Operating the Merlin


The Merlin was, by wartime standards, a reliable engine. To quote the Spitfire’s chief test pilot Jeffrey Quill, “I learned to be meticulous in the matter of correct engine handling at all times, and although I never hesitated to run a Merlin to the absolute limit of its capabilities, I was careful never to exceed those limits except when unavoidable. In return the engine hardly ever let me down and such total power failures as I experienced — and over the years inevitably there were many — were due as often as not to extraneous causes rather than to anything fundamental to the engine. The Merlin really was the pilot’s friend.”

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