on 1 May 1998
This is not a book for the easily-bored. The style is straight-forward textbook with instructional diagrams and direct quotes from historical figures to underscore the lessons. If you're serious about air combat, then consider this to be your Bible. Flight sim pilots (particularly those who fly online with all realism factors turned on, or who fly sims such as SSI's Su-27 Flanker, MicroProse's Falcon series, Jane's F-15, Kesmai's AirWarrior, or even DID's EF2000 as stand-alone sims) will find this book to be invaluable as an educational tool. It also graces many libraries of real-life military squadrons, so those out there contemplating a career as a combat pilot can get a taste of what's in store for them if they decide to pursue a career in military aviation. But be warned - it'll stretch your mental muscles, so be prepared for glassy eyes and brain locks while you're reading it.
On content, this book is a "10". On entertainment, its a "5".
on 16 July 1998
I cannot comment on this book as a real tool, however for "serious" combat flight sim pilots it is a must. It contains highly technical information on flying ACM (technical as in have to think about, not as in mathematical). Its diagrams are excellent helping the reader to picture the maneuvers in 3 dimensional space. The book contains information from the different air-to-air weapons and their strengths and weaknesses, through to the basic building blocks of ACM (the three different forms of pursuit curve), to the ever more complex maneuvers (such as the Yo - Yo), and finally covering large scale operations like point defense. What makes the book of particular interest is the wealth of quotes from fighter pilots who have real experience. Shaw mostly talks about the pro's and con's of a specific maneuver, and then backs up this discussion with an anecdote from a pilot that describes a maneuver used in a real combat situation (from WW1 onwards) that when you an! ! alyse what the pilot did, it is the maneuver under discussion (whether the pilot realised it or not!)
As a criticism I would have preferred a slightly more detailed look at the mechanics of flight behind the ACM, but that could be because of my technical background, however apart from that I cannot praise this book enough. On the back of the cover, it has pilots also raving about the book (such as the like of Randy Cunningham), and if that doesn't sell it to you nothing will.
The book will require you to think, it is like any text book, and you can't go skipping paragraphs. However saying that, doesn't mean to say that it is not highly enjoyable, again the quotes (and the odd subtle joke) help to lighten it up if you are locked into a heavy reading session. For me personally, it should stand next to the books on tactics such as The Art of War, A Book of Five Rings, and The Military Maxims of Napoleon.
on 3 August 1999
As a pilot soon to commence lead in fighter training, I have found this an indispensable guide. It is a textbook, holding little of interest for the general reader, but if you fly aircraft or wish to understand that supreme form of tactics in the three dimensional sphere, then it doesn't get better than this.
on 25 May 1998
This book not only chronicles historical aspects of air combat but provides an exceedingly in depth study of how to fight and survive in an air combat arena. Very well researched, Mr. Shaw includes the technical aspects of air combat with discussions on weapons (guns, radar missiles and heat seeking missiles) along with how to employ them. There are well drawn diagrams that feature fighter aircraft from all eras to illustrate his very descriptive account of an air-to-air engagement. He includes the tactics involved for energy fighting, angles fighting, and multiple aircraft engagements. Mr. Shaw also covers dissimilar aircraft combat and how to employ the strengths of one airplane against the weaknesses of another. Fighter Combat's contents are highly applicable not only to the fighter pilots that practice this trade day in and day out, but to the masses of flight combat sim flyers out there. "Fighter Combat" is rich with information. Its contents rate an 10+ score but the readability is lower with an 8 owing to my overall score of 9 for this volume.
on 10 March 2000
I have read it a couple of times and everytime I pick up something new from within the text. This book is truly amazing. I wonder why Uncle Sam let this one slip by ? Who cares, I think this book is worth 6 stars out of 5. When is Shaw going to write the next volume?
on 14 October 1997
This is an amazing tome that is a must for anyone interested in dogfighting and fighter tactics. Shaw covers formations, manuevers, tactics, and fills the book with many quotes from history's greates aviators. Since reading Shaw's book, I've gained a whole new understanding of ACM and dogfighting tactics. I've been able to apply these skills successfully both in flight simulators and in Air Combat USA duels. It's the most complete book on the subject I've ever come across.
on 2 March 1999
This is an excellent foundation for any figher simulation fan (and probably real fighter pilot, but I didn't meet any). Although I have a PP and 200 hours logged, playing fighter sims, especially WWII variety, is a different ballgame, and a very hard one to figure out. This book gives a solid foundation onto which one can build flying and killing skills. The engineering appendix is just beefy enough to define terms cleanly and the book itself is covering all aspects necessary in a very clean and thorough way. Basic and Advanced Flight maneuvers are all there, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2 tactics, tactics when fighting in non-equivalent aircrafts, guns, missiles and performance aspects are all thoroughly covered. The author even goes to the extent of covering fixed wing vs. helicopter tactics, although not without a shot of irony. One of the most usefull things is the description of typical mistakes commited by rookies in maneuvers. The only improvement I could think of would be the description of drills that one should employ to train specific aspects of combat. And yes, it's nothing one reads quickly, the book is rather like fois-gras, a small slice every time ;-)
on 1 November 2004
As an average chap with an interest in air combat from WW1 to present day this book was a complete eye opener. Its worth the price for the quotes and combat reports/stories alone. And for a non pilot still makes sense.
on 21 October 1998
This book is great.. ive been flying Online Flight Simulators for 2yrs and i have been able to take down the Best of Best pilots. It tells you anything you want to know, ex: low yo-yo, high yo-yo, leading turn, and also talks about 1vs1 tactics 1vs2 ,etc. I give this book "TWO THUMBS UP"
on 2 June 1999
The way you appreciate a book always depends on what you expect it to bring you. As for myself, I was looking for a technically precise book about air / air warfare and the tradeoffs involved between fighter characteristics and maneuvering capability / tactics. In a word : nothing in that book I found irrelevant, and ~95% of that book was answers to questions I wondered about. I would not recommend it for people not at least a little keen on technics, but for engineers (like I am) or pilots this is purely what makes the subject interesting. It just lacks the included video or CD-ROM. Definitely a must-read for air warfare geometry freaks.