Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Haynes Spitfire Manual

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who have owned a Haynes Manual and those who haven't.  Haynes are firmly entrenched as the manual to own if you ever get your hands dirty fixing a car or motorbike.  Whether you just want to learn how to change a tyre or oil filter, or if you're a professional mechanic, or even a classic car restorer, Haynes are the benchmark.  They're written by stripping a car down to each individual nut, bolt and shim and rebuilding it, you can't really get a more comprehensive guide.

A few years ago they started branching out a little, producing some titles that weren't really within the original remit.  One of the first was a guide to the male human body, a slightly tongue in cheek reference to the fact that many men look after their cars more carefully than their own bodies.  This particular manual is like nothing else though - the Haynes Supermarine Spitfire Manual (1936 onwards, all marks)!

I can't imagine anyone reading a blog about science books doesn't know all about the Spitfire, the legendary British WWII fighter.  Whilst the Hurricane outperformed it in many ways the Spitfire is the one that still features in every boy's dreams.  A Rolls-Royce powered single seat aircraft that is pretty much the pinnacle of pre-jet military aircraft.

Given the situation they were built in - a resource stripped rush, and mostly under wartime secrecy - there isn't an extant all-purpose engineering manual for them, and Haynes haven't tried to produce one.  Instead this book is aimed more at the small but enthusiastic group of modern day restorers.  Most of the parts are no longer available, and there are only a handful of surviving aircraft, so much of the manual is devoted to the professional and garden shed attempts to replicate the parts that are needed to keep a seventy year old machine airworthy,  There are glimpses into both the engineering behind the original and the modern day devotees who ensure that a beautiful machine can still occasionally be glimpsed in British skies.

Haynes Supermarine Spitfire Manual
Alfred Price, Paul Blackah
Haynes Publishing

No comments:

Post a Comment