Pen and Sword Books: Secrets of the Spitfire by Lance Cole

Secrets of the Spitfire
Secrets of the Spitfire (6 reviews)
The Story of Beverley Shenstone, The Man Who Perfected the Elliptical Wing
by Lance Cole
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Found in: Military Biography
Aviation Reference Books,
Spitfires & Hurricanes Books
270 pages
ISBN: 9781848848962
Published: 23 May 2012
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This book tells the tale of the brilliant aerodynamicist Beverley Shenstone MASc, HonFRAes, FAIAA,AFIAS, FCASI, HonOSTIV. As R.J. Mitchell’s chief aerodynamicist, it was Shenstone who designed the Spitfire’s wing – the wing that gave the Spitfire it crucial advantage in the Battle of Britain and beyond. A quiet man, Shenstone never sought glory for his work, yet in recent years he has been credited as the man who persuaded Mitchell to adopt the ellipse – a modified ellipse that was unique in its shape and its combined use of two integrated aerofoil sections. Shenstone’s knife-edge shape reached far back into early aeronautics for its inspiration. This book also names the other forgotten Spitfire design contributors who were Mitchell’s men – Mr Faddy, Mr Fear, Mr Fenner, Mr Shirvall, a Prof Howland and others.

Intriguingly, Shenstone had left his native Canada and early training as an RCAF pilot, to study at Junkers and then under the father of the delta wing – Alexander Lippisch in Germany in the early 1930s. There, he became immersed in delta wings and flying wings. He also became a glider pilot. The story of how Beverley came to be in the right place at the right time is revealed for the first time. So too are the enigmatic tales of his involvement with the military, the intelligence world, Lord Beaverbrook , the USAF, and Canadian aviation.

During the war Shenstone worked at the top secret Wright Patterson air force base and was involved with the Air Ministry and the pro-British movement in America when Shenstone worked for Air Chief Marshal Sir Wilfrid Freeman, the unsung hero behind British defence procurement. Shenstone achieved high office – a President of the Royal Aeronautical Society, technical director at BOAC, chief engineer at BEA and a consultant to several aircraft makers. He was courted by Avro, de Havilland and Vickers, and was the force behind the renaissance of human-powered flight.

Using exclusive access to his family documents, his unpublished autobiography and many notes and stories, as well as forensic research, this book details for the first time, a new twist to the Spitfire’s story and the secrets of its advanced science. A tale of design and military intelligence reveals a story of a man whose name should be more widely known in the UK, Canada and the aviation world.
Product Reviews
Anyone interested in seeing how talented engineers seek and find solutions toward flight characteristics...should find Secrets of the Spitfire a satisfying read.
Aviation History
In his latest tome, Secrets of the Spitfire (Pen and Sword 19.99) Lance Cole tells the story of the Canadian aerodynamicist Beverley Shenstone.
While Shenstone is not a household aviation name like RJ Mitchell or... [read full review]

Flight International / Flight Global
The Supermarine Spitfire must rival the Porsche 911 in terms of the number of books written about it - but this engrossing hardback has just one target in its sights: to put the record straight... [read full review]
Octane magazine
A Landmark Spitfire publication
I just finished reading this truly excellent book on the Spitfire and just as importantly Beverley Shenstone who was instrumental in guiding the aerodynamics of the wing resulting in the unique... [read full review]

Christopher Brown
A pleasure to read. This is one of those books that an aviation enthusiast cannot be without.
Firetrench Reviews
The Story of Beverley Shenstone, The Man Who Perfected the Elliptical Wing

For the many Spitfire enthusiasts out there I assume this book adds a slightly new twist to the history of its... [read full review]

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About Lance Cole
Lance Cole (48) has been a journalist and author for over 25 years. He was the 1983 Sir William Lyons Scholar and has written features and news items for all the major automotive and aviation titles. Syndicated worldwide, he has also been a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The South China Post, and numerous imprints. He is a regular broadcaster – including with BBC Radio 4. He is the author of 8 books - notably Vickers VC10 with a Foreword by Brian Trubshaw, and Heavies – voted by Alan de Botton as one of his favourite books. Lance is well known for his regular opinions in Flight International magazine. He is a glider pilot and trained designer.