Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire

ISBN: 9781800352513
Format: Paperback

Book Details

Alex Henshaw was awarded his private pilot’s in 1932 and made a name for himself during the 1930s competing in the air races which were to popular at the time. At the start of World War Two he became a test pilot first for Vickers Armstrong but was then invited by Jeffrey Quill to test Spitfires at Eastleigh. In June 1940, Henshaw moved to the Castle Bromwich factory in Birmingham shortly afterwards becoming Chief Test Pilot there.

In the years that followed, he flew thousands of the Spitfires and Seafires which were built at the plant, sometimes test flying as many as 20 different aircraft in a single day. By the end of the war, 37,000 test flights had been made with Henshaw flying an estimated ten percent of all Spitfires ever built. It could be hazardous work and two test pilots working from Castle Bromwich were killed in crashes. Often flying in poor conditions and landing without aids of any kind, Henshaw’s breathtaking acrobatic style and complete mastery of the aircraft were to save his life on several occasions.

This is a new impression of a classic book about a truly classic aircraft. Much has been written about the Spitfire but as the reviewer of Sigh for a Merlin in Pilot Magazine put it, ‘If you only buy one Spitfire book, make this it.’

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