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Special Forces Pilot: A Flying Memoir of the Falkland War [Hardcover]

Colonel Richard Hutchings
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 Oct 2008
As a Commando helicopter pilot, the author served with 846 Naval Air Squadron in the Falklands War and was decorated for gallantry (DSC). The author re-lives his part in operations, in particular Special Forces intelligence gathering and direct action missions, including the Pebble Island raid. Events are described in detail including the development of pioneering night operating procedures and the conduct of covert and other operationally sensitive missions. The book includes hitherto undisclosed material relating to Operation MIKADO, the ill-fated Special Forces mission in Argentina with its disastrous consequences for the Task Force. Dick was Captain of the Sea King that carried the Special Forces team into Argentina. The operation is described in detail including events in the air and on the ground in Argentina and Chile. Dick recalls his encounter with the Chilean authorities, meetings with British Embassy officials in Santiago, the international press conference, his eventful repatriation to the UK, debriefings in the MoD and time spent in an MI6 safe-house somewhere in England. The book concludes by describing a follow-up visit to Chile by the author in November 1982, at the behest of the Chilean Government.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation; First Edition edition (16 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844158047
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844158041
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.3 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 495,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Now retired Colonel Richard (Dick) Hutchings DSC lives in Cumbria. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book 19 Oct 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I received my copy of 'Special Forces Pilot' the day after publication after having waited patiently for publication. I first heard about the book in our local newspaper (The Whitehaven News) as the author is a local resident and have been eagerly awaiting publication. The wait was not disappointing and I finished the book in two days. It is a well researched, fast paced personal account of flying operations during the Falklands War and includes, for the first time, first hand detailed information about the insertion of an SF recce patrol into mainland Argentina. I would fully recommend this book to anyone interested in military aviation, military history or just true adventure stories. Hats off to Col Hutchings DSC.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From a veteran's perspective 26 April 2009
During the Falklands War I was in charge of flying in HMS Fearless, the Commando Assault Headquarters Ship in San Carlos Water. Many of the SF missions staged through my flight deck and on occasion I sat in on some of the briefings. I was aware of the outline of Dick Hutchings mission and knew it was happening but until now I have never known the details. From an insider's viewpoint I found the book fascinating and highly readable. The story of the mission on the mainland should have been told sooner and now there is a clear difference in the facts of the published accounts. Dick Hutching's exciting book has the ring of authenticity for me. One issue it highlights once again are the quite serious errors made by the SAS in the campaign. Here was a professional SF outfit with a high reputation questioning the navigational competence of similarly professional Fleet Air Arm helicopter aircrew. The failure of the SAS transit of the glacier in South Georgia and subsequent final rescue by Ian Stanley in a lumbering Wessex 3 helicopter was another. Then there were the three SBS troops killed one night during an accidental encounter with the SAS. Pebble Island was a huge success but they must be balanced by several avoidable failures, including the landing on the Argentine mainland.Dick Hutchings and the rest of the crew did as much as they could to achieve sucess. But the loss of the aircraft and the unavailability of three valuable aircrew may not, in the end, have been worth it.
One issue in the book where Dick is unequivocal and detailed in his criticism is the Vulcan raid on Port Stanley airport which he characterises as a failure and a waste of resources. Rowland White in "Vulcan 607" paints an entirely different picture. It would be interesting to hear further debate on this operation.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional book! 7 Jan 2009
This is a highly readable book full of previously unpublished information on the Falklands war, especially from a Fleet Air Arm perspective. There have been some superb books already written about the Sea Harrier experience, for example Sea Harrier over the Falklands and Hostile Sky's - but this book tells the story of front-line helicopter operations - and especially full information on the author's part in Operation Mikado.

I hope many others will go on nd read this superb book!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT READ 28 Mar 2009
This is the first book i have read to do with the Falklands War and it has to be said that this is one of the best military aviation books i have read yet. It takes you through the eyes of the pilot during SAS insertion missions and then the one way mission which went wrong. This book doesn't give any great detail on the actual concepts of flying but it describes the action vividly, more importantly it describes the war as sea very well. It takes a while to get into the book as the start is failry slow and dull but once you've past that stage the book comes alive and is very difficult to put down. As a result of reading this book i will with out a doubt be reading more books on the Falkands War.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Operation 'Certain Death' - The Truth Revealed 27 Feb 2010
It has been said of the Falklands War that never in the field of human conflict has so much been written, by so many, about so few. Indeed, more than 200 books have been published about that brief but important war in 1982, many by the veterans themselves. So you may think that there is little left to say about the hostilities between Britain and Argentina in the South Atlantic for control of the Falkland Islands. Incredibly, however, as pointed out by Prince Andrew in his foreword, the vital role played by helicopters in the 74-day conflict has been largely overlooked. That anomaly is rectified by Colonel Hutchings in his fascinating memoirs. A Royal Marine Sea King pilot serving with 846 Squadron aboard HMS Hermes, Hutchings certainly had an eventful war. Besides inserting and extracting Special Forces patrols throughout the Falklands, he was also involved in the capture of the Argentine spy trawler Narwhal, and the SAS raid on Pebble island. But of greatest interest is undoubtedly the chapters that deal with Operation MIKADO, the ill-fated but daring attempt to infiltrate an SAS team into the Argentine mainland to spy on the Rio Grande air base in the extreme south of the country, which was home to the Argentine Navy's deadly Exocet armed Super Etendard strike aircraft. Hutchings was the pilot who volunteered to fly the SAS in, and he presents for the first time the true story of a mission that was dubbed by some SAS soldiers `Operation Certain Death' and which, for the past 28 years, has been shrouded in myth and rumour. Cleanly written, this is a gripping account of one helicopter pilot's war and an essential buy for students of a conflict which, more than a quarter of a century on, still exercises a powerful hold on the British public's imagination.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
ok good book
Published 1 day ago by terryshepherd
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account!
Speaking from experience this is one of the few factually correct accounts, well written Sir! I was particularly impressed with the well thought out pace of this book.
Published 1 month ago by Andrew Dutton
4.0 out of 5 stars Facts behind the smokescreen of the fog of war
An excellent read which lifted the veil as to what really happened at the sharp end during the Falklands War. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Arthur E Cox
5.0 out of 5 stars What really happened on the ill-fated Special Forces insertion into...
Written by a Royal Marine Pilot who spent his time the Falklands War flying a Sea King helicopter in one of the busiest jobs going, Colonel Hutchings gives a gripping insight into... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jamie Adam
5.0 out of 5 stars Got it in one!!
Col H you nailed it!! I had the pleasure of being one of your passengers during the conflict and you after 32 years you took me right back (the inflight entertainment wasn't that... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dr. C. Evans.
5.0 out of 5 stars Falklands flying at its best
A very interesting account and a well written book overall. First hand tales of missions mainly flown from ships to put ashore the SAS and SBS troops, but a fascinating write-up... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Nigel H
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story, brilliantly written
What a career! Fascinating stories to tell and a personal view from someone on the frontline. Made all the more impressive if you read another account of the same operation to... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Rob
5.0 out of 5 stars The Secret Falklands Mission to Argentina
Really enjoyed this. A Navy/Royal Marine helicopter pilot's account of his Falklands war. Duties which took a tangent away from the flying requirements needed by the taskforce and... Read more
Published 9 months ago by HR
4.0 out of 5 stars A good clear account of another aspect of the Falklands conflict
Well written by a serviceman who was one of the best, flying difficult and exhausting missions in difficult conditions, and using 1st generation night vision goggles, something we... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Graylew
5.0 out of 5 stars happy
Good value buy,prompt delivery via royal mail. Very happy with this service. quite happy to purchase goods from this seller.
Published 12 months ago by Stephen Pickton
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