On Spitfires (Part One)

‘Indicator’ tells all ‘Indicator’ filed a long series of impressions of Allied aircraft for Flight magazine in the years after World War 2. While Flight didn’t give his identity away (most likely because he was still in uniform) he was definitely a test pilot – probably at the RAF’s Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment, Boscombe Down. Mind you, he also seems to have done some … Continue reading On Spitfires (Part One)

The inimitable Mr. Hanna

F**king f**k! I know you’ve probably seen this clip before (and if you haven’t you’re in for a treat!) but I just couldn’t spend a month celebrating Spitfires and not include it. It never gets old. I’m sure the presenter, noted racing driver Alain de Cadenet, has never forgotten his brush with that high-performance vehicle! It’s fun to note that the Spitfire was climbing by the … Continue reading The inimitable Mr. Hanna

The man inside K5054

‘Don’t change anything’ You’ll hear this story a lot at the start of every March – on the 5th of the month, 1936, Vickers’ Chief Test Pilot ‘Mutt’ Summers took the prototype Supermarine Spitfire, K5054, for its first flight. On landing, he’s widely reported to have said ‘Don’t change anything’ – or words to that effect. There’s been a lot of speculation about this brusque … Continue reading The man inside K5054

‘Nose Art’ by Manolo Chrétien

Picture this You’re still a child, asleep in your upstairs bedroom. You’re probably dreaming you can fly… but the tranquility is suddenly ripped apart by a thundering roar outside your window. You draw back the curtain to look out and, right there, literally metres away, is the nose of an Aérospatiale Alouette helicopter with your father inside motioning that it’s time you got up. Beyond, … Continue reading ‘Nose Art’ by Manolo Chrétien

Luftwaffe Fighter Force

Luftwaffe Fighter Force The View From The Cockpit Edited by David C. Isby We’re extremely lucky, these days, to live in an age when former enemies can be be widely reconciled, respected and remembered for the honour of their service. Among other things, it means we can read  countless thrilling memoirs by the aerial warriors we want to study and admire. But it wasn’t always … Continue reading Luftwaffe Fighter Force

Arnold AR-5 Homebuilt

Why It Goes So Fast

The Arnold AR-5 In August 1992, an ex film-maker from Northern California set the normally studious world of aerodynamics ablaze. It wasn’t just that Mike Arnold had designed and built his own plane in a cramped former restaurant, or that he’d set an official world speed record for aircraft under 300kg (FAI Sub-class C-1a/0) of 343.08 km/h over a 3km straight course. It wasn’t even … Continue reading Why It Goes So Fast

Flying the Fourteen

A few weeks back, the hugely admirable John Mollison posted a new Old Guys & Their Airplanes clip to accompany his finished illustration of F/L John Wilkinson’s Spitfire Mk.XIV. Perhaps I should have that the other way around… Anyway, John’s post, clip and artwork reminded me that I had a pilot’s review of the XIV in my collection, and it seemed appropriate to share it. Unlike … Continue reading Flying the Fourteen

The loss of ‘Old Bag of Bolts’

“…But Bolts couldn’t make it back with the remaining fuel. She headed towards an island for an emergency landing. Her position was radioed to aid in the rescue of her crew. Then Bolts gave out of gas. She sat down in the water a few hundred feet off shore… Members of her crew swam to safety and later were rescued by a submarine. Beyond saving … Continue reading The loss of ‘Old Bag of Bolts’