I have to admit I never properly considered the Cessna Centurion, only the phrase 'light plane'. Looking it up, it's not that much smaller than a Spitfire, and the Merlin, though a V-12, was only 27 litres and not a huge engine. It would hardly tip on its nose with a tricycle undercarriage, would it? Doesn't do to shoot from the hip. Interesting to know which version of Merlin Greenamayer had in mind.I never considered those points!
On the other hand, both sets of factors do apply, even if you work them out by experience and 'feel'. I don't suppose ice skaters doing pirouettes worry too much about the laws of friction and angular momentum, but they still apply, and apart from trial and error you would have to consider them to design a completely new kind of skate.