Highland Park wrote:...and I much prefer the Griffon-engined versions to the Merlin engined versions...
We had a guy who would come to our PFA (as was) strut meetings who, late in the war, had flown Spitfires. He told the story of how he went to collect a new one to ferry somewhere.
Apparently briefings were pretty much 'Here are the Pilots Notes, off you go.'
In he got, started up, taxied out, lined up and opened the throttle. Only at that point did he realise it had a Griffon as it turned the other way and he nearly lost it off the side of the runway!
That little foible could catch out even the most experienced aviator. Winkle Brown records how he - fully briefed and cognisant of the change in prop rotation (and therefore torque effect) occasioned by the adoption of the Griffon – sat in the cockpit of the Seafire XV for its first deck launch. Now ensconced in an otherwise familiar Seafire environment he promptly forgot about the change of engine. He then equally promptly wound on full rudder trim as usual for a (Merlin powered) Seafire and released the brakes………
Said Seafire XV ‘accelerated like a scalded cat ‘ but took up a deck run of something like 85 deg to the right of the intended direction and disappeared over the side of the ship in front of, and just missing, the deck island, much to the consternation of the deck handlers in front of and to the right of the aeroplane.
Just goes to show that familiarity can, indeed, breed contempt – that can then 'bite yo’ ass!'
Still think the Mk XIV was the best looking and effective Spit of all - even Galland was recorded as writing: "The best thing about the Spitfire XIV was that there were so [relatively] few of them." (my [ ] insert); and that's some accolade!