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British Aircraft Carriers: Design, Development and Service Histories Hardcover – 30 Apr 2014


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Hardcover, 30 Apr 2014
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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: US Naval Institute Press (30 April 2014)
  • ASIN: B00I61QBS0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Taylor on 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Seaweed on 4 Mar. 2014
Format: Hardcover
(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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 28 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover
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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