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Spitfire - A Test Pilot's Story (Crecy Soft Cover Range) Paperback – September 1, 1998


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Paperback, September 1, 1998
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Spitfire - A Test Pilot's Story (Crecy Soft Cover Range) + Sigh for a Merlin : Testing the Spitfire + R.J. Mitchell: Schooldays to Spitfire
Price for all three: $55.29

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Product Details

  • Series: Soft Cover
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crecy Publishing Limited; New edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0947554726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0947554729
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,340,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Bryan on December 11, 2000
Mr. Quill outlines his life in aviation from the early 1900s until the advent of the early jet fighters, from the flying of which he had to retire from medical reasons. From 1936 until 1946, he was the main developmental test pilot of the Spitfire in all its 56 variants. This almost mystic aircraft still looks sleek and potent even now in the aircraft museums around the world. The subtle refinements of engine and airframe, along with the cure for alarming deficiencies, all are chronicled here, along with interesting autobiographical anecdotes. The British aeroplane industry indeed was a world beater in those years, and still some of the refinements used in the Spitfire could be yet applied to some later aircraft with good results. However, the interest of the industry went quickly to the jet, causing the grounding of Mr. Quill due to the time spent at altitude in unpressurized cabins. This book is an outstanding read for those interested in the evolution of aircraft, the achievement of excellence, and the drama of the Second World War.

(For an interesting "coincidence" of this review appearing elsewhere unattributed, see: [...] I have emailed the firm involved, and have "not received the favour of a response.")
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Hassall on July 29, 2006
If you have even the slightest interest in the history and development of the Spitfire, this Book, and 'Sigh for a Merlin, Alex Henshaw' are the only place to start. Both excellently written giving each authors account of their involvement in aviation and the Spitfire's development before and throughout WWII.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ian Robert Carron on September 3, 2008
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A fascinating read from a pilot who not only test flew all the Marks of this famous design, but also took it into combat. A not to be missed book by anyone interested in the development of R J Mitchell's superb WWII fighter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Theo J. on May 16, 2012
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It's not surprising that Geoffrey Quill would become a superb test pilot. As a a precocious Royal Air Force junior officer he'd taken any number of chances, especially flying in frequently-awful conditions to obtain weather data. On leaving the RAF, he went to Vickers' Supermarine division---and became intensely involved with developing the Spitfire prototype into a front-line fighter. Quill went on on to help keep the airplane at the forefront of combat aircraft right through World War Two, and flew tours with the RAF and Royal Navy in order to do so. One of the most fortunate, yet surprising things about Quill was his superb writing ability. He vividly recounts his friendship with Spitfire designer Reginald Mitchell, who translated his experience with Schneider Cup-winning racing planes into a supremely graceful fighter airframe. Mitchell was also bravely fighting a losing battle with cancer, which claimed him in 1937. Quill watched Britain's government vacillate in the late Thirties between popular anti-war sentiment and the imminent threat of Hitler's Luftwaffe, all while the aircraft industry struggled to modernize long-neglected production capabilities. Thanks largely to his skills as a developmental test pilot, the Allies had a most potent weapon in their arsenal from war's outbreak to the final victory. And Jeffrey Quill left yet another enduring legacy, in the form of this fine book. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rocketmanjohn on November 4, 2011
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A great story about a great man, well, just a boy really. I'm amazed how someone so young could train and fly a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain. His writings are well produced and not in the style of a hero. Just how these boys handled the stress is beyond me, many died and many, including the author, suffered mentally. Todays kids could do well to read this and see what is possible when one really works at it.
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