SIGH for a MERLIN
Testing The Spitfire
Signed by Alex Henshaw
Signed by Alex Henshaw on the title page
Wing Commander Peter Ayrest DFC
Crécy Publishing reprint 2004. 240 pages and well illustrated with photographs
Mint condition card cover book. As new and unread.
Famous for his pre-war record breaking aviation exploits, Alex Henshaw spent the early days of World War II at Eastleigh testing the immortal Spitfire fighter with Jeffrey Quill before being appointed Chief Test Pilot at Supermarine’s new factory at Castle Bromwich.
Thousands of Spitfires were tested and manufactured at this site throughout the war, by the end of which 37,000 test flights had been made with Alex Henshaw flying an estimated ten percent of all Spitfires ever built. Often landing without aids of any kind, his breath-taking aerobatic style and complete mastery of the aircraft were to save his life on several occasions.
Peter Ayrest did a tour as a production test pilot at Castle Bromwich as part of Henshaw’s team just after the war ended and is mentioned on page 183. As part of his training he was on board a Lancaster, learning the ropes, when Henshaw demonstrated a barrel roll (as described in Ayerst’s memoir ‘Spirit of the Blue‘).
This is one of the classic books on the Spitfire and is essential reading for any enthusiast and a perfect gift for a Spitfire fan.