If the Supermarine Spitfire isn’t the iconic fighter of World War II, it’s in the top three. There are just a handful flying and in this video, Dave Hadfield, of Vintage Wings of Canada, shows us how to start the Merlin and then takes the airplane out for a formation photo shoot.


  1. This is a magnificent video! I’ve only heard the Merlin from outside the aircraft. To hear it in the cockpit, particularly on take-off, is pure music. Excellent commentary too.
    On another note, what is the instrument on the extreme left of the panel? It looks like it’s sticking out, but clearly has a function.

    • That is a g-meter. The main needle indicates the current g-load, and there are also limit needles showing the highest and lowest g-reading since the meter was last reset.

  2. Cool video! I especially liked the section about how to start the big Merlin engine. Movies of the Spitfire and Mustang make it look like one just hopped in, pressed the start button and flew off.

  3. FYI, Dave Hadfield, the “producer” of this video, is the brother of Commander Chris Hadfield of ISS fame. Dave is a 777 pilot, so the family is pretty “high flying” but then, he drives warbirds for fun. How cool is that?