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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating fighter fun, 31 Aug 2011
By 
Damien Burke (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: BAe P.1216: Supersonic ASTOVL Aircraft (ProjectTech Profiles) (Paperback)
The British aircraft industry has produced many weird and wonderful looking aircraft and having read Michael Pryce's profile of the P.1216 I find myself wishing they'd been given the chance to build this one. A gloriously idiosyncratic design based on the soundest of reasoning that clearly had many years of effort put into it, but scuppered by a mixture of official indifference, changing defence requirements and the need to go multinational with anything remotely expensive... not an unfamiliar story!

For those unfamiliar with the timeline, this was basically "JSF for the 1980s/1990s", but instead of mucking about with multiple versions for different customers, lift fans and generally making a mess of things, it was a long hard look at the Harrier and how it could be dramatically improved. With the fuselage mostly moved out to a pair of booms to keep it clear of the hot exhaust that bedevilled Harrier maintainability and plenum chamber burning in a Pegasus engine descendant with a single rear "hot" exhaust and two forward "cold" exhausts, this could - emphasis on could - have been a much more practical "supersonic Harrier" than the P.1154 project of the 1960s.

The book itself is generally well laid out though a few production errors mar things, for example the large GA being printed in pixellated form on the inside back cover. The sheer wealth of original drawings would make this a must buy for the "what if" fraternity on that basis alone, though several are very faint and would have been good candidates for being redrawn to recover the detail that is now just about lost. However, these are minor criticisms and the various colour brochure extracts and photographs of mockups and models really enliven the book and give you a real feel for what the aircraft would have looked like.

The project's lifespan and the surrounding events that impacted upon it are covered in a clear and logical manner, taking in competing designs from both within and outside of BAe where needed. Description of the aircraft's structure and systems are covered later and there is more than enough detail in here for a keen modeller to knock up a replica from scratch. All in all a volume packed full of information and well worth the modest purchase price.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on a little-known aircraft project of great interest, 21 Aug 2011
This review is from: BAe P.1216: Supersonic ASTOVL Aircraft (ProjectTech Profiles) (Paperback)
The P.1216 is a very interesting project, as it represented a serious attempt to build a supersonic STOVL fighter built on the rich experience of the Harrier. It was effectively the "last hurrah" from the justly famous Kingston team which produced an unparalleled range of fighters for the RAF from the 1930s onward. Its unconventional appearance was the result of long experience with day-to-day STOVL operation, and would certainly have stood out from the pack in a way the Eurofighter Typhoon doesn't. In the early 1980s these two very different projects were competing for funding and had things gone differently, it might have been British (or British-American) P.1216's flying missions over Libya.

In this latest ProjectTech volume Michael Pryce has done an excellent job of documenting the evolution of the P.1216 design and the various alternatives to it which were proposed by Kingston and the other BAe team at Warton, alongside the political and economic realities that resulted in it not being built. Making extensive use of primary documents and interviews with the various engineers involved, this is an authoritative account and contains lots of interesting new illustrations. These include many different revisions of the P.1216 plus other rival designs from BAe Warton.

The production of the book is very good. layout is clear and attractive. There are lots of images, mostly well-reproduced. Note that on page 45, three of the 3 views are cropped to the left so you lose part of the front view (P.1218-1, P.1219, P.1220), unfortunately the author has confirmed this is not a production error - the original document source for these drawings chopped off the edge of these drawings and no other source is currently known for them.

I heartily recommend this book for any aviation fan, an intriguing project that could perhaps have been a more interesting technical direction for BAe than the Eurofighter Typhoon.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars P.1216 Info Collected in One Place - Yay!, 26 Aug 2011
This review is from: BAe P.1216: Supersonic ASTOVL Aircraft (ProjectTech Profiles) (Paperback)
Firstly, for any folks who don't tend to buy these kinds of books (miniscule print run, extremely niche subject, loads of research time/cost invested), your tenner is buying you something of around the same size and heft as a product brochure... just so you don't feel scandalised and misled when this gem arrives in your hands.

To get the negatives out of the road first, they're pretty much the usual for everything written and printed these days: some inconsistent printing (faint text on one page); typos that really should have been caught by a proof-reader; some of the line-drawings are a bit patchy (though this will be more of a negative for some than others, since it was a deliberate and customer-led choice to use original documents rather than redraw them; which I also think was the correct approach, so I'm happy enough, and there are plenty of redrawn ones too so all bases are covered).

The author has covered the problem of hot gas ingestion (HGI) fairly comprehensively but I am left not quite sure what to believe since I have discussed this with someone who worked on the project who is adamant that HGI using any system but Harrier's (no plenum chamber burning, 'cool' forward nozzle efflux) or F-35's ('cool' lift-fan) is a completely unresolvable deal-breaker. This is obviously fairly pivotal to the What If question of 'Should we have continued with this design rather than invest in the [horrible] F-35', mentioned in the blurb and elsewhere - I was hoping that the book might have been a better answer.

The good stuff: Pretty much everything else, which is nearly all of it - see the five stars.

Great synthesis of long time labour of love with a highly capable academic's disciplined and thorough research; there aren't loads of (or any other, as far as I know) books already written on the subject to make you wonder whether to buy this one too; it really is a fairly little known and explored programme so it's great and handy to have all of the information (with good depth and the nuts and bolts) collected in one place, plus the line-drawings of closely related variants - some looking very slick and interesting indeed, and that I hadn't seen before; great What If fodder if you're into that kind of good fun.

I'll happily and eagerly buy any more books by this author - and I'm really glad that there's somebody out there doing this kind of thing (in addition to his day job).

Cheers.
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2 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilsonium, 5 Aug 2011
This review is from: BAe P.1216: Supersonic ASTOVL Aircraft (ProjectTech Profiles) (Paperback)
Having now read 6 of my 8 books bought from Amazon here are a few comments on books read: My interests were in Test pilots and certain British jet fighters and Bombers. Also war stories with certain interests applicable to me. Books read: Faster than the Sun .P. Twiss plot Not enough detail of his test flying too much about his personal life, good account of his World record Flight but did not hold my interest.Tarnish 6 great book interesting all through of jimmy Dell's test flying.5 stars. forever flying by bob hoover best evr account of this marvellous aerobatic Pilot 10 stars Vulcan 607 great account of the pilots and Bomber Vulcan and their efforts in the falklands that could have been done much cheaper by Sharkey ward and his squadron ofSea Harriers his book as good as bob Hoovers a great accoiunt of this Political war with huge mistakes made in fighting it. Ron Mcguffie
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BAe P.1216: Supersonic ASTOVL Aircraft (ProjectTech Profiles)
BAe P.1216: Supersonic ASTOVL Aircraft (ProjectTech Profiles) by Michael Pryce (Paperback - 15 Aug 2011)
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