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As many of you may know, the Haynes Publishing Group have been making the now world famous Haynes Owners' Workshop Manuals for just about every car and motorcycle built since the 60's. In the last few years Haynes have expanded by making all sorts of workshop manuals for many different things some examples I have seen include: The Baby manual, the Dishwasher manual, the Laptop manual, the Ebay manual and many more.
I suppose in that case is was inevitable that Haynes would publish an Owners' Workshop Manual on what is considered by many to be the greatest fighter aircraft of all time.....
the Supermarine Spitfire.
I am an aviation enthusiast, so when I first saw this book for sale, I decided that at some point I must get it. Then on christmas day what should Father Christmas bring me but the Haynes Supermarine Spitfire Owners' Workshop Manual!
The manual has been written by 2 former members of the RAF; Dr Alfred Price who is an ex-crewman and now a full time writer and avation historian and Paul Blackah who was a full time airframe fitter with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and is now a reservist airframe specialist with the BBMF following his retirement in 2002.
The BBMF currently has 5 spitfires in its possession and this manual has been written about restoration work carried out on these aircraft over the winter months.
It starts with a fairly comprehensive history of the spitfire and its various different marks, all supported by many colour and balck and white pictures.
After this the manual moves into more technical areas, concentrating on restoration including a section on the Rolls Royce Merlin engine! I will stress that unlike the car manuals, this is not a bolt to bolt rebuild manual. By this I mean you could not rebuild an entire spitfire using only this! I personally think that this does not take away from the book as it is still an excellent read. To cover every mark of spitfire with both merlin and griffon engine variants as an actual complete rebuild book, it would have to have gigantic dimensions and I think that would take the fun out of the read.
Next is the owners view, this section is basically about how to acquire a spitfire, finding the right one, alternatives i.e replicas,
costs and all the pros and cons of owning one.
Following this is a section on the pilots view of a spitfire.
It includes things like pre flight checks and views of the spitfire by the pilots who have and do fly in them.
Next is a section on the engineers view of the spitfire, to sum up this chapter is basically about how to safely work on a spitfire, information on servicing one and preservation of a spitfire.
To close the book we are left with a 2 page epilogue the appendices (which includes a list of airworthy spitfire around the world) and the index.
The reason I have given an overview on the book with very little opinion is basically because I have enjoyed every single bit of this book. If like me you are an aviation fanatic, I think you will love it. I do not think this is for the general interest fan as it is rather in depth and I really would say that only somebody with a real interest in aircraft should consider buying it.
In conclusion this is an excellent read for the aviation enthusiast, particularly one who is partial to the spitfire or WW2 era aircraft. It is a well thought out book, brimming with information, good quality pictures and diagrams. Do not expect a manual virtually identical to your mondeo Haynes manual because this is not it. This is an excellent book particularly if you wish to use it for reference or just for an interesting read.
The good news is that Hanyes are planning to release more manuals based on vintage aircraft namely the Hawker Hurricane and the Hawker Typhoon.
The recommended retail price for this book is £17.99 and is available from the Haynes Publishing website.
The legendary Supermarine Spitfire receives the famous Haynes manual treatment with the full co-operation and authorisation of the Royal Air Force. Here is a unique insight into what it takes to own, restore and operate a Spitfire, as well as providing a wonderful insight into the engineering and construction of this remarkable aeroplane. Presented mainly in colour, this highly detailed and attractively designed manual is based around the restoration of the Spitfire Mk XVI at RAF Coningsby.