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British Aircraft Carriers: Design, Development & Service Histories [Hardcover]

David Hobbs
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
RRP: 45.00
Price: 29.25 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Nov 2013
This book is a meticulously detailed history of British aircraft-carrying ships from the earliest experimental vessels to the Queen Elizabeth class, currently under construction and the largest ships ever built for the Royal Navy. Individual chapters cover the design and construction of each class, with full technical details, and there are extensive summaries of every ship's career. Apart from the obvious large-deck carriers, the book also includes seaplane carriers, escort carriers and MAC ships, the maintenance ships built on carrier hulls, unbuilt projects, and the modern LPH. It concludes with a look at the future of naval aviation, while numerous appendices summarise related subjects like naval aircraft, recognition markings and the circumstances surrounding the loss of every British carrier. As befits such an important reference work, it is heavily illustrated with a magnificent gallery of photos and plans, including the first publication of original plans in full colour, one on a magnificent gatefold. Written by the leading historian of British carrier aviation, himself a retired Fleet Air Arm pilot, it displays the authority of a lifetime's research combined with a practical understanding of the issues surrounding the design and operation of aircraft carriers. As such British Aircraft Carriers is certain to become the standard work on the subject.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Seaforth Publishing (30 Nov 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848321384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848321380
  • Product Dimensions: 29.8 x 25 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

DAVID HOBBS served 33 years as a RN pilot, and since retirement he has spent a period as Curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum and become the author of many highly regarded books, including A Century of Naval Aviation (2009) and The British Pacific Fleet (2011).

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Destined to be a Classic 8 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book, by an ex-Fleet Air Arm pilot and later curator of the FAA Museum, will undoubtedly become regarded as THE authoritative book on British Aircraft carriers and naval aviation.
Cdr Hobbs previously published books include "Aircraft Carriers of the Royal & Commonwealth Navies " and "Royal Navy Escort Carriers" which are already established as standard works. This book virtually supercedes, and greatly expands them to cover the entire history of British naval aviation and it's carriers.
It combines the technical and operational history of the carriers, in far more detail than any prior work, plus considerable information on carrier procedure and comparisons with foreign navies

The Good Points
(which far outnumber the weaknesses)

The book uses the narrative of British naval aviation development as the basis for the ship details, in a very easy to follow way, while still enabling each class and ship to be individually examined. Sometimes by splitting a ship's history etc into sections through two or three chapters - which has been very skillfully done indeed. A considerable improvement on Norman Friedman's otherwise excellent but sometimes difficult to follow " British Carrier Aviation"

The photographs and plans are apposite, well chosen and well captioned. And there are plenty of them. Glossy paper helps.

The author's experience is well used to explain many features of naval operational procedure on board which until now have been unfamiliar to most of us. This is one of the book's great virtues

The degree of technical detail, both in the text and the tables far exceeds that previously available, especially in the post 1960 period. Indeed I am somewhat surprised that much of it has now been made public.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is an exceptional product of the highest quality. Not only is it a large book (289 x 245 mm), it is packed with detail in every one of its 384 pages and, just to ensure we can trust the content, it is written by a leading expert in the field with many years of personal experience of working on aircraft carriers. Author David Hobbs spent 33 years in the Royal Navy to 1997. Qualified to fly rotary and fixed wing aircraft, he completed over 800 carrier landings - 150 of which were at night. At other times he was responsible for developing carrier operating techniques and drove forward a particular sight which facilitated the recovery of Sea Harriers during times of bad weather and at night. He was also chosen as an exchange officer with the US Navy during which he was closely involved with sea trials for the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II.

Divided into 40 chapters, the work commences with “Admiralty interest in Aviation 1908-1911” and, thereby starts right at the very beginning. With the many developments and innovations through the years - including two world wars being fully explained, this complete life-story of a particular type of ship in the Royal Navy is told in a manner which allows the ordinary layman to appreciate the technical issues and associated problems involved.

Working its way steadily through the years, many of the chapters are dedicated to either a particular ship or class of ship and, of course, none are overlooked.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Seaweed
(publisher’s review copy)

We could have no better guide to this subject than Commander Hobbs, a veteran of over eight hundred carrier landings and retired curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum, who has already published extensively on Fleet Air Arm subjects. He has here brought years of research and study together to provide an entire and encyclopaedic account of the development and history of the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, from the earliest seaplane-carrying conversions to the Queen Elizabeth class now in build.

The scope of the work embraces every ship we have ever had that was dedicated to the launch and recovery of aircraft, even CAM ships, plus fascinating details of ships like the Malta class and CVA01 that never did get built (and Habbakuk the impossible floating aviation iceberg), but excluding those cruisers and other ships for which air operations were and are not the ship’s main purpose, even though their aircraft confer a utility far beyond their hull. There is a good account of the wartime Escort Carriers and their short but busy war in support of invasions and seaborne strike and other service from Norway via the Mediterranean to Japan. As the story progresses we are also given details of the contemporary aircraft carriers of our friends, enemies and neighbours, and of carrier aviation in Commonwealth navies, mostly based on our incredibly successful Vickers-designed Light Fleets which were only planned to last three years but one of which is still afloat.

The presentation takes the form of construction and technical details for each class of ship, followed by the individual history of each vessel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference book for model boat and ship builders plenty ...
Excellent reference book for model boat and ship builders plenty of information on the subject,also good read for anyone interested in British carriers design from the beginning to... Read more
Published 10 days ago by John Barker
4.0 out of 5 stars Britsih Aircraft Carriers Design, Development and services histories
Britsih Aircraft Carriers Design, Development and services histories has been a very interesting book to read, being very informative about the subject.
Published 17 days ago by andrewruth
5.0 out of 5 stars British Aircraft Carries review
Well written and highly detailed covering from the first naval flights up to modern times - worth buying and reading
Published 1 month ago by s woodward
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Very good book at a nice price, well laid out and revealed new images and new facts. It's a great shame to see how our Royal Navy has been destroyed.
Published 2 months ago by Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master List
all the details I'm sure, are available for those who know how to research them, David Hobbs has done the hard work for us though, Excellent Book.
Published 2 months ago by P. Glover
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
It is a excellent book and I like books about aircraft carriers and aircraft and ships crewsI recommend this book.
Published 2 months ago by Too Old
5.0 out of 5 stars excellant
very good covers the whole field good photos also explanation for the new modern carriers would like more line drawings
Published 2 months ago by michael j sproates
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Summary
This is a good introduction to British aircraft carrier designs and activities. An ambitious project that generally succeeds although I would have preferred a bit more detail on... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr Joe Barr
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent reference work
This is a well research examination of the history of British Aircraft Carriers with detailed profiles of the most significant classes. Read more
Published 4 months ago by John R. Fox
5.0 out of 5 stars British Aircraft Carriers by David Hobbs
An excellent book going into a lot of details and service histories of the carriers in the Royal Navy from the early ship trials right through to the new Queen Elizabeth carriers... Read more
Published 5 months ago by D. C. Paintin
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