Spitfire Pilot: The Book That Puts You Inside The Cockpit

I don’t know why I didn’t start reading this kind of books earlier. I loved this one.

Spitfire Pilot: A Personal Account of the Battle of Britain is a book written in 1940 by Flight Lieutenant David Crook DFC. It wasn’t written as a book but as his personal diary during the Battle of Britain in World War II and was then published as a book.

The book is written in first person and with great detail, so you really feel you are inside the cockpit of probably the best warbird of WWII: The Spitfire. It is full of continuous action without any boring moment. It’s really hard to stop reading.

This is a narration from the times before the War until he left his squadron (609) to be an instructor in 1940 and had this first son. I’ll share some passages from the book that I found describe the essence of it perfectly. I couldn’t recommend it enough.

The effect of a Spitfire’s eight guns has to be seen to be believed. Hundreds of bullets poured into him and he rocked violently, then turned over on his back, burst into flames and dived straight down into the sea a few miles off Swanage. The pilot made no attempt to get out and was obviously dead.


Superior height, as I said before, is the whole secret of success in air fighting.

Spitfire chasing Me 109

Then, down we went. I happened to be almost last on the line, and I shall never forget seeing the long line of Spitfires ahead, sweeping down and curling round at terrific speed to strike right into the middle of the German formation. It was superb!


We realized now the vital importance of getting above the enemy before going into action; we knew that cool thinking and the element of surprise can more than compensate for inferior numbers, and can sometimes produce astonishing results; we knew from experience that if you attack out of the sun the enemy will hardly ever see you till the last moment; and vice versa.


But experienced pilots could never be replaced. You could only train the new ones as best you could, keep them out of trouble as much as possible in the air, and hope they would live long enough to gain some experience. Sometimes they did.


As we were climbing over the Isle of Wight at about 25,000 feet we sighted the German bombers some distance away to the south, a great mass of machines coming steadily on in very good formation. Above them, ranging up to about 35,000 feet, the Me. 109s were circling round and round so that every now and then I could see a quick flash as their wings caught the sun. They were watching us like cats, just waiting for us to attack the bombers, and then the fun would start and it would be the usual hair-raising competition to see if we could get to the bombers before the 109s got to us.


We were very close to them now and we started to dive. I think that these moments just before the clash are the most gloriously exciting moments of life. You sit there behind a great engine that seems as vibrant and alive as you are yourself, your thumb waits expectantly on the trigger, and your eyes watch the gun sights through which in a few seconds an enemy will be flying in a veritable hail of fire. And all round you, in front and behind, there are your friends too, all eager and excited, all thundering down together into the attack! The memory of such moments is burnt into my mind for ever.


I used to love flying with the squadron like this. It was always a grand sight to see twelve Spitfires sweeping along together in formation – twelve pilots, fifteen thousand horsepower, and ninety-six machine-guns with a total fire power of 120,000 rounds a minute. Altogether quite a formidable proposition!

3 Podcasts You Need To Listen To If You Are Into Startups, Entrepreneurship And Technology

After years of not being subscribed to any podcast, I started listening to them again.

Here are some of my favorites. It’s amazing that you can (still) find great content online for free!

The #AskGaryVee Show

The #AskGaryVee ShowBy Gary Vaynerchuck. He answers your questions about social media, entrepreneurship and business sent to him by via Instagram, Twitter or actually any online channel. Really good stuff, with the personality that characterizes Gary.

Website
iTunes link

MVP

MVPBy Peter Rojas and Ryan Block. It’s a show about technology products. Ryan was the editor in chief of the popular tech products site Engadget and Peter is the co-founder of Gizmodo, so these guys are probably the most qualified to host this podcast.

Website
iTunes link

The Distance

The DistanceBy Wailin Wong from Basecamp. This podcast is about businesses that have been operating for at least 20 years and the people who got them there. It highlights the importance of creating businesses for the marathon and not just for a sprint.

Website
iTunes link

ElectriFly Cosmic Wind

When I first saw this plane at the field I instantly wanted it. Its sleek fiber glass fuselage, practical size, high quality and incredible old school design make it must-have RC plane.

The ElectriFly Cosmic Wind is a very faithful replica of the 1947 monoplane designed specifically for The Goodyear Trophy, as part of the Formula One Air Racing.

The Cosmic Wind ARF comes in a small box with a relatively low part count.

Some things are already done for you like the pre-hinged ailerons, which really make this model an example of an ARF plane. The manual is really detailed and includes nice pictures that leave almost nothing to the imagination, which is great.

Let’s put this plane together

ElectriFly Cosmic Wind box

Monokote coveringThe first step after checking that the box includes all the parts is to check the Monokote covering on the wings, rudder and elevator. I had to tighten the covering using a covering iron because the plane came with several wrinkles. The iron made it look perfect after that.

Next, I assembled the wing by joining the wing halves using the supplied wood joiner, 30-minute epoxy and the carbon alignment pin.

After that, I installed the main landing gear which was really easy. No glue was used in this step, but only the supplied screws.

Cosmic Wind landing gear

The stabilizer is not part of the fiber glass fuselage so I inserted and glued it with epoxy. As with every airplane, it’s very important to make sure that it is properly aligned. The elevator is not pre-hinged like the ailerons so I installed it with the provided hinges and some drops of CA glue. Using T-pins help keep the hinges centered before applying the glue. The rudder was installed the same way.

Elevator and Rudder

The plane is designed to use the Electrifly RimFire .10 Outrunner Brushless motor and its installation was really easy using the provided machine screws. The ESC is also made by ElectriFly and can be attached to the side of the fuselage using Velcro.

ElectriFly ESC

Pushrods are already cut to the exact size and include the Z-bends so no extra work in this step. These little details add to the quality of this model.

Cosmic Wind servos

The wheel collars allow you to adjust the movement of the rudder and elevator.

Cosmic Wind wing servo

The wings use only one servo in the middle.

After the servos and pushrods are installed, I finished the model by gluing the pilot and the canopy and installing the battery strap behind the motor. The pilot I used was not the one mentioned in the manual, but this Hobby King WW2 Pilot that I trimmed a little bit so it fitted the canopy. I think it looks better than the one suggested in the manual.

Cosmic Wind Pilot and Cockpit

The Cosmic Wind also comes with several decals so you can customize it the way you want.

Let’s fly!

Taking off was easier than expected. Ground handling was great before the Cosmic Wind was in the air. It only took a few meters and half throttle.

Once in the air I noticed that the up-elevator was a little too high so I immediately trimmed it to fly straight and level. It took a few laps around the circuit to get used to the way it flies but after that, I felt much more comfortable with it.

The Cosmic Wind is a bullet in the air! It flew two times after its maiden and I applied full throttle only in the last fly, after I got used to the controls. But once you do that, it’s hard not to want to fly fast all the time!

Basic aerobatics were easy too. The little RimFire .10 motor has plenty of power to do big loops even at half to 3/4 throttle. Rolls are easier to do with the high rate setting, since it’s not an aerobatic plane but a racer.

Summary

I really enjoy to fly this plane. It’s fast and nimble and its bright red color and design make it look great in the air. I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a practical, fun and fast plane. It is also a nice first electric plane since its components are not too complex.

The building process is not difficult, especially if you’ve put together another ARF before.

Let me know if you have any questions about the Cosmic Wind in the comments below.

I now leave you with a photo gallery of the EectriFly Cosmic Wind.