RogerBW's Blog

Fly Navy: The View from the Cockpit 1945-2000, Charles Manning 02 July 2015

2000 non-fiction, a collection of anecdotes by officers of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.

As the preface puts it, the exploits of the Fleet Air Arm up to the end of the Second World War are well-recorded; but the ethos of British naval aviation generally hasn't been, and while the men who'd flown off the post-war carriers were still alive and able to recount their experiences the Fleet Air Arm Officers' Association put out the call for "what it was like". This is the edited collection.

It's quite a short book, so at best it's a very patchy diary of the post-war FAA, but the writing has a strong sense of immediacy, whether it's a general reminiscence of what a particular aircraft was like to fly, or a specific recounting of a particular incident. This isn't just "Sharkey" Ward talking about fighting (though there's an extract from Sea Harrier over the Falklands here); it's small stories like a night training flight gone wrong because the "cleared" runway at Lossiemouth still had a pile of snow on it, or the junior officer told to work out the safe load of Marines to be deposited on a mountaintop in Oman aboard a Whirlwind Mk.7 who came up with the answer "one, perhaps one and a half at night".

There's generous use of photographs, in many cases of the specific incidents being recounted; and there's mention of near-forgotten technological dead ends like the Supermarine Attacker, a jet with tailwheel landing gear (not the best visibility for carrier landings).

The experience is something like what one might hear in the squadron mess as the old hands tell their best stories (though with rather less profanity). As well as the technical detail, which is what I came for, it's a fascinating look into the lives of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Much of this book is available via Google Books.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1