgar

"I've made a list of only those that I think might interest modellers, and, at double spacing, it runs to 16 A4 sheets!  If you want to see the ledger, its reference no. is B3606, but be sure to set aside a whole day (and then some.)"

Your research work and your findings sound really interesting; in fact I've always wondered if these mods were listed in one spot somewhere.

Is there a plan to publish your mods list somewhere where we can all see it?

Cheers,

Steve Sauvé
Ottawa, Canada
sb.sauve@gmail.com

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Cheers,

Steve Sauvé
Ottawa, Canada
sb.sauve@gmail.com

Main Spitfire Interest - RCAF Units in WW II
Edgar Brooks
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2009, 08:16:45 AM »

Afraid not; I have to sign an undertaking, with the museum, that nothing gets published without prior permission.  I don't blame them; I've seen instances of copies of their drawings being sold at somewhat inflated prices (the museum will sell you an A2 print for £2,) with the museum's reference number still visible.  There's also the consideration that there are over 2500 modifications, including the Seafire, and the ledger only contains 9 to a page, so it would be a heck of a thick publication!  It's a pity, too, that the first 50, or so, aren't included, so some very early material can't be found (yet.)  It's great fun, at times, though, tying up a mod no. with a drawing, and being able to get an answer to something that's been bugging researchers (and modellers) for some time.
Edgar
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 08:47:02 AM by Edgar Brooks » Logged
Big_guy
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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2009, 12:48:39 PM »

Edgar,

I was speaking of the 16 pages of 'distilled' notes you referred to, not the whole ledger, but I guess the Museum's will needs to be respected. Thanks, anyway.

It really does sound like a fascinating find .... I hope we'll see this information published someday.
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Cheers,

Steve Sauvé
Ottawa, Canada
sb.sauve@gmail.com

Main Spitfire Interest - RCAF Units in WW II
Edgar Brooks
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2009, 07:09:12 PM »

Sorry, I thought you meant the whole thing (heart missed a beat, there.)  You're quite welcome to a copy of what I've done so far (others have had a copy,) if you let me have an E-mail address, but please be aware that I've compiled it with modellers in mind, so it's a mite specific.  I'm continually updating it, of course, as I find more little snippets; I'm off to Hendon again, on Wednesday, this time on a hunt for wartime colours, though.
Edgar
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Big_guy
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« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2009, 09:15:23 PM »

Edgar,

Thank you very much!  I'd be happier than a pig in mud to have a copy of your modellers' mod notes (I claim to build in 1/48 scale, but it's at glacial speed). If you're keeping a distribution list for future updates, then please add my name to it.

On a sidebar note, my wife and I are planning a trip to southern England for a couple of weeks in October (I can't convince to move the trip to the right so I can go to the IPMS UK Nationals Cry ), so if you have any 'must see' recommendations for museums and the like, especially if there's a Spitfire connection, then I'd be happy to hear from you on that point, too.

sbsauve@rogers.com
or
sb.sauve@gmail.com

Thanks in advance!
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Cheers,

Steve Sauvé
Ottawa, Canada
sb.sauve@gmail.com

Main Spitfire Interest - RCAF Units in WW II
NZTyphoon
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2009, 04:58:26 AM »


I wish you well in your project gingerbob. There's this Martin Waligorski who would probably be a useful contact  Wink  ; other people who have combed the records and dug up new information are Neil Stirling and Peter Williams of WW II Aircraft Performance.

Sorry, been out straight.  Thanks for the well-wishes, I'll need them.

Who's this Martin chap? 

Well that would be me...  Grin. Dreaming of completing my own book in a long term, but currently stuck with other urgent issues such as the influence of the Spitfire on design of baby buggies...   Roll Eyes (see http://www.spitfiresite.com/hobbies/art-memorabilia/2009/06/click-on-image-to-enlarge-among-more.html)

"My" site should already be known http://spitfiresite.com.

/Martin

I wonder if the design will take off (hopefully with young pilot firmly strapped in) No sign of a control column or throttle lever and I have suspicions about the lack of elliptical wings.

Anyway, while digging around in the archives of Flight magazine I came across this interesting item:
Flight December 1938

What is really interesting here is the first paragraph describing the Merlin R.M 2M which was able to generate 1,265 hp at 7,870 feet, 1,285 hp at 9,180 feet and 1,320 hp at take off, using 100 octane fuel.  Then follows a description of the Merlin X with a two-speed blower. Bear in mind that these engines were exhibited at the Paris Air Show of 1938.

Although not strictly relevant to the Spitfire this is the first time I have seen anything relating to the Merlin engine being rated to use 100 octane fuel before 1940 - something I have not seen in any book on the Spitfire, including Morgan and Shacklady. One wonders what else may turn up with some careful digging?
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