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Miles M.52: Gateway to Supersonic Flight [Hardcover]

Eric Brown
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: £20.00
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Book Description

1 Mar 2012
In December 1943, a top secret contract (E.24/43) was awarded to Miles Aircraft. The contract was to build the world’s first supersonic jet capable of 1000mph. The only reliable source of data on supersonic objects came from the Armament Research Dept and their wind tunnel tests on ammunition. From this, Miles developed an exceptionally thin-winged bullet shaped aircraft. The research was inexplicably passed to the Americans in 1944. By December 1945, one prototype was virtually complete. The second, destined for an attempt at the sound barrier was 80 per cent complete. In February 1946, Capt Eric Brown was confirmed as the test pilot and October 1946 was set for the supersonic trials. However, on 12 February 1946, Miles were ordered to stop production. No plausible explanation was given for the cancellation when Britain was within six months of breaking the sound barrier. Eric Brown and others directly involved including Dennis Bancroft, the Chief Aerodynamicist on the M.52, have now come together to try and finally solve the mystery behind the cancellation.

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Miles M.52: Gateway to Supersonic Flight + Wings on My Sleeve: The World's Greatest Test Pilot tells his story + Wings of the Weird and Wonderful (Consign)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; First Edition edition (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752470140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752470146
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 17 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Captain Eric Brown, CBE, DSC, AFC, QCUSA, RN, is a former Royal Navy officer and test pilot who is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as holding the record for flying the greatest number of different aircraft. His other books include "Wings on My Sleeve," "Wings of the Luftwaffe," and "Wings of the Weird & Wonderful." Dennis Bancroft C.Eng MRAeS, was the Miles chief aerodynamicist. They are among the last surviving members of the M.52 development team.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and engaging 23 Jun 2012
By Hobbes
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Eric Brown and Dennis Bancroft were intimately involved in the M.52 programme, so it's no surprise that it's a thorough account of the programme and a decent analysis of its cancellation. The surprise was how good a writer Brown is. This is one of the best-written aviation books I've read in years. Brown has struck an excellent balance between giving lots of information and writing an engaging tale.

There are lots of photos (b&w only though), and a couple of drawings including a reproduction of an original Miles general arrangement drawing/3-view. The appendices contain some of the important documents in the project's demise, plus a detailed timeline of the project.

I think this qualifies as the definitive book on the M.52, and I can recommend it without reservation to anyone wanting to know more about the M.52, the state of supersonic research in Britain 1936-1950, the W.2/700 engine and the demise of Power Jets Ltd.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles M.52 27 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have always be interested in the Miles M.52 project and why it was cancelled so far down the line without any reason given as to why! This book goes into the details thoroughly from start tyo finish and highlights how close and in advance of other nations to breaking the sound barrier. The M.52 and it's engine were breaking new grounds in aviation and would have been a world beating design with it's design features being incorporated into other aircraft design, both military and civilian, ie the Bell X1, which I'm convinced would not have succeeded without the M.52s design features being handed over to the US, with nothing in return, simply because the US had nothing to offer of any use!

The book also highlights how inept British politicians are when it comes to British aviation and waste so much time and tax payers money on projects that show promise and then cancel them because of knee jerk reactions. They still as inept today a sthey have ever been. This book is a very interesting and thought provoking read, which will raise a lot of emotions in those who follow British aviation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant History of Perfidy 18 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Superb account of how we betrayed one of Britain's greatest aircraft designers, the late great F.G. Miles, and handed the Americans his design to give them the our opportunity of being the first breaking the sound barrier.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What should have been. 1 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is one that any person who is interested in the history of British aviation should read. The reasons for the loss of the lead this country had in supersonic flight clearly come across. It also becomes obvious that the powers that be never learn.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read 9 Jun 2012
By Mark
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really found this book a fascinating read. The M52 is known as one of the great "lost chances" of British aviation, but why was it cancelled? The book advances a hypothesis, which seems very plausible, but which is so sad, so much lost for such a reason. Most of the book provides an "insiders" view of the project to build the M52, by arguably the greatest test pilot ever (Eric Brown), and is (again) fascinating. I'd recommend this to anyone with an interest in aviation history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Britain's supesonic project cancellation mystery 10 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Accounts of those involved in an attempt to understand why Britain's sound-barrier breaking project, which was many years ahead of any other nation's, was so abruptly halted, only for a closely similar aircraft to take the laurels in the U.S. 18 months later. One of M52's design engineers has spent a lifetime trying to find an answer. Particularly interesting to me because of a local connection to the Miles family businesses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great little read 1 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I simply could not put down this well researched little book.
It was a great read and warrants another read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any plane enthusiast 27 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An eye opening account of how the British aircraft industry was let down by the Government of the day, and how our lead to the sound barrier was given away to the Americans.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book once again Politicians bowed down to the USA and ruined UK aircraft industry
Published 2 months ago by martin d lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great value from this supplier. Fascinating read
Published 3 months ago by Peter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Bought as a present
Published 3 months ago by irene reveco
4.0 out of 5 stars a must read for the jet aircraft enthusiast.
Well written and researched book. Pity there couldn't be more photos.
Published 3 months ago by B. Perham
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book and an insight into the period
Bought this after spending time reading about the TSR2. Very similar stories when it comes down to the basics of the post war era for both projects. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr Fixit
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles M52
This has got to be one of the most fascinating and, ultimately, tragic stories of the British Aircraft industry post WW2. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Barnowljenx
5.0 out of 5 stars What might have been.
Another book by the excellent Eric Brown. Very knowlegable pilot and full of interesting facts about how we were ahead of the US in supersonic flight---until.
Published 8 months ago by Mr. Brian J. Funnell
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book
Well written account.
Cancelling the M52 was a serious mistake. It lost us the world lead in Supersonics. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Thinker
5.0 out of 5 stars Opportunity lost
Typical example of short sighted pen pushers.
American deception,bureaucratic bungling, you couldn't make it up the truth is stranger than fiction.
Published 10 months ago by Paul Bates
5.0 out of 5 stars truth Winkled out
Dark deeds in dark days. Smokey rooms and likely conspiracies thrown into perspicacious perspective by the last man who knows the truth
Published 10 months ago by couldbeverse
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