Dying to fly

War Birds: The Diary of a Great War Pilot Elliott White Springs Annotated by Lieutenant Horace Fulford. Introduced by Mark Hillier. Published by Frontline Books, 2016. ISBN 978-1-47387-959-1 I imagine most Great War aviation enthusiasts are more or less familiar with Elliott White Springs’ War Birds – Diary of an Unknown Aviator. If it isn’t actually out of copyright, the internet is doing a grand … Continue reading Dying to fly

Down On The Water

Over the years, the age of the giant flying boats has been romanticised into a gilded memory of glamorous, spacious and luxurious air transport that finally conquered the world’s greatest oceans. But if the era was really so fabulous, why was a gifted aircraft designer (and experienced air traveller) like Dr. Beverley Shenstone convinced that it had to end as quickly as possible? And why … Continue reading Down On The Water

addio, Spillone

Italian F-104S It’s been a long while since I indulged my affection for the US ‘Century Series’ fighters, and Kelly Johnson’s superb ‘Zipper’ in particular. Time to address that now, with a long look at the last of the line. F-104 Starfighter: History of a myth This is the English-language release of Aeronautica Militare’s F-104 Starfighter: Storia di un mito. The translation is fairly obvious, but I’d … Continue reading addio, Spillone

Look back in amazement

African Aerospace – Part 2 Okay, it took a little longer than we anticipated, but I’m pleased to present the second batch of photos from last September’s Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2016 exhibition in South Africa, courtesy of local photographer Niel Swart. The best of the rest Africa’s pre-eminent aviation event, AAD2016 was held at the SAAF base at Waterkloof, between Pretoria and Johannesburg. … Continue reading Look back in amazement

In memory of an F.22

Malloch’s Spitfire by Nick Meikle ISBN 978-1-61200-252-1 In as much as this review is, literally I guess, a bookend for airscape’s Spitfire Month, I hope by now you have a burning passion for one of history’s greatest fighter aircraft. And assuming you have, let me begin by recommending Malloch’s Spitfire as a must-have book – even a foundation one – for your Spitfire library. It’s … Continue reading In memory of an F.22

On Spitfires (Part One)

‘Indicator’ tells all ‘Indicator’ filed a long series of impressions of Allied aircraft for Flight magazine in the years after World War 2. While Flight didn’t give his identity away (most likely because he was still in uniform) he was definitely a test pilot – probably at the RAF’s Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment, Boscombe Down. Mind you, he also seems to have done some … Continue reading On Spitfires (Part One)

‘As British as Queen Victoria’

Germany’s greatest fighter What if the Spitfire – that most iconic British fighter – wasn’t? British, I mean. What if it’s sighed-over elliptical wing (which, as any attentive high school student could tell you, isn’t even an ellipse) owed as much to the Germans it fought against as the English it saved? A masterpiece of aerodynamics Okay, I admit it’s a deliberately hackle-raising question… After all, the … Continue reading ‘As British as Queen Victoria’

The inimitable Mr. Hanna

F**king f**k! I know you’ve probably seen this clip before (and if you haven’t you’re in for a treat!) but I just couldn’t spend a month celebrating Spitfires and not include it. It never gets old. I’m sure the presenter, noted racing driver Alain de Cadenet, has never forgotten his brush with that high-performance vehicle! It’s fun to note that the Spitfire was climbing by the … Continue reading The inimitable Mr. Hanna

The man inside K5054

‘Don’t change anything’ You’ll hear this story a lot at the start of every March – on the 5th of the month, 1936, Vickers’ Chief Test Pilot ‘Mutt’ Summers took the prototype Supermarine Spitfire, K5054, for its first flight. On landing, he’s widely reported to have said ‘Don’t change anything’ – or words to that effect. There’s been a lot of speculation about this brusque … Continue reading The man inside K5054