The Spitfire Mk XIV in Aces High II
There really are mixed opinions on the SpitXIV in general. Used in it's element it is a wonderful plane, but used outside of that is just another Spitfire, but that's not a bad thing. To control the use of the SpitXIV it has a perk cost attached to it, so you need to use it wisely and not just throw it away by getting into poor situations and not giving yourself a chance to escape. The Spit XIV is a killer, no doubt, and at some altitudes can show every other propeller driven plane exactly what the Spitfire is all about, a killer.
The Spitfire Mk XIV is an excellent plane, although it is one that shows its advantages under certain conditions while also showing that it is quite "ordinary" under others. Ordinary isn't a bad thing, but is certainly isn't worth risking the perks to take one out of the hanger when a Spit IX or Spit XVI are free and could be flown in the same fashion. That's what it really comes down to in the case of the Spit XIV though, you need to know how to fly it. Too many Spit drivers simply fly them all the same, usually as turn-fighters, where the Spit XIV can show you what a great energy fighter can do.
Engine power is incredible, though some people simply don't realize it. Here is why: at sea-level the Spit XIV can cruise at 332mph, nothing good in that number. With WEP that can be brought up to 358mph, a big difference but still not a number that will turn heads in any way. At those speeds an La5 is going to be able to keep up, let alone mention something like a 190D9, La7, 109G14, or Typhoon. If you climb up to about 12.5K though the situation is dramatically different: 400mph cruise. Need a bit of a sprint at 12K, kick in the WEP and you'll quickly see 420mph. Bump that up to 28K and you are seeing 427mph in cruise. Punch in the WEP up high and at 26K you are pulling 448mph. Those are pretty big numbers, larger than pretty much anything else. Not only that, look at the climb rate of the Spit XIV from sea-level, 5,000ft/minute all the way up to about 9K. Nothing can match that, not the 109K4, not the La7, nothing. Trips to 12K are only a little over 2 minutes away and pretty much ensure that your 400mph speed is going to bring at least parity with anyone else up at 12K (though it is a tight race against some opponents). WEP is important too, without it you are likely comparable to the best fighters at similar altitudes, with it you are likely better. Don't burn your WEP up in transit or during climbs, chances are with the attention you are bound to attract you will need it all for the fight ahead.
Aces High II Performance Charts
Firepower is standard Spitfire, twin 20mm Hispano cannons backed up either four .303s or twin .50s. The Hispanos really are the key to this package, they add the real punch while the other guns are mostly just supporting. The .50s option seems to give the better results as the hitting power of a .50 is more than twice that of a .303 for most purposes in the game. The .50 also seems to give an increased number of critical hits over the .303 which can be important to swing an enemy into a position where they need to end the fight quickly or escape. The Hispanos have 120 rounds/gun while the .50s have 250. Once the Hispanos are fired away though it's time to leave and reload with more.
Maneuverability is almost exactly like a Spit IX, or at least almost impossible to tell any/much difference. If you are turn-fighting with the Spit XIV though you are missing the point and may as well just take a Spit IX. Maneuverability in the Spit XIV is only used to get the guns into position when taking snapshots or during BnZ attacks. The only time to get into sustained turn-fights is when you are completely alone with an enemy you know can't out-turn you. Any other time is likely to lead to an awfully quick ending for you since everyone knows you are in a Spit XIV and will hunt you like a pack of hungry wolves.
Fighting in the Spitfire Mk XIV
Offensively, BnZ or slash attack opponents who are at your altitude or lower. Don't get engaged too low as the Spit loses too much performance even with WEP at very low altitudes. Cruise at a comfortable altitude where you don't expect to see many/any enemy cons above you. Always remember that your icon is special and every enemy within icon range will be screaming that there is a Spit XIV in the area, thus you attract a lot of attention, quickly. Best to be above trouble in such a situation. Never accept Head-Ons, though the Hispanos will likely make a draw, you certainly wouldn't want to risk the perk points in such a manner against an inferior opponent. You should never find yourself in a situation in a Spit XIV where, one on one, you don't have a clear advantage in some area of the fight. Energy fighting is beautiful in the Spit XIV, the climb, acceleration, top speed, and handling all aid this. Try and fight that sort of fight while remaining out of harm's way.
Defensively, don't immediately dive to the deck for speed since the engine performs worse at sea-level and you will never actually break off enemies who are chasing you because they give up. The only way to lose an enemy is to show him pure horsepower in speed and climb. Too many opponents can easily catch a Spit XIV low. Make maneuvers that are just violent enough to avoid attack and try to build up energy parity. The Spit can put on speed and climb instantly and make many opponents with equal speed very envious. You don't want to get stuck in a constant turning duel down low against multiple opponents as your options in such a fight are typically low. Try to initiate a climbing spiral turn and use the Spit XIV's extraordinary climb rate to quickly pull you above the enemy while your great turn-rate will defeat their attempts to get a gun lead on you. Always be trying to build up energy advantage though after a defensive maneuver. Many planes find it very difficult to replace lost energy and you can quickly build up a big energy surplus on them before they realize it.
A couple of last notes, the Spit XIV is a big target, which is unfortunate. Every enemy within radio range will know you are there and be hunting you to the point of making suicidal attacks just to deny you the ability to land your plane. People will completely forget everything else around them and immediately dive in on you, so expect that and keep your situational awareness high. Bringing a Spit XIV to a furball is just too unpredictable and likely to draw too much attention. You should always have some sort of advantage in a Spit XIV though against an opponent, often many, in speed, climb, and/or turn-rate.
Fighting against the Spitfire Mk XIV
The lucky thing is, most Spit XIV pilots fly it just like any other Spit and then cry when they lose it. They think it should turn like a Zero and sprint like a La7 on the deck and fly it like that, throwing caution to the wind and expecting the plane to haul their butts out of trouble. Unfortunately, it can't be flown like that successfully, or at least not typically. That said, you should always fear a Spit XIV, because if the pilot at the controls has any clue on how to properly use it he will quickly show you how dominant it can be.
Offensively, you need to corner a Spit XIV, typically not an easy task. An altitude advantage is usually a requirement though if you can catch one at low altitudes (under 5K) there are a number of aircraft that can stay on the tail of a Spit and force it to defend. Driving a Spit XIV low is a good start, make it defensive and maneuver as such but be very careful to preserve your own energy and not bleed much in your attacks. It is rare that you can catch a Spit in one maneuver so plane on this being a bit of an extended battle where you will need all your energy. The lower the fight, the more parity a plane like the La7, 190D9 or 109K4 is going to have in energy building. Watch each Spit maneuver closely and make sure he isn't just building energy on each defense. If you drive him lower, you need to get him to bleed speed, and not just climb back up. Be aggressive and continue the pressure. Unless you are greedy, having a second plane help you is best. Likely, you will find though that every friendly plane within icon range will be trying to beat you to the kill. I hate to recommend taking a Head On, but sometimes against a Spit XIV it can be about the best option available and shows that the Spit driver is getting desperate.
Defensively, you need to try and get into a position where you have some advantage. Some fighters can out-turn the Spit XIV, namely the other Spits, N1K, Hurricanes or Zero] so you can try that. Chances are the Spit isn't likely to play that game with you unless it is out of options. Never try and fight in the vertical against one as it will totally dominate you unless you have an excellent position to start with. The combination of turn-rate and climb rate will make 190s, 109s and La7s pretty envious. In a real speed demon you can probably out-run the Spit XIV down low, especially if you think he has been using WEP in other fights recently (and doesn't have full WEP time left). Diving to top speed, then maintaining that at sea-level is your best chance in cases like that. The Spit XIV knows it's not best at sea-level and may not follow at all since it would put them at a disadvantage. Extend a long way though, the Spit XIV is likely building energy like crazy while you are running away and you will need to build at least that amount of energy if you are thinking about coming back with any sort of honest offensive effort later.
The Spit XIV tends to draw a lot of attention, so it is likely you will have lots of help in the same way people chase Me262s around forever with no hope of actually catching one. The Spit is catchable by a number of planes down low, even non-perk ones, so if you see one circling low it is at it's most vulnerable.
Soda's Aircraft Evaluations