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Spitfire 16 Pilot's Notes

Spitfire 16 Pilot's Notes

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Prepared by Direction of
The Minister of Supply

Promulgated by Order of The Air Council

AIR MINISTRY, London, 1949

A rare original 1949 edition of the Pilot's Notes for the Mark 16 Supermarine Spitfire. This edition is particularly special as it was the personal copy of Squadron Leader R. L. Fuller, commanding officer of the RAF Handling Squadron from 1948-1950. His initials, dated 25/10/49 are on the amendments page, and he has written 'O.C. Handling Squadron' on the front cover. The Handling Squadron was the RAF unit directly responsible for the production of this book. Covering the flying characteristics, instruments, systems, engine controls, handling, take off, landing, and emergency drills for the Spitfire 16, it is illustrated with three folding photographic illustrations of the cockpit, controls, and instruments.

Spitfire 16 (MK XVI): The Mk XVI (known as the '16' after 1948) was the same as the Mk IX in nearly all respects except for the engine, a Merlin 266. The Merlin 266 was the Merlin 66, but built under licence in the USA by the Packard Motor Company. The "2" was added as a prefix in order to avoid confusion with the British made engines, as they required different tooling. All Mk XVI aircraft produced were of the Low-Altitude Fighter (LF) variety. This was not determined by the length of the wings (clipped wings were fitted to most LF Spitfires), but by the engine, which had been optimised for low-altitude operation. All production Mk XVIs had clipped wings for low altitude work and were fitted with the rear fuselage fuel tanks with a combined capacity of 75 gallons. Many XVIs featured cut-down rear fuselages with bubble canopies. Because of a slightly taller intercooler and rearranged accessories on the Packard Merlins a new, bulged upper cowling was introduced. Armament for most Mk XVIs consisted of 2 × 20 mm Hispano II cannon and 2 × .50 calibre Browning machine guns. 1 × 500 lb (227 kg) bomb could be carried underneath the centre rack, and 1 × 250 lb (114 kg) bomb could be slung under each wing. A total of 1,054 Mk XVIs were built at Castle Bromwich.

RAF Handling Squadron: was formed as the RAF Handling Flight in December 1938 as part of the Central Flying School. Based at Upavon, its purpose was to prepare Pilot's Notes for each new type of aircraft that was introduced into service. One aircraft of each new type was sent to Upavon where 'Examining Officers' of Squadron Leader and Wing Commander rank, with the highest instructional categories and exceptional knowledge of instrument flying, were given the task of determining the best handling techniques, and drills for every forseeable emergency. Their findings would be written up as the Pilot's Notes.

The Handling Flight became the Handling Squadron in June 1941, moved first to Manby in 1949, and then finally to Boscombe Down in April 1954. The unit would have been directly responsible for the notes for the Spitfire 16, and as its C.O. from 1948-50 Squadron Leader Fuller would have been closley involved in the book's production.

Group Captain Roy Leslie Fuller A.F.C. : was commissioned as a Pilot officer in the RAF in November 1939. On 26th March 1940 he was injured in the crash of a Coastal Command aircraft, Beaufort L4481, at St Athan. The other crew members were F/Lt H. M. Styles (uninjured) and Cpl. F. Larman (injured). In September 1941 he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant, and by 1945 he was a Squadron Leader. From 1948-50 Squadron Leader Fuller was commanding officer of the Handling Squadron. In 1954 he was promoted to Wing Commander, and in 1956 was C.O. of 61 Squadron, flying Canberra bombers. In July 1963 he was promoted to Group Captain.


In good condition. The card cover in good condition with general signs of use, wear to the edges, some marks, and a small punched hole at the top corner. The stapled binding is secure, although the original staples are rusty. The text and illustrations are in very good condition, with a punched hole at the top corner. With the inscription 'O.C. Handling Squadron, 4th edition, Do Not Remove' on the front cover and initialled 'R. L. F. 25/10/49' on the amendments page.

Published: 1949
Blue/Green card cover with black titling
Dimensions : 130mm x 195mm
Pages: 36 (plus fold-out illustrations)