Hurricane: A Fighter Legend

Hurricane: A Fighter Legend
The dale was 24 September 1938. The place was RAF Biggin Hill. My excitement was intense for today 1 was to fly Hurricane LI655, the rust of No 32 Sqn's long awaited replacements for our Closter Gauntlet biplanes-
Having studied Pilot's Notes T climbed into the cockpit and sat for a while finding my way around the levers and switches, then started up and taxied over the grass - we had no runways - to the boundary, turned into wind and took off. The big two-bladed wooden propellor gave surprisingly rapid acceleration, whilst the throaty roar of the Merlin and the solid, rugged, feel of the aircraft as it bounded over the uneven surface stimulated and inspired confidence. Retracting the wheels, a novel experience, involved moving the left hand from throttle to stick and select wheels up with the right hand and depressing the pump lever until the wheels locked up. As this loss of throttle control made formation take-offs unusually interesting we later surreptitiously attached a Bowden cable from the stick to the lever to avoid the hand change. Now airborne, I closed the canopy, another novel experience, and relieved of the head-buffeting slipstream of an open cockpit, settled down to enjoy myself.
Having climbed to a safe height I tried a variety of aerobatics and was delighted by the immediate and smooth response to the controls. When stalling the aircraft 1 was interested to note that the right wing dropped, a Sidney Camm characteristic I had found common in other aircraft he had designed. On landing from this 50-minute 'Type experience' flight I looked forward with exultation to the future, and the opportunity to get to know the Hurricane really well.