Post Ww2 Aviation - Vintage Airfix


Post WWII Aviation books

All these titles are available to purchase from Pen and Sword.

Contents:
- Flight Craft 18: British Military Test and Evaluation Aircraft - By Neil Robinson. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- Back Bearings - By Group Captain Eric Cropper..
- Best of Breed - By Group Captain Nigel Walpole..
- Blue Diamonds - By Michael Napier..
- Britain on the Brink - By Jim Wilson OBE..
- C-130 Hercules - By Martin Bowman..
- Cheating Death - By George J Marrett..
- Drop Zone Borneo - By Roger Annett..
- Dropping Britain's First H-Bomb - By Group Captain Kenneth Hubbard OBE DFC AFC, Michael Simmons..
- Flight Craft: Avro Lancaster 1945-1965 - By Martin Derry, Neil Robinson..
- Flying the Buccaneer - By Peter Caygill..
- High Stakes - By Vic Flintham..
- Jets at Sea - By Leo Marriott..
- Joint Strike Fighter - By Gerard Keijsper..
- Lifeline in Helmand: RAF Front-Line Air Supply in Afghanistan - By Roger Annett..

 


 

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Flight Craft 18: British Military Test and Evaluation Aircraft

By Neil Robinson

Flight Craft 18: British Military Test and Evaluation AircraftDescription:

It could be argued that the heyday of British military aircraft flight testing began in the 1940s, and continued throughout the three decades that followed, during the so-called Cold War period, and as such, the authors have purposely chosen the first 30 years, The Golden Years, 1945 to 1975, from the end of World War Two until the mid-1970s, as this was arguably the most exciting period with many wonderful and new types rubbing shoulders with wartime and immediate post-war designs that were utilised for development purposes, making for an eclectic mix of shapes and colour schemes.

Alongside the technical aspects of military testing and development, are the many and varied colour schemes and markings carried by the aircraft themselves – not only by the brand-new experimental designs, but by existing production machines, suitably modified, to greater or lesser degrees, to develop the technical advances in systems and weaponry.

Scores of different aircraft types are covered in British Military Test & Evaluation Aircraft The Golden Years 1945 - 1975, with over 65 rarely seen contemporary photographs from private collections, and, differing slightly from previous Flight Craft book formats, over 50 pages of specially commissioned full colour profiles and plan views, visually chronicling the diverse range of colour schemes and markings applied to these fascinating aeroplanes.

Compiled by Neil Robinson and Martin Derry, who have authored several other Flight Craft books, with informative background text by well known aviation historian Malcolm V Lowe and superbly executed illustrations by Mark Rolfe. As with other books in the Flight Craft series, although published with aircraft modellers in mind, it is hoped that most aviation enthusiasts will find something of interest here too.

Vintage Airfix Review:

There are many modellers who like to take a production aircraft kit and modify it to a variant of that aircraft. For those modellers, this book really must be in your library.

It has many interesting, one-off, aircraft from 1945 to 1975, an era when aircraft development was at its height and, in same examples, its wackiest.

The colour illustrations of test aircraft alterations and livery are beautifully aimed at the modeller to help to get that perfect model. This along with the description and photos of what, where and why these aircraft were developed will add to your knowledge and understanding of the golden years of aircraft development.

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Back Bearings

By Group Captain Eric Cropper

Back BearingsDescription:

Eric Cropper's RAF career started in 1943 and ended in 1968. It covered a period when the navigation of aircraft changed from astro, dead reckoning and drift bearings all plotted by pencil on charts, to press-button radio and satellite information that can instantly pinpoint a position anywhere on the planet to within 5 metres. The then vital skills of a good navigator are now mostly redundant. Ships, aircraft, trucks and cars seldom use maps let alone carry a navigator. This autobiography by one of the RAF's top exponents of both the ancient and modern forms of the art explains in considerable detail how this rapid and revolutionary improvement occurred in the air.

This is a fascinating memoir of one of the RAF's senior navigational experts that explains both service life and the revolution in navigational techniques that took place during his service career.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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Best of Breed

By Group Captain Nigel Walpole

Best of BreedDescription:

This book is about the tactical reconnaissance mark of the Hunter FR10 and its front line operation between 1961-70. With the Hunter already well proven in ground attack role this variant was an ideal platform for the excellent Vinten F95 strip aperture cameras. The heavy armament of four 30-mm Aden cannon was retained for use in defence suppression and target marking, unilateral action against high value targets (assigned or opportunity) and if necessary in self-defence. It follows that the pilots selected for this demanding operating regime had to show an ability to operate alone over long distances using basic pilot navigation techniques only at high speeds and ultra low levels; in the main, therefore, they were second or third tour fast jet pilots.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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Blue Diamonds

By Michael Napier

Blue DiamondsDescription:

In the seven decades since the Second World War, 14 Squadron has operated a wide array of aircraft types (Mosquitoes, Vampires, Venoms, Hunters, Canberras, Phantoms, Jaguars and Tornados) in a fascinating variety of roles. For much of this time, the Squadron was based in Germany at the front line of the Cold War, but it also participated in the Gulf War in 1991, in operations over Iraq from 1991-2009, in the Kosovo conflict in 2000 and latterly during the war in Afghanistan, firstly with the Tornado GR4 and then with the Shadow R1. Today the Squadron operates in great secrecy in an Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance role. 

Having had access to log-books, contemporary diaries, maps and photographs, as well as oral and written accounts from a large number of ex-Squadron members, the author has been able to produce as complete an account as is presently possible of the operational history of 14 Squadron in the second half of the twentieth century and the opening years of the twenty-first.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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Britain on the Brink

By Jim Wilson OBE

Britain on the BrinkDescription:

At the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Britain was America's first-line defence, a vulnerable, but unsinkable 'aircraft carrier' on which the United States based the Strategic Air Command's first-strike elements of their America's nuclear deterrent. The Strategic Air Command's UK bases and the RAF's V-Force were ordered to the highest state of readiness at any time during the Cold War. Nuclear weapons were loaded, some nuclear-armed aircraft went on round-the-clock airborne patrol, others were held at cockpit readiness. But the British public was largely unaware that, as tensions rose thousands of miles away, the UK itself was under imminent threat of armageddon.

The book focuses on the implications for Britain of the covert deployment by the Soviet Union of ballistic nuclear missiles ninety miles off the US coast. It follows the crisis as it developed in London, Washington and Moscow. It looks at secret planning in the UK for World War III, and the activities of the JIGSAW Group (Joint Inter-Services Group for the Study of All-Out War). It also examines how close the UK went to activating 'Visitation', the code name for the movement of parts of the British State into a secret bunker referred to in Whitehall as 'The Quarry'.

Britain on the Brink also reveals the major strategic re-think the Cuban Crisis forced on Prime Minister Macmillan and the British Government.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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C-130 Hercules

By Martin Bowman

C-130 HerculesDescription:

Designed in response to a 1951 requirement, the C-130 Hercules is the most successful military airlifter ever built. Since it first flew in prototype form on 23 August 1954, more than 2,100 have been produced in over eighty different versions. Across its variants, the Hercules serves more than sixty air forces, as well as many civilian cargo operators, in a multiplicity of roles, including air-to-air refueller, gunship, airborne command post, flying hospital and fire-fighter.

This rugged and easily maintained aircraft entered service in 1956 with the USAF Tactical Air Command. Ten years later the 'Charlie 130' was providing the essential logistical support in Vietnam. This period in South-East Asia was the Hercules' finest hour. Paradrops, airlift and evacuation operations were completed around the clock, often at low level, usually under fire and nearly always in bad weather.

A generation later this 'Mr Dependable' was serving with equal distinction in the Gulf War in the role of airlifter, radio-countermeasures and 'psy-ops' platform, gunship and, once again, 'block-buster bomber'. The 'Herky Bird' or 'Fat Albert', as the C-130 is fondly known, has proved a key component in humanitarian relief operations ever since, in all parts of the world.

The incredible success story of the C-130 is far from over. Here Martin W. Bowman tells the full story of this remarkable aircraft at first-hand.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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Cheating Death

By George J Marrett

Cheating DeathDescription:

The colourful characters and daring rescues of downed pilots engaged in the Secret War in North Vietnam and Laos are vividly captured by one who was there, in some of the most exciting stories ever written about aerial combat. Sandy Marrett and his squadron colleagues flew some of the most dangerous air missions of the war as on-scene commanders, in charge of rescuing the scores of US Navy and Air Force pilots shot down over North Vietnam and Laos.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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Drop Zone Borneo

By Roger Annett

Drop Zone BorneoDescription:

In 1963 the Indonesian Army that threatened Borneo numbered 330,000 men, plus three thousand Commandos. Of these, six thousand were within 20 miles of the Borneo frontier. This grew to thirteen thousand in early 1965. From mid-way through 1964, British troops and their allies who were defending the border started to make offensive incursions into Indonesian Borneo - these operations were codenamed "Claret". 

Taken into account the confrontational nature of the campaign, casulaties sustained in Borneo were surprisingly light. That in the whole of the Borneo campaign there were no fatalities among the RAF supply-dropping transports was extraordinary. The border area between the Indonesian and Malaysian parts of Borneo was one of the most inaccessible areas of mountainous jungle anywhere in the world - an entire army was kept supplied in the field for the complete campaign. This is the exciting account from a pilot who flew the dangerous flying missions and relates the tenseness and stresses of Jungle life in those dangerous days.

Flew with 215 Squadron, co-piloting Argosy transport aircraft deep over jungle terrain from 1963 to 65. He served with the RAF from 1962 to 1967 before joining the computer industry. He lives in Buckinghamshire and has various articles published in Industrial and local magazines.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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Dropping Britain's First H-Bomb

By Group Captain Kenneth Hubbard OBE DFC AFC, Michael Simmons

Dropping Britain's First H-BombDescription:

On 15 May 1957/58 Vickers Valiant V-Bomber XD818 under the command of Wg Cdr Kenneth Hubbard, OC 49 Squadron RAF, dropped Britain's first live thermonuclear bomb. The success of Operation Grapple broadcast to the world that the UK had the resolve and the capability to protect her own democracy and that of her Commonwealth. It was a major breakthrough that ensured Britain maintained her place in the most senior influential positions of the United Nations and other corridors of world power, and in the ensuing years provide Britain's deterrent throughout the decades of the Cold War.

The theme of this book is to explain how the RAF selected and trained the crews who would be responsible for the precision dropping of the several weapons that would detonate during Grapple. It also provides a complete background to the parts played by all other services during this unique period in British history.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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Flight Craft: Avro Lancaster 1945-1965

By Martin Derry, Neil Robinson

Flight Craft: Avro Lancaster 1945-1965Description:

The Avro Lancaster, such a stalwart of the skies during the Second World War, also enjoyed an interesting and surprisingly colourful post-war career. It is this era that the authors have chosen to focus on by profiling the type across its many variants.

Split into three primary sections, this book offers a concise yet informative history of the Lancaster's post-war operational career (from 1945-1965) charting the course of the various alterations and improvements that occurred during this time and including a selection of contemporary photographs with detailed captions. A 16-page section features 32 colour illustrations (in profiles, 2-views and 4-views) specially prepared by Mark Gauntlett. The book's final section provides a list and box top illustrations of the plastic model kits produced of the Lancaster in all scales plus reviews and 'how to' construction notes on building a selection of kits in 1/144, 1/72 and 1/48 scales. 

As with the other books in the Flight Craft series, whilst published primarily with the scale aircraft modeller in mind, it is hoped that those readers who might perhaps describe themselves as 'occasional' modellers - if indeed they model at all - may also find that this colourful and informative work offers something to provoke their interests too.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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Flying the Buccaneer

By Peter Caygill

Flying the BuccaneerDescription:

Originally conceived as a carrier-born maritime attack aircraft, the Blackburn design included many original features such as Boundary Layer Control, a system which blew hot air over the flying surfaces to increase lift when landing. The rotating bomb bay was also new and enabled easier maintenance, accessibility and reduced drag. The first model, the S Mk 1, entered operational service with the Fleet Air Arm in 1961. S Mk 2 became operational in 1964, powered by Rolls-Royce Spey engines that gave considerably more thrust. The aircraft were armed with rocket pods, up to 1,000 lb free-fall bombs, Martel air-to-ship missiles or the nuclear Red Beard system. During the financial upheavals of the mid 1960s, the government decided to retire the RN carrier fleet, thus eliminating a fixed-wing aircraft requirement. Simultaneously, the TSR2 development programme was abandoned and left the RAF without a new attack aircraft. Enter the S Mk2B, a land-based Buccaneer, with increased range and payload, which joined the RAF in 1969, and by the early 1970s the ex-Fleet Air Arm aircraft were also carrying RAF markings.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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High Stakes

By Vic Flintham

High StakesDescription:

After the dust of World War II had settled, the military position of the UK was far from straightforward. It was of course allied to the USA and part of NATO, but it was at odds with the former in maintaining an Empire and the two nations also had competing oil interests in the Middle East. The UK's engagement in war after 1945 was thus a strange mixture ranging from homeland security through insular actions within the colonies or protectorates to preserve empire - to playing a major role in confronting the USSR. The types of active involvement of the RAF, Fleet Air Arm and Army Air Corps between 1945 and 1995 include the following, with examples.

Maintaining Local Stability - Greece, Netherlands East Indies. Maintaining Empire - Malaya, Kenya. Defending Empire - Borneo. Defending Interests - Suez, Kuwait. Homeland Security - Northern Ireland, air defence. Confrontation - Berlin Airlift, Korea. Covert Action - Albania, strategic reconnaissance. Humanitarian and Peacekeeping- Jordan, Cyprus. Development of Deterrent - Bombs, bombers and missiles.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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Jets at Sea

By Leo Marriott

Jets at SeaDescription:

As World War Two drew to a close, jet-powered aircraft were beginning to be introduced into service. To take advantage of this major development it was necessary for all the world's air powers to rethink combat tactics and develop the means of handling these faster and generally larger aircraft in the air, on land and especially at sea. As this modern breed approached and finally broke the sound barrier, so did landing and take-off speeds. The decade after the war saw rapid developments in the design of both naval aircraft and their seaborne bases - the aircraft carrier. The first jet to land aboard a carrier was a modified de Havilland Vampire in 1945 on HMS Ocean. Progress was rapid and the application of British inventions such as the angled flight-deck, steam catapult and mirror landing sight soon became adopted by the major navies of the world. Naval aircraft too became more sophisticated by the addition of high-lift flap systems and strengthened undercarriages to allow them to operate more safely at sea. The author describes the development of these improvements and then their operational advantages in the Korean War and Suez. He goes on to describe the US development of a potential nuclear carrier-borne bomber, the French Navy and its withdrawal from Vietnam in 1954 and then the use of naval aircraft for anti-submarine work.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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Joint Strike Fighter

By Gerard Keijsper

Joint Strike FighterDescription:

The F-35 Lightning II, formerly known as the Joint Strike Fighter, is being developed by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and General Electric. The aircraft is planned for use by the Royal Air Force/Navy, the US Air Force, US Navy, US Marine Corps and nine other nations. This stealthy, supersonic multi-role fighter was designated the F-35 in October 2001, and named "Lightning II" in July 2006. The F-35 is being built in three variants: a conventional take-off and landing aircraft for the US Air Force; a carrier based variant for the US Navy; and a short take-off and vertical landing aircraft for the US Marine Corps and the Royal Navy/Air Force. The F-35 fighter is expected to enter service in 2012 with the US Marine Corps, 2013 with the US Air Force, 2014 with the Royal Navy/Royal Air Force, and 2015 with the US Navy. Other countries that have invested in the project are Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark, and Norway. Singapore and Israel are monitoring the program to evaluate the F-35's potential in their fleet modernization efforts.

This book looks at all the many research programmes that are taking place in the fields of airframe and engine design, avionics, weapons, radar, counter-measures and propulsion. It encompasses the history of the programme to the time of publication when interest will be stimulated as the carrier-borne F-35 takes to the air for test-flying.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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Lifeline in Helmand: RAF Front-Line Air Supply in Afghanistan

By Roger Annett

Lifeline in Helmand: RAF Front-Line Air Supply in AfghanistanDescription:

Lifeline in Helmand tells the story of the Royal Air Force tactical transport force operating in one of the most dangerous regions in the Afghanistan campaign – Helmand province. The Chinook helicopters of 1310 Flight fly heavy-lift and trooping missions to remote Forward Operating Bases and in direct support of Deliberate Ground Operations. They are complemented by the mass air-drop capability of the Hercules transports of 904 Expeditionary Air Wing, RAF. 

The book follows 'C' Flight of 27 Squadron from RAF Odiham as it prepares for another three-month deployment to Helmand manning 1310 Flight, under the command of NATO, within the International Security Assistance Force, ISAF. The narrative joins 'C' Flight on winter-flying training in the Scottish Highlands, before following them to the battleground on the Airbridge transports from RAF Brize Norton. It then tracks them through their operational tour. There are first-hand accounts from air and ground crews, client Royal Marine Commandos and in-theatre helicopter support units, as well as from Hercules pilots on detachment from RAF Lyneham, and men of 47 Air Despatch Squadron. There are detailed depictions of sorties in support of ground operations, and of life-saving casualty evacuation missions with teams of medics and nurses. 

The author describes the tortuous historical background to today's conflict, and eye-witnesses contribute their personal viewpoints on the campaign together with many dramatic photographs from the front line. The whole adds up to a fitting tribute to elite British units facing the horrors and deprivations of war in a far-off corner of a troubled land.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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