View Full Version : Must have / read Books

New Bloke
11th Feb 2002, 18:59
Well, are reading....

You wait for ages then have a birthday and a host of new books come along.

One of my sisters bought me a book called "The ghosts of Biggin Hill". I havn't had time to read it yet, but some of the pictures are new to me. Quite disturbing is one near the back of the book, The Aerocobra a split second before it went in at last years Air Fair.

Another arived today "The years flew past" by the late great friend of PPRuNe, "Bee Beamont. Again I have only had a chance to skim it and check out some of the photos, but the Prologue is one of the most touching pieces of writing I have come across in a long time.

Don't disturb me, I'm going to be tied up for the next few days.

13th Feb 2002, 15:49
Try "Only Owls And Bloody Fools Fly At Night" by W/C 'Tom' Sawyer. Interesting insight into Bomber Command ops throughout the war. He was the Wingco of my Dad's squadron and was a real character.

13th Feb 2002, 16:53
In the same vein

"Lancaster Target" by Jack Currie is a classic, bringing a Lancaster home at night without ailerons,,,, <img src="eek.gif" border="0">

"No Moon Tonight" by Don Charlwood


14th Feb 2002, 21:12
There was a thread not so long ago in the Mil section about good books. I got hold of Sagittarius Rising by Cecil Lewis and Fate is the Hunter by Ernest K Gann on the recommendations of other PPRuNers and they are fabulous reads.

Tonks <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

14th Feb 2002, 22:47

Gentlemen of adventure - Ernest Gann. .In the Company of eagles - Ernest Gann. .The High and the Mighty - Ernest Gann. .Song of the Sirens - Ernest gann (about Boats). .Think like a bird - Alex Kimball (from memory). .Propellorhead - Antony Woodward. .Hell On earth - Mel Rolfe. .The Ghost of flight 401 - JOhn Fuller. .Airframe - Michael Critchon. .Over to You - Roald Dahl. .Going Solo - Roald dahl. .Mosquito Victory - Jack Currie. .Wings Over Georgia - Jack Curry. .Gift of Wings - Richard bach. .Biplane - Richard Bach. .Round the Bend - Neville Shute. .Stranger to the Ground - Richard Bach. .Reach for the Sky - . .Enemy Coast Ahead - Guy Gibson. .Illusions - Richard Bach

And dare I say I just can't get to grips with any Exupery???

15th Feb 2002, 00:08
In addition to the thread that Tonkenna mentions there is also this older R&N thread, "Read any good books?" that has been archived:. .<a href="http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=70&t=000003" target="_blank">http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=70&t=000003</a>

15th Feb 2002, 05:05
"Bomber' by Len Deighton is great.

15th Feb 2002, 07:19
Recently finished reading Sir Stanley Hookers fascinating autobiography "Not much of an Engineer" Had to castigate the kind pilot type gentleman who lent it to me for preventing me getting any sleep for two nights, being unable to put the book down.

Sir Stanley, in case you didn't know, worked at Rolls Royce starting with Merlin superchargers and then developing their early jet engines before moving to Bristol Siddeley where he was responsible for developing the Olympus and the Pegasus among others. Finally, back to Rolls to get the RB211 working and earning, after the original company fell over in '71.

**********************************. .Through difficulties to the cinema

henry crun
15th Feb 2002, 08:43
Blacksheep, must agree with you there, a very interesting and unputdownable book.

I loved the part where Hooker took Lord Hives to see Frank Whittle to get RR to take over the jet engine development.

Whittle was explaining how simple the whole thing was and Hives said " don't worry, my engineers will soon design the simplicity out of it" :)

Rallye Driver
15th Feb 2002, 17:22
A couple of other books which typify some of the incredible flying that was done in the war in aircraft with minimal navigation aids.

'We Landed by Moonlight' by Hugh Verity is a history of the clandestine missions into France by the Lysanders and Hudsons from Tempsford.

'Bring Back My Stringbag' by John Kilbracken tracks his career in the FAA flying these supposedly obsolete aircraft on missions that nothing else could do - Atlantic convoys, Artic convoys and shipping strikes.

Both are excellent reads and thoroughly recommended as something a bit different from Spitfire aces and bombers to Berlin.


16th Feb 2002, 04:05
"Zero" by Masatke Okumiya and Jiro Horikoshie. WWII in the Pacific from the Japanese side. Published by Bantam 1957, republished 1991. A very unusual and illuminating take on a story we generally only hear from the US viewpoint.

Incredible stories of endurance - 9 hour missions including extensive combat by Zeros were normal.

It includes the unbelievable odyssey of Saburo Sakai who managed 11 hours in the air, attacking the US forces invading Guadalcanal. He was shot up by the rear gunners of a formation of Avengers , and flew 5 hours back to Rabaul blind in one eye, partially sighted in the other, blood gushing from numerous wounds, and his left arm completely immobilised. Had to take his right hand off the control column to try to staunch the wounds, damage to the a/c always rolled it inverted. Lost his maps because the windscreen had been destroyed, this also removed 5 our of his 6 bandages before he got the last one in place whilst his uncontrolled a/c was rolling around it's damaged wing in cloud. Landed at Rabaul,spent two years in hospital and survived the war.

The book is also fascinating because it describes how totally unprepared the Japanese military was for the scale of war they had embarked upon, and how unwilling most of them were to participate in it (but no punches are pulled and there are no excuses- the authors are frank about how exciting the series of early victories were, a tone of penitence and self criticism characterises the whole book and the short sightedness of Japanese High Command is laid bare).

I found it second hand in a market in London - ISBN is 0-553-28872-5. Essential read for anybody seriously interested in this bit of history.

16th Feb 2002, 04:44
If you want to read more about Saburo Sakai, his own book is titled "Samurai". Great read. Sorry, but I have no ISBN - mine's a 30 year old paperback. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

16th Feb 2002, 11:39
Add: Le Grand Cirque (the Big Show, by Pierre Clostermann (still going strong at 80 plus, vigorously defending himself against internet calumnists), and Night Flight, by Antoine de St Exupery (OK, anything by him)

16th Feb 2002, 14:29
Have to agree that "We Landed by Moonlight" is a great book. Hugh Verity died last year.. .Roger Freeman has written some great books about the 8th Army Air Force in the UK.. .I can also recommend "The Forgotten Bomber" by Graham Warner (slight bias here!).. .Must also mention, and this may appeal to those of you with an avionics bent (or just a bent avionics person!), "Confound and Destroy" by Martin Middlebrook and "Instruments of Darkness" by Alfred Price.. .There are so many good books available, unfortunately funds are not!

[ 16 February 2002: Message edited by: Bus429 ]</p>

Ian Fleming
18th Feb 2002, 02:28
I've read both threads, this and the archived, and found many books that I must add to my collection, but I cannot believe no-one has mentioned Beryl Markhams 'West with the Night'. Perhaps one of the most beautifully written autobiographies ever.. .This is the Lady made the first solo flight the wrong way across the atlantic, (East to West) not just the first woman, but the first flight, in I think, a Mew Gull.. .White Bear.

19th Feb 2002, 21:43
For me the best one ever is 'Winged Victory' by W V Yeates (from memory) - all about flying Camels in the First World War, allegedly autobiographical although dressed up as fiction - loaned my copy to younger brother and haven't seen it since!

tony draper
19th Feb 2002, 22:40
A very good book of more recent times ie, the life of a RAF Fast Jet Pilot.. .is Robert Prests. .F4. .Phantom . .A pilots story.. .Probably out of print now, but I have a battered copy.

[ 19 February 2002: Message edited by: tony draper ]</p>

Who has control?
22nd Feb 2002, 15:35
I had a look a the 'Photographic Guide to England' last night and its very, very nice. The price at £99 is nearly as heavy as the weight, but it was on offer. I think it was reviewed in this months 'Pilot'

The detail is amazing, I only had a brief look at my local area but found my house and workplace. I think it will help in X-country navigation, but for anyone who likes maps, this will add a whole new dimension.

As the flying fund is quite healthy due to weather-induced ground-hugging, I might go out & buy it, especially as it was on offer.

Mister Gash
24th Feb 2002, 01:03
Gann and Saint Ex, yes.

Amazed that nobody has mentioned Eagle’s Wings by Hajo Hermann. Beautifully written memoirs of a Luftwaffe Major which describes experiences ranging from the Spanish Civil War to desperate ‘Wilde Sau’ ramming of Allied bombers at night. Buy it!

tony draper
24th Feb 2002, 15:08
That book or something very like it is available free on the web Mr Who Has Control.

<a href="http://www.multimap.com" target="_blank">www.multimap.com</a>

Just type in your postcode and you get a picky of your house from ten thousand or five thousand feet.. .Had hours of fun with it.. .Found the link on the military forum a while back.. .Great site well worth a visit.

[ 24 February 2002: Message edited by: tony draper ]</p>

24th Feb 2002, 15:41
Try SIGH FOR A MERLIN by Alex Henshaw.. .It is about the pilot (author) who flight tested more Spitfires than anyone.. .It is a cracking story <img src="wink.gif" border="0"> <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

Who has control?
25th Feb 2002, 14:42
TD, the company who did the Atlas is called Getmapping and their site is:-<a href="http://www.getmapping.com" target="_blank">Atlas</a>

I've visited the site you suggested - its very good, but the Atlas is truely amazing, you can see the Concordes parked at Heathrow and by the way, your gutters need cleaning <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <img src="tongue.gif" border="0"> :)

5th Mar 2002, 12:10
"Edwin's letters", a recently published collection of letters by a 21 year old Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, killed with all of the crew of his Halifax on their second operation in April 1943. Just ordinary letters from and about an ordinary airman, edited by his brother, David Thomas. Reading this short but deeply moving book feels like visiting a war cemetery or memorial.

5th Mar 2002, 15:50
Also by Alex Henshaw, "Flight of the Mew Gull". .Try "No Echo in the Sky" by Harold Penrose, test pilot at Wesland Aircraft. The last line is soooo poingant [I hope that's the right spelling]. ."I Flew for the Fuhrer", "Wing Leader" "Fly for your Life" . .Fiction, The Blue Max is a good read, as are Stephen Coonts flying books, Martin Caidin's and Brian Lecomber. Also Gavin Lyal. .we aim to please, it keeps the cleaners happy

astir 8
8th Mar 2002, 18:25
Pierre Clostermann's "The Big Show" was always one of my top books. I recently discovered that there's a newer version "Le Grand Cirque 2000" - in French unfortunately but I'm struggling through it. There's about twice the material in it than the original "Big Show", including how he joined the RAF, training etc. Plus some rather irate views on the inaccuracy of the 8th Air Force when they were bombing French rail yards surrounded by French civilian housing. I believe it goes on to his post-war flying in Algeria, but I havn't got that far yet. Great Book.. .. .Also try "Rene Mouchotte, mes Carnets" (Rene Mouchottes logbooks) if you want more Free French fighter pilot's stories. Mouchotte commanded the Biggin Hill wing at one point but was killed in 1943.

8th Mar 2002, 21:50
Astir, I'm a huge Clostermann fan, and read the first edition of Le Grand Cirque with great pleasure: I can't find the new edition on amazon.fr or anywhere else. Where did you find it?. .. .Clostermann is fortunately very much still with us: a former MP in France and a great internationalist. He was recently defamed on some spotter websites, and went vigorously and splendidly into print to defend himself against various unworthy slurs as to his decorations and victory scores. Vive les Francaises Libres!

PPRuNe Pop
24th Mar 2002, 22:00
I have just been given a book by a very good PPRuNe friend - "The Years Flew Past" by Roland 'Bee' Beamont. I can't put it down! . .. .Sadly, he is no longer with us but this, his last book, is magic. Some of his stories spanned many moons, but he has managed to capture the moments and the glory in a relatively few short pages. A great epitaph to a great aviator.. . . . <small>[ 24 March 2002, 18:00: Message edited by: PPRuNe Pop ]</small>

25th Mar 2002, 00:41
Anyone know where i can buy all these old books that i have heard so much about but never been able to read, like Ernest K Gann, Brian Lecomber (correct spelling?) et al. PLEASE HELP ME!! i cant find them anywhere 'oop 'ere. .. .HJ

25th Mar 2002, 01:48
"The Fighters" (?) written by Colin Willock, more famous as the producer of the Survival wildlife progs. Traced the fictional history of two pilots Peter Bristow (RAF) and Dieter Reh (Luftwaffe) and their families from meeting as cadets on exchange c1938 through the war. Technically well researched and skillfully mixing the fictional characters with real names such as Udet and Galland. Long out of print.. .. .Also Larry Forrester's "Fly for your Life".

25th Mar 2002, 10:55
Lotsa good ones mentioned already.. .The Luftwaffe War Diaries by Karjus Bekker doesn't look like its been mentioned yet.. .. .Hugh_J...waddya mean 'old books'. I'm sure my childhood wasn't that long ago(counts on fingers)........oh! sorry......you're right. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Razz]" src="tongue.gif" /> <img border="0" title="" alt="[Roll Eyes]" src="rolleyes.gif" />

astir 8
25th Mar 2002, 16:31
FNG - sorry I've been overseas & missed your query about sourcing Le Grand Cirque - go to the website of a French magazine named Volez! They have a very good attached bookshop page which includes the Clostermann & Mouchotte updates. I ordered by email & they arrived within four days.. .. .Enjoy them!

25th Mar 2002, 21:59
If you want to read a more philosophical book about flying and flight safety, try 'Inside the Sky' by William Langewiesche (son of 'Stick and Rudder' Wolfgang Langewiesche).. .. .Very good writing, in the style of Ernest Gann.

26th Mar 2002, 22:37
I've got a few which I keep turning to periodically:. .. .Robert Prest's "F4 Phantom - A Pilot's Story" (which someone mentioned earlier). .. ."Fighter Pilot's Summer" about Paul Richey and 609 Sqn's sweeps in 1941. .. ."The First of the Many" written during the war about the 8th Air Force. This is a very thought-provoking book, and I can't speak too highly of it. The wartime censor has changed the names of some of the US aircrew who came from occupied Europe, or whose families were of German descent, in order to protect those families during the war. Some of the accounts written in the book are extremely moving, as the author conveys the sense of uncertainty regarding when / if the war will end, and whether the aircrews he writes about will live to see the day. Very moving.. .. .And finally (although I can't remember the title), the story of one of Paul Richey's fellow 609 Sqn members, Jean Offenberg. I'll try and dig it out tonight and post the title.

27th Mar 2002, 07:02
BeauMan. .I think it was Lonely Warrior...an excellent book.. .. .I used to also have one about 'Pat' Pattle (Ace of Aces?). Covered early Africa and the Greek campaign up 'til his death.. . . . <small>[ 27 March 2002, 03:16: Message edited by: CoodaShooda ]</small>

27th Mar 2002, 12:44
Thanks very much astir, I look forward to reading the updated versions (will make a change from trying to struggle through the misadventures of Emma Bovary in French)

3rd Apr 2002, 14:20
Has anyone ever read the book " Chicken Hawk " by Robert Mason , x- vietnam chopper pilot.Its talks about flying and war and what one has to do with both and how it affects him as a person and how he adapts to flying conditions as a pilot.


Double Zero
12th May 2008, 21:41
I have seen this mentioned before by people much more worthy than myself, but couldn't this general heading do with a ' books ' section, there are so many wonderful works out there which can not only remind us of great deeds, but perhaps more importantly pass on a bit of possibly life-saving gen' to any aircrew...

I'll kick off with 'Test Pilot' by Neville Duke, 'Wind Sand & Stars' by A.St.Expury, 'Test Plilots' by Don Middleton...Some if not all of these are out of print but easily available - maybe among the first tests for an aspiring pilot, though one would have hoped he or she would have made that effort before now!

The 'Tartan Terror's' site for Test Pilots is also a salutary lesson, however I digress;

How about a book thread ?


12th May 2008, 23:51
Fate is the hunter, by Ernest Gann.

12th May 2008, 23:53
Two of my favorites:

"The Curtiss Aviation Book" by Glenn H. Curtiss - 1912

"Glenn Curtiss - Pioneer of Flight" C.R. Roseberry - 1972

And of course

Fate is the Hunter - Ernest K. Gann

henry crun
13th May 2008, 01:02
Janus Zurakowski, Legend in the Skies.

13th May 2008, 02:10
Winged Victory - V.M. Yeates. Described by T. E. Lawrence as the best flying book to come out of WW1. Used to be impossible to get hold of one.

13th May 2008, 03:57
Nearly forgot - Also get "Chickenhawk", by Bob Mason.

13th May 2008, 07:19
I think "Slide Rule" by Neville Norway is a good read.


13th May 2008, 15:06
Similar discussion on the military pilots threads.

F4 Phantom by Robert Prest.
Think Like a Bird by Alex Kimball.

Gets my vote for the best two aviation books.

13th May 2008, 15:41
This series is also excellent.

Get me some traffic
13th May 2008, 21:11
I remember reading a book called "Broken Wing, A history of defence projects" some years ago. TSR2, F111, Argosy's strengthened floor and several aviation related naval projects covered. It seems that we haven't learnt any lessons when it comes to procurement. Would be a good read today. I cannot remember the author.

13th May 2008, 21:30
First light -Geoffrey Wellum
Fate is the Hunter by Gann
and any book by Gordon Baxter (Bax seat of Flying magazine)



Lucky Six
13th May 2008, 23:40
Straightfeed. Agree with First Light by Geoffrey Wellum, unfortunately it is not available downunder you have to get it from the UK.

14th May 2008, 00:02
DeltaPapa...Derek Piggot
Doddy Hayes AutoBiog
Enemy Coast Ahead..G. Gibson
No Echo in the Sky...Harald? J. Penrose
All "factual".....
watp iktch

14th May 2008, 02:49
"Fly The Wing" by Jim Webb. If you are an Air Transport Pilot, or are planning to be one, this is the flying book for you. Technique and theory are covered in detail. It is a bit dated, and is now out-of-print, but it is still available through on-line book stores.

"Chickenhawk" by Robert Mason is one man's account of flying a UH-1 Huey during the Vietnam War. Absolutely horrific.

14th May 2008, 02:52
Sagittarius Rising by Cecil Lewis. It's autobiographical, and a brilliant read.
Bernard Shaw states " This is a book which everybody shouild read", and I totally agree with him.

henry crun
14th May 2008, 03:46
There was a similar thread some time back, in which was the strong suggestion that not all the stories recounted in Chickenhawk happened to the author.

14th May 2008, 05:03
hi everybody.i have just read CROYDON TO CONCORDE by captain r e gillman a great book.:ok::ok:

Lucky Six
14th May 2008, 09:50
Wide-Body. The Making of the 747. By Clive Irving (founder of the Sunday Times Insight team) is a good read with a lot of aviation history that goes back to the 1930s.


14th May 2008, 11:25
Some golden suggestions there. Fate is the hunter, Wind, sand and stars, Fly the wing, Chickenhawk, First light and Wide-body I heartily endorse.

On the same sort of theme as Wide-body, I recommend "Not much of an engineer" by Sir Stanley Hooker. Brilliant insight into the Merlin, early jet engines, and fascinating detail of the RB 211 development.

Also, "Eagles wings" by Hajo Hermann, and "Samurai" by the Japanes ace Saburo Sakai ( Sp? ) Both enthralling.


bottom rung
14th May 2008, 11:48
"Testing Years" by Roland Beamont. Growing up in the sixties within earshot of Warton gives this book a special significance to me.

14th May 2008, 13:26
"Beyond the Blue Horizon" by Alexander Frater

Double Zero
14th May 2008, 14:43
A brilliant book I have not seen mentioned anywhere is ' Flying Under Two Flags ' by Gordon Levett.

He was a R.A.F. Spitfire pilot during WW2, then joined in with the birth of the Israeli Air Force using any aircraft they could get hold of; he describes not only what it was really like in London to be a less-than-wealthy family under the 'Blitz', also very hairy piloting in transport a/c just after the war ( forget which type ) carrying spares out of Europe under 'suspect' customs regs', and the very dodgy reliability of these aircraft, especially engines - there were a fair few nasty accidents.

Ironically, their flight-line consisted of Spitfires & Me109's* parked alongside ! They did well, and I hope Mr. Levett is around to read this.

* Correct as opposed to the earlier Bf 109. DZ

14th May 2008, 19:47
A couple of great early WW2 books :

'Fighter Pilot' by Paul Richey, covers his time with 1 Squadron in France. Gripping, honest and well written.

'The Last Enemy' by Richard Hillary, covers his fighting in the Battle of Britain and then his time recovering from bad burns and the plastic surgery done by McIndoe. Very interesting for his personal views on why people should or should not fight. Not at all run of the mill.

14th May 2008, 20:52
Dresden and the Heavy Bombers An RAF Navigator's Perspective by Frank Musgrove, who was there.

14th May 2008, 23:00
"Bring back my Stringbag" by Lord Kilbracken, Swordfish at war, FAA.

Lucky Six
15th May 2008, 08:55
Pierre Closterman's The Big Show

15th May 2008, 09:12
Richard Bach - 'Gift of Wings' and 'Nothing by Chance' and for sheer fantasy 'Jonathan Livingstone Seagull'.

John Templeton Smith, 'Skytrap', 'Rolling Thunder' 'White Lies' etc.

and of course anything by Ernest Gann

15th May 2008, 09:34
Cone of Silence
Village of Stars
The Heart of the Storm

All by David Beaty.

(Actually, all his aviation based novels are good.)

Alternatively, excellent U.S.Navy Air Vietnam novels by Gerry Carroll -
Ghostrider One
North SAR
No Place to Hide

15th May 2008, 09:42
"No Moon Tonight" by Don Charlwood and the sequel the name of which has escaped me.

15th May 2008, 10:15
The late Jack Curry.
I'd suggest reading his books in this order:
Wings Over Georgia (flying training under the Arnold Scheme).
Lancaster Target (describes his time flying Lancasters on ops, mainly from Wickenby. There's an amazing account of returning from a mission without ailerons after they were torn off in a cu-nim).
Mosquito Victory (screened from ops, instructing on Halifaxes and then posted to a Mosquito squadron).
Cracking stuff.

Double Zero
15th May 2008, 11:18
Jonathan Livingstone Seagull gives us all hope, sounds like a good Test Pilot but applies to sailors too !

A couple of very good books are ' Harrier -Ski-Jump to Victory ' which despite the title has a lot of good gen', as the author the late John Godden worked at Kingston P.R. ( I used to work with him on occasions, can't understand how he died so young ) - the book has first-hand accounts by Sea Harrier & GR3 pilots as soon as they came back - though as John was in BAe P.R. I suggest reading Jerry Pooks' book straight afterwards !

The other book I was going to mention is not directly aviation related, but

'Lost Voices' of the R.N. by Max Arthur is a cracking read.

Incidentally my local fish & chip shop ( Petworth ) has a large painting of HMS Hood on the wall; it turns out that the woman who runs it now is grand-daughter of one of the 3 survivors...

I've seen a comment recently mentioning the Hood should have been one of those battlecruisers converted into aircraft carriers; well it could hardly have done any worse, and might have been jolly useful !

Agaricus bisporus
15th May 2008, 12:48
Not sure about JLS being pure fantasy - it is a strong allegory (almost a eulogy) for military fast jet training. Brilliant!

Druid's Circle by HW Dean
Anything by EK Gann (great books on sailing too)
Anything by the wonderful Harald Penrose
Francis Chichester's book on his Tiger Moth adventures - superb.
The Right Stuff

There are also fascinating biographies on Roy Chadwick (AVRO chief designer) and Roy Fedden (Bristol's Chief Engineer) but you'll have to search for the titles.

16th May 2008, 07:39
Think Like a Bird: An Army Pilot's Story Alex Kimbells exploits as an Army Air Corps pilot starting in Austers then Beavers is an excellent read in my opinion:ok:

His description of a glide from 10,000ft to base at night is brilliant


longer ron
16th May 2008, 21:13
So many great books but I agree that 'think like a bird' is an exceptionally well written and 'unputdownable' book :ok:

Double Zero
17th May 2008, 10:06
The later 'Sir' Francis Chichester's book on Gypsy Moth adventures ( adapted into a seaplane, and along the way involving a complete rebuild & re-rig at Lord Howe Island, & inventing new navigation methods to get there later used in WW2 ) is titled ' The lonely Sea & The Sky '.

On his return from sailing around the world in 'Gypsy Moth 4' - a boat most sailors would regard unmanageable for a short trip singlehanded - he was knighted with Sir Francis Drake's sword...

Luckily Gypsy Moth 4 has been saved from her dry berth at Greenwich, restored and has taken various novices around the world again recently, though not without 'interfacing' with a reef !


17th May 2008, 10:12
If you can get hold of a copy Sled Driver by Brian Schul is aalso an excellent read......


19th May 2008, 15:04
West with the Night - Beryl Markham (Evocative account of her life in Kenya in the 20's and 30's as a pioneering flier, who made the first solo Atlantic crossing from East to West in 1936. A contemporary of Karen Blixen, of "Out of Africa" fame.)

Sigh for a Merlin - Alex Henshaw (Very readable book by this legendary pilot, who seemed able to express himself in print with the same skill he showed in the cockpit. I am proud to have his autograph,)

The Concorde Story - Christopher Orlebar (In my opinion, the best of the many books on this subject, written by a man who really knows what he is talking about - having been a Concorde pilot.)

Vulcan Test Pilot - Tony Blackman (Another master work, by a man who is writing from first-hand knowledge.)

19th May 2008, 15:22
On the subject of Alex Henshaw, Flight of the Mew Gull is a superb book, and Africa is still much the same. Also Guy Gibson's Enemy Coast Ahead.Crash

'Chuffer' Dandridge
19th May 2008, 15:59
"Airborne" by Neil Williams

"Fall out, Roman Catholics & Jews" by Tony Haig-Thomas.

19th May 2008, 17:10
Ernest K Gann " Fate is the Hunter"


19th May 2008, 19:22
One to keep handy.....

"Stick and Rudder" by Wolfgang Langewiesche

Written in the '40's but for flying small aircraft - one of the best.

19th May 2008, 19:37
"Fate is the Hunter" is an excellent read. My paperback copy was beginning to fall to bits when, by chance, I happened across a first edition hardback copy a couple of weeks ago...:ok:

"Sigh for a Merlin" is good, but "Flight of the Mew Gull" is exceptional. How the heck did he do it?

"Vulcan Test Pilot" is also superb.

19th May 2008, 19:48
"Fly For Your Life" by Robert Stanford-Tuck (DSO, DFC and 2 Bars)

A Pandy
19th May 2008, 20:37
"Nine Lives" by Alan Deere.

off centre
20th May 2008, 02:47
Several residents here have written some good things.

"Beaufighters in the Night" is one. Yanks flying Beaus was a new twist for me.

Pugilistic Animus
20th May 2008, 03:14
'by the seat of my pants' the memoirs of an airmail pilot [gotta rememer the author's name

HABU---stories from an SR-71 pilot

I agree--with all books by EKG

Black Wings

and Jane's all the world's aircraft

sorry about not listing all authors but I'm not near my books


20th May 2008, 04:21
A few of my favourites,

Sled Driver by Brian Shul,

Vulcan 607 by Rowland White,

The Big Show by Pierre Closterman,

Gatty Prince of Navigators by Bruce Brown,

Spitfire A Test Pilots Story by Jeffery Quill,

Forever Flying by R A "Bob" Hoover,

We Landed by Moonlight by Hugh Verity,

The Long Way Home by Ed Dover,

The Flying Business The Life of Arthur Schutt by Wal Davies,

I Flew For MMA by Captain Reg Adkins,

Sigh For a Merlin by Alex Henshaw,

The Flight of the Mew Gull by Alex Henshaw,

The Dam Busters by Paul Brickhill,

Enemy Coast Ahead by Guy Gibson,

Battle of Britain The Movie by Robert J Rudhall,

Luftwaffe Secret Projects,

Piper aircraft by Roger W Peperell,

Bushies A History of Bush Pilots?Air Queensland by Ron Ensch,

Corsairville by Graham Coster,

The Shepherd by Frederick Forysth,

Cessna Wings for the World by William D Thompson.

21st May 2008, 00:40
Best carrier flying book 'Flight of the Intruder' by Stephen Coonts. Novel of the Vietnam war by one who was there. Very accurate.

21st May 2008, 03:19
Ernest K. Gann's 'FATE IS THE HUNTER', originally published in 1961, is mentioned five (5) times on this thread.

21st May 2008, 03:19
Not sure if it just called "Skunk Works" but it is a book all about the U2 and the SR71 and their development, very interesting read.

I second "Beyond The Blue Horizon" by Alexander Frater.

21st May 2008, 07:33
Skunkworks is the story of Kelly Johnson, Lockheed and the U2 and SR71 and a fantastic read.

Another series of books that is worthy read is the Air Disaster books written by Australian safety guru Macarther Job.

24th May 2008, 17:08
'Wings of Destiny - Wing Commander Charles Learmonth DFC and Bar and the Air War in New Guinea' by Charles Page. Also his earlier 'Vengeance of the Outback', both books meticulously researched Australian aviation histories.

24th May 2008, 18:33
Already listed, but one of the books I decided to bring with me for my summer sojourn here in Cuckooclockland-

Delta Papa - Derek Piggott Amazing man, who did so much for gliding and film work.


Free as a bird and On being a bird, both by Philip Wills. Oh, and anything by Anne Welch. They all inspired me to a life of flying...even if I'm only driving bloons now;)

By the way the wave bars look spectacular out of my window as I write this:rolleyes:

Higher Archie
24th May 2008, 18:39
Some books about Civil Air Transport:

Beyond The Blue Horizon, Alexander Frater: A great tale about replicating the Imperial Airways Australia route.
Beyond Lion Rock, Gavin Young: A tale on how two pioneers created Cathay Pacific.
High Risk, Adam Thompson: The story of B-Cal, and good advice on how to avoid being stuffed by British Airways.

25th May 2008, 00:56
A good read is also "The Cross Eyed Spitting Cobra" by ex-mercenary Noel Vonhoff.

25th May 2008, 06:18
Am I the only one to have read this superb account of Typhoon flying.? It's a book I've read and re-read.
Listen to the great man himself:
and there's an extract here:

25th May 2008, 06:19
I think you'll find that "Slide Rule" was by Neville Shute

25th May 2008, 06:42
"Flight of Passage" by Rinker Buck, great story of two young guys flying a Piper Cub across the USA with their flying father's blessing. Some great adventures described including some unfriendly crop-duster's.

"Flights of Passage" by Samuel Hynes, good read on wartime Avenger operations.

25th May 2008, 07:02
Cs said
"I think "Slide Rule" by Neville Norway is a good read."

pjac replied...
I think you'll find that "Slide Rule" was by Neville Shute

Wikipedia says....
"Nevil Shute Norway (17 January 1899 - 12 January 1960) was, as Nevil Shute, a popular novelist, as well as a successful aeronautical engineer."

So there you have it....... :)

PS "Flying from my mind" by David G. Cook is worth a read.

Dan Winterland
25th May 2008, 08:37
China Pilot by Felix Smith.

A true account of the author's flying with CAT (Civil Air Transport) which was started by Claire Chennault of Flying Tigers fame flying relief for the UN in China post WW2, flew in support of the Nationalist forces in during the Communist uprising, flew in Korea during the war there, also in the first and second Indochina wars, eventually became Air America and was the most shot at airline in history.

25th May 2008, 14:04
Ernest K. Gann's 'FATE IS THE HUNTER', originally published in 1961, is mentioned five (5) times on this thread.
Make it six.

The Accidental Airline by Jim Spillsbury, the story of Queen Charlotte Airlines.

Permission Granted by Wes McIntosh. Wes is an old bugger, into his 90's and he's still going strong. The story spans his 60 year career in aviation.

My Life In The North by Jack Lamb. Jack once ferried a DC-3 from Kabul to Thompson MB (http://www.douglasdc3.com/lamb1/dc3lamb1.htm). No big problem, but he'd never flown one before and his wife was co-pilot for part of the trip.

There are two often overlooked Ernest Gann books, The High And The Mighty and The Island In The Sky. Sadly, they have been out of print for years, although they both occasionally pop up on eBay. Both books have also been made into very creditable movies, starring John Wayne. They were available on DVD a couple of years ago. The first novel is about a DC-4 from HNL to SFO who loses a prop just past the point of no return. A great story, and the movie is the better of the two, I believe. The second book is based on the incident in FITH where the C-87 runs into ice and is force landed on a lake in northern Quebec. The book is the best and the movie the lesser of the two, in my opinion. As an aside the first aircraft into the lake in IITS was a Barkley Grow on skis, from Canadian, later Canadian Pacific, Airlines. I forget the name of the Captain, but his mechanic later went on to become the chief engineer for the corporate aviation department I worked for for 27 years.

27th May 2008, 04:44
What about "Verdict on Erebus" by Peter Mahon (former New Zealand QC and High Court Judge, and Royal Commissioner for the Erebus crash).

As for aviation fiction books, I seem to recall enjoying "Airport" by Arthur Hailey.

Lucky Six
27th May 2008, 10:52
I know some people disagree with the findings of the Royal Commission into the Erebus accident however 'Verdict on Erebus' should be on every safety managers or investigators bookshelf if only to give a first class understanding on how a judicial investigator reaches a finding. A good read.

Safe flying.

27th May 2008, 11:03
ANybody here read the book by Anita Shreve? "The Pilot's wife?" :*

28th May 2008, 00:40
Although the story is about life AFTER flying, The Great Escape is a great read.

28th May 2008, 01:49
I think Ernest K. also wrote a book called, "In The Company of Eagles" which was quite a good read IIRC.

Silvio Pettirossi
2nd Jun 2008, 01:48
"Captain Lodi Speaking: Saying Goodbye to an Era" Written by Marius Lodeesen. Autobiography of an PAN AM Capitain who started his career on the famous clipper flying boats in the early '30 and retired on the 707, very interesting reading IMO....

2nd Jun 2008, 06:54
Has anyone read 'Above the bright blue skies?'. Can't remember the author. Was written about first world war time and was more a series of anecdotes and short stories

Luscombe Pilot
2nd Jun 2008, 14:59
I have written a series about aircraft construction in the UK including quite an extensive bibliography; some of these are truly great books, particularly for anyone interested in the history of the industry and test flying. I've copied below an extract from the Bibliography listing what I consider to be the best of these books:

Adventure with Fate, Harald Penrose, Airlife (1984)
The Aircraft of the World, William Green (Macdonald, 1965)
Aviation Archaeology, Bruce Robertson (Patrick Stephens Ltd, second edition 1983)
Aviation Landmarks, Jean Gardner (Battle of Britain Prints International 1990)
British Aircraft at War 1939-45, Gordon Swanborough (HPC Publishing, 1997)
British Aircraft Before The Great War, Michael H. Goodall, Albert E. Tagg (Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 2001)
British Aviation – Ominous Skies, Harald Penrose (HMSO, 1980)
British Aviation – The Adventuring Years, Harald Penrose (Putnam, 1973)
British Aviation – The Pioneer Years, Harald Penrose (Cassell Ltd, revised edition 1980)
British Aviation – Widening Horizons, Harald Penrose (HMSO, 1979)
British Civil Aircraft since 1919, A.J. Jackson (Putnam, 2nd edition, Vol. 1 1973, Vol. 2 1973, Vol. 3 1974)
British Homebuilt Aircraft since 1920, Ken Ellis (Merseyside Aviation Society, 2nd edition, 1979)
British Light Aeroplanes – Their Evolution, Development and Perfection 1920 – 1940, Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume (GMS Enterprises, 2000)
Dangerous Skies The, A.E. Clouston (Pan Books, 1956)
First Through the Clouds, F. Warren Merriam (B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1954)
The Flight of the Mew Gull, Alex Henshaw (John Murray, 1980)
The Forgotten Pilots, Lettice Curtis (Nelson Saunders, third edition, 1985)
History of British Aviation 1908-1914, R. Dallas Brett (Air Research Publications & Kristall Productions. Eightieth Anniversary Edition 1988)
I Kept No Diary, Air Cdre F.R. Banks (Airlife, 1978)
The Jet Aircraft of the World , William Green, Roy Cross (Macdonald, 1955)
Mach One, Mike Lithgow (Allan Wingate, 1954)
The Magic of a Name, Harold Nockholds (GT Foulis & Co. Ltd 1949)
The Marshall Story, Sir Arthur Marshall (Patrick Stephens Ltd, 1994)
Men with Wings, W/Cdr H.P. ‘Sandy’ Powell (Allan Wingate, 1957)
More Tails of the Fifties, Editor: Peter G. Campbell (Cirrus Associates (SW), 1998)
Not much of an Engineer, Sir Stanley Hooker (Airlife, 1984)
Pure Luck - The Authorized Biography of Sir Thomas Sopwith 1888-1989, Alan Bramson (Patrick Stephens Ltd, 1990)
The Quick and The Dead, W.A. Waterton (Frederick Muller Ltd, 1956)
Sent Flying, A.J. ‘Bill’ Pegg (Macdonald, 1959)
Sigh for a Merlin, Alex Henshaw, Crécy Publishing, 1999 reprint
Slide Rule, Nevil Shute (Readers Union, 1956)
The Spider Web, Sqn Ldr T.D. Hallam (Arms & Armour Press (reprint), 1979)
Spitfire - A Test Pilot’s Story, J.K. Quill (John Murray, 1983)
The Story of the British Light Aeroplane, Terence Boughton (John Murray, 1963)
Tails of the Fifties, Editor: Peter G. Campbell (Cirrus Associates (SW), 1997)
Test Pilot, Nevil Duke (Allan Wingate, 1953)
Test Pilots - The story of British Test Flying 1903-1984, Don Middleton (Willow Books, 1985)
Testing Time, Constance Babington Smith (Cassell & Co Ltd, 1961)
That Nothing Failed Them, Air Cdre A.H. Wheeler (G.T. Foulis & C. Ltd, 1963)
Three Centuries to Concorde, Charles Burnet (Mechanical Engineering Publications Ltd, 1979)
Ultralights - The Early British Classics, Richard Riding (Patrick Stephens Ltd, 1987)
Vapour Trails, Mike Lithgow (Allan Wingate, 1956)
Westland 50, J.W.R. Taylor, Maurice F. Allward (Ian Allan, 1965)

You could also add Penrose's Cloud Cuckooland and Airymouse.

2nd Jun 2008, 16:55
Obviously "Fate is the Hunter" and many of the others listed much earlier.
An interesting book, I don't think has been mentioned yet, is "The Take Off" by David Beaty.

3rd Jun 2008, 12:13
Every profession probably has its "bible", a book so respected that it stands alone and unchallenged. In the highly specialised field of aeronautics, pilots, engineers, aerodynamicists and technicians alike seem to think very highly indeed of "Handling the Big Jets" by D.P. Davies.

This was recommended to me a few years ago by a Welsh work colleague, who is a relative of the late David Davies, and I was able to acquire a mint copy of the third edition, reprinted in 1997. This has been a revelation, for the lucidity of its explanations of quite complex matters, and for sheer readability. The ability to write so clearly about the technical aspects of aviation is a gift, and this gentleman was blessed with it "in spades".

Subjective, I know, but I found Alex Henshaw's "Sigh for a Merlin" to be an engrossing masterwork on the immortal Spitfire, because he too had this gift. But sadly I found the books on the Spitfire by Jeffrey Quill, also a brilliant test pilot, to be heavy going and uninspiring - because for me, he lacked these same literary skills.

3rd Jun 2008, 17:59
Stranger To The Ground by Richard Bach.

4th Jun 2008, 14:08
Similar discussion on the military pilots threads.

F4 Phantom by Robert Prest

F4 Phantom is a wonderfully written book and a treasured possession. Not to forget Len Morgan's "Vectors" and "View from the Cockpit. For sheer flying skills in a shot up cockpit in a raging thunderstorm read the masterful writing of Rick Drury about flying Skyraiders over Vietnam "My Secret war."

28th Jan 2015, 11:40
Could not find the previous thread, hence a new one. I have just read Mike Brookes's book "Follow me Through". IMHO well written, interesting and for an old guy like me very nostalgic, especially reading names of guys I had all but forgotten. He has a new book out on test flying, which is on the way from that well known SA river. I am looking forward to it.

28th Jan 2015, 14:48


28th Jan 2015, 16:30
I recently read "Jaguar boys" which I enjoyed, as I have the other similar books in the series.

Out of the blue and the new out of the blue too is a very easy and entertaining read, in a similar kind of theme.

Air crash: the clues in the wreckage and also Infamous aircraft are interesting books in the less rosey side of things.

Airborne by Neil Williams is a collection of short stories of his life in aviation.

Spitfire a test pilots story by Jeffery Quill is a classic and I enjoyed reading it back to back with Sigh for a Merlin by Henshaw because of the obvious link.

The BAe Systems books on test flying in Lancashire is a great set on the whole history of some legendary machines and men.

JG26 top guns of the Luftwaffe is interesting although it can be a little dry at times because of its chronological nature.

Luftwaffe test pilot by Lerche is an enjoyable read.

Stuka Pilot by Rudel just has to be read given the mans record in WW2.

Jump for it by Bowman has some superb tales in it and another must read.

Two helicopter books are also must reads - Chickenhawk and Low level hell are just relentless action and it beggars belief anyone who flew those sorties lived to tell any tale!

Dangerous Skies by AE Clouston shows how flying was done in the early days.

28th Jan 2015, 16:35
If you can find a copy, "The Quick and the Dead" by Bill Waterton is superb.

28th Jan 2015, 16:51
Pittsextra, I also read "Jaguar boys", as for me it is really captivating, but now I am searching another book to read, so will take to the account every answer, thank everyone for sharing!

28th Jan 2015, 17:00
Non-fiction: How Airliners Fly; Fiction: The Damocles Plot, Flight 935 Do You Read, The Sommerville Case. All by Julien Evans, all available on Kindle.

28th Jan 2015, 18:36
Loud & Clear by Robert J. Serling....fascinating, terrifying and a wonderful historical reference to the challenges faced by the regulators, manufacturers, operators, crew and passengers of newly introduced 1950's and 1960 airliners

28th Jan 2015, 20:19
You probably already know but Ernest K Gann's "Fate is the hunter" should be in your bookcase.

Background Noise
28th Jan 2015, 20:35
Spitfire Girl by Jackie Moggridge.

ISBN: 978-1781859896 (Also on Kindle: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spitfire-Girl-My-Life-Sky-ebook/dp/B00KFDQVU0/ )

Previously called Woman Pilot and long out of print but now available very cheaply on Kindle under a revised name. The autobiography of one of the most prolific ATA pilots during the war including her battle to get a licence, a job with the ATA and employment after the war as a female pilot. Some insights into the basic nature of flying training and a bygone age, epic ferry flights and hair-raising incidents ending up with ferrying Spitfires to the far east. Jackie was, incidentally, the pilot who flew Carolyn Grace's Spitfire aircraft on its delivery flight.

28th Jan 2015, 21:19
Wander, this thread (http://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/65903-searching-good-read.html) has probably cost me several hundred quid invested in hours of happy reading! And re-reading...:ok:

28th Jan 2015, 22:32
Sigh for a Merlin and Flight of the Mew Gull
Both by Alex Henshaw

29th Jan 2015, 06:41
Treadi, thanks - I was obviously using the wrong search terms, but thanks for putting me straight


29th Jan 2015, 16:44
Rich Graham talks about how he got involved in flying the SR-71 and other aircraft. Met him at Duxford and bought his book

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeBu6mRDaro&x-yt-ts=1422503916&x-yt-cl=85027636 ]

30th Jan 2015, 15:05
If you can find a copy, "The Quick and the Dead" by Bill Waterton is superb.

This title was re-issued in 2012 so there are plenty of copies around.

30th Jan 2015, 15:49
Mentioned in the other threads I think but several of Nevil Shute's novels are aviation based with aircraft having a passing mention in several others.

No Highway, The Rainbow and the Rose, Round the Bend, Pastoral and Landfall and In the Wet all focus on flying as the plot or a major part of it. All though are also love stories in one form or another. By the time he wrote these works he'd developed form his early novels about crime and become an accomplished story teller. He has a technique for using one character, not always the main one, to set the scene and tell the story.

Pastoral and Landfall are both set in WW2 while No Highway and Round the Bend are based around commercial machines and their work in the immediate post war years.

The Rainbow and the Rose uses one pilot as narrator for the experiences of another from WW1 to the sixties. Probably the best story but In the Wet, written in the fifties but set in a fictional future c1982 runs a very near equal, but takes a bit of getting into.

His love for his adopted home in Australia is also a running theme.

30th Jan 2015, 17:43
"North Star Over My Shoulder" by Capt. Robert Buck of TWA. Started out on DC-2s and 3s, ended up as chief pilot on the 747. What a career span!

"Da Nang Diary" by Tom Yarborough. Flew OV-10 Broncos in Vietnam. Lots of hair-raising moments in that book. Very good read.

"Stick and Rudder" by Wolfgang Langewiesche, for obvious reasons.

"Bury Us Upside Down" about the "Misty" F-100 fast FACs in Vietnam.

11th Feb 2015, 10:29
A post on another thread today --

FROM NIGHT FLAK TO HIJACK - IT'S A SMALL WORLD by Captain Reginald Levy DFC, lobbed in the letterbox this morning. Needless to say, all pressing, extraneous jobs clambering for attention, were ignored for many hours. It would not be right, or fair, to rave too much, let alone refer to the highly quotable parts. The greatest impression of all is undoubtedly that Reg Levy was blessed with a charmed life. The close shaves he survived, more often than not unscathed, give much pause for wonderment. It was the luck of the draw, again and again. Those who adamantly refute the notion of good luck, and its obverse, cannot have read much about those fliers who have, against all the odds, come through time and time again.

His affection for nearly every aeroplane he flew is palpable. Take the Mosquito , for instance. His conversion onto the Mossie consisted of reading the pilot's notes, then blasting off alone for a few circuits. The subsequent extensive damage that he and his nav sustained to their aircraft on low level bombing raids, and their miraculous returns home, rank close to the unbelievable.


add to the Nevil Shute list of must reads, his autobiography, SLIDE RULE

GIFT OF WINGS by Richard Bach is a collection of essays and magazine articles.
The chapter called The Pleasure of their Company is brilliant. He lists all the writers to whom he
owes a huge debt of gratitude.

12th Feb 2015, 04:03
The Aerodrome - Rex Warner

A truly ground breaking novel. Research it, then if
intrigued, as many readers will be, get hold of it.

Superior to 1984 and Brave New World. A forgotten masterpiece of 20th century English lit. The cover quote says - "Probably the only novel of its time to understand the dangerous yet glamorous appeal of fascism and the less confident, only half-satisfactory answer of traditional democracy". First published in 1941, Anthony Burgess says in his introduction -" do not read this introduction first, unless you don't mind major plot details given away".

It is about England, only insofar as "the Village" is given distinctively English characteristics, like the pub - no nationalities or city or country names are ever mentioned, and half the characters have titles rather than names: the Rector, the Squire, the Flight Lieutenant, the Air Vice-Marshal. It is, certainly, about the allure of fascism, but, to return to Burgess, it is an "ambiguous" book, and an academic examination of fascism it is not. There is lovely detail given to character and descriptions of the Village. It also is a black comedy so dark that almost the only chuckles it elicits are nervous ones. Bloody unusual, this duck. Burgess mentioned that he read it several times. I can see why. It is a strange and mysterious book.

The Flight-Lieutenant told us that he had accidentally used live instead of blank ammunition in the machine-gun whose performance he had been demonstrating. "The old boy took it right in the face, " he said, "and went over like a ninepin." He smiled as he recalled the scene to his memory, then added in a more serious voice: "It was a really bad show."

12th Feb 2015, 05:38
The author, Reg Levy, was an engaging contributor to the 'Gaining a Pilot's Brevet...' thread on the Military Aviation forum until his passing last year.

I must get myself a copy of his book.
RIP, Reg.

12th Feb 2015, 05:46
you'll be so glad you did Stan .. . . It may lack the touch of a tight editor , but it is nevertheless such a remarkable life, with outstanding recall for detail , and as has been remarked , overflowing with his passion for the air.

How effortlessly Reg seems to go from 707 to DC-10 to 747 , rapid progression from one command to the next. SABENA ground schools were detail intensive, (unlike the American's approach), with much counting of the threads on the knurled flange bracket.
As opposed to more practical concentration on 'need-to-know' stuff, with the 'nice-to -know' brushed over.

(One tiny tiny annoyance is incorrect form of type designation throughout the book. . e.g. DC3 and DC10)

arthur harbrow
22nd Mar 2020, 10:40
Enthused by Aeroplane magazine having writers name their 4 favourite books and the prospect of a possible lockdown, maybe the time is right to list our favourite books.
Being mainly interested in civil aviation I would recommend the following 4
From Essex to Everywhere by David Willmott
Anglo Cargo by Dick Gilbert
Fate is the Hunter by Ernest Gann
cannot remember the title of number 4, but it was authored by a regular ppruner Blind Pew.

23rd Mar 2020, 09:11
Trust Me I’m The Pilot is authored by Blind Pew and it is an excellent read!

23rd Mar 2020, 13:25
Nice to see this thread revived, especially as we might all be scrabbling for some good reads

Mike Brookes series of books charting his career through training squadron and test pilot are all to be recommended. Follow Me Through, A Bucket of Sunshine, Trials and Errors and More Testing Times are written with wonderful humility, great humor and where needed, superb detail, particularly on individual aircraft. Once read, passed mine on very quickly on the bay site.

A recent enjoyable read was Skygods by Robert Gandt, which charts the rise and sad demise of Pan Am

For swashbuckling memoirs of fighter pilot action in WW2 and the Vietnam War look no further than Robin Olds - Fighter Pilot. Quite a character and quite a handful for the authorities that had to manage him. One of his many claims to fame, or maybe notoriety, is that he shot down a 109 dead stick after forgetting to manage his fuel after dropping his tanks.

Dave Gittins
23rd Mar 2020, 13:38
John Farley's book "A View From The Hover" is beyond superb.

John had the fantastic knack of making everything complicated sound so straightforward and obvious and reading his work is as though he was sitting next to you talking to you.

arthur harbrow
23rd Mar 2020, 20:28
Agree about the John Farley book, met him once, very nice man.
Another book I like Flight Testing to Win by Tony Blackman.

23rd Mar 2020, 22:17
Anything by Ernest Gann. The chapter where the C54 captain is realising the enormity of his problem in “Island (or is it cabin?) in the sky” is the best aviation writing there is. Sends a shiver down your spine. @The high and the mighty” - superb read but both may need an understanding or knowledge of a bygone age of aviation. His “Twilight for the Gods” too about a sailing ships last passage is wonderful.
Eagles wings by Hajo Herman. No Moon Tonight, by Don Charlwood.
Going Downtown by Jack Broughton.
There’s a few for starters, looks like we’ve got 3 weeks to read them! Enjoy them everyone and stay safe.

24th Mar 2020, 11:33
Patrolling the Cold War Skies: Reheat Sunrise by Phillip Keeble. Great descriptions of flying and wonderful, quirky humour

blind pew
24th Mar 2020, 12:53
Thanks but even better is Mike Riley’s recent addition.
I tracked him down before I published to seek his take on BA.
We share a few things in common as we both had problems with people believing that we were in macho man careers.
Moi, an Essex boy who even had trouble convincing others that I worked for BA and not as a pilot but as a camp steward.
I was often mistaken for Frank Spencer whilst Mike being limited in the stature department and an accomplished musician suffered the same fate.
His dedication to me is “my VC 10 student -and an author who is not afraid of the truth. Tell it like it is!
Which is precisely what he has done but with far better pros.


24th Mar 2020, 18:31
I just got an email from the publisher Pen & Sword saying that they've discounted a lot of e-books: https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/ebookpromotion
Not many aviation related titles in that list unfortunately (they've got plenty in their collection), but the Mary Ellis biography could be interesting, certainly at that price.