30 October, 2016

Profile 124: FINISHED—"EB F" as flown by F/L John Wilkinson, 41 Squadron

Have a look—there will never be a shape like this again.

It. Is. Beautiful.   But, the Spitfire Mk.XIV was also a beast.

If you look closely at the cowling, you'll see a distinctive bulge over the airplane's shark-line nose.  Such space was necessary as it helped streamline (and contain) the Rolls Royce "Griffon" engine's 2,000+ horsepower.  Putting this into perspective, the American P-51 Mustang got by on 'only' 1,500hp.  The two airplanes weighed about the same, making the horsepower differential all-the-more interesting!

(insert daydream: If I could only go back in time...)

But, as interesting as facts and data are, the real beauty in this kind of work is 'the story.'

Again, my airplane drawings are just drawings.   But the history?  That's life.

Above—a month or so ago, I received an Apple Pencil and of course, started goofing around with it right away.
This is a time-laps of one of my first sketches (probably 90-120 seconds of actual work) and depicts
John Wilkinson flying a "razor-back" Spitfire Mk.XIV circa 1944

Meeting "EB F's" pilot, F/L John Wilkinson, was an exercise in the frustrations of story-getting; it was too brief.  Of course, it always is—how do you tell a man's tale in any span less than his actual age?!

Still...'got 16 minutes?

Have a look below at our latest Short entitled, "The Gentleman Next Door."  Though it's not long enough, it will give you a glimpse into what it's like to spend time with these rare partakers of exceptional history.

The Gentleman Next Door - The John Wilkinson Story from John Mollison on Vimeo.

I hope John's story has inspired you to have a conversation with someone important in your life.  And if you think John's story can help inspire someone else, please share the link. 

An 11 year old girl meets a 94 year old man (F/L John Wilkinson).
This is where the baton gets handed off...
Photo:  Me, taken at the film Premiere of "The Gentleman Next Door," South Dakota Air & Space Museum