"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
 Navy Spits
      VCS-7 In Normandy

Lt. Francis Cahill, USNR, prepares to mount his Spitfire Vb for a gunfire spotting mission in June of 1944. His plane captain, John F. Mulreany, one of 40 enlisted sailors assigned to VCS-7, is ready to help him don his R.A.F. seat parachute which is fitted with a K type dinghy.
Others have noted that the bottom portion of this Spitfire's black fuselage invasion stripe has not yet been completed.

Once settled in the cockpit, the pilot would go through his check list, set the controls and begin the procedure for starting the Rolls Royce Merlin V-12 engine. The morning of D-Day was cool, with temperatures in the low 40s (F). Ignition and starting magneto were switched on and the starter and booster coil buttons were pressed. While the engine was being turned, the pilot's hand priming pump was worked as rapidly as possible. At that temperature, it would take about 10 strokes. After the engine fired, it was run as slowly as possible for half a minute, then warmed up at a fast tick-over. While warming up, the pilot would monitor the temperatures, pressures and controls and insure that the cockpit hood was locked open. When the engine was sufficiently warm, two ground crewmen would sit on the tailplane while the pilot opened up to maximum boost and checked the operation of the propeller. Next, he would open the throttle fully while checking take-off boost and r.p.m. before checking the magnetos. If all were operating satisfactorily, the crewmen would dismount their perch and the pilot would then proceed away from the hardstand with bursts of throttle, weave down the taxiway and wait at the end of the runway for the signal to take off. The takeoff run for the light and powerful Spitfire was relatively short. After a quick circuit over the aerodrome and joining up with his wingman, a course was set for the flight out over the English Channel, now filled with the vast Allied invasion armada below, and on to the Norman coast to play their important role in the assault on Fortress Europe.

Press the play button below, sit back, close your eyes and take a trip back in time while imagining what it must have been like on that early June morning in 1944.