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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This volume is a collection of around 100 stories from Royal Air Force pilots recounting their personal experiences flying various aircraft in the Cold War period between about 1950 and 1990. Almost all are written in the first person by the pilot involved.

The selection and editing process is so good that almost all the accounts are highly entertaining, often astounding, and extremely well written with literacy, humour and economy of language. Some of these incidents made the national news, but most are told here for the first time. Examples which linger in the memory: the Hunter pilot who flew under the span of Tower Bridge in Central London on a weekday after buzzing Parliament to protest against government budget cuts in Air Force spending and who, on landing, had to insist himself that he be put under arrest for safety violations as no-one else would do it; the maintenance engineer who inadvertently took to the air in a Lightning minus canopy, with the ejector seat safety pins locked in and the undercarriage locked down which forced him to learn how to fly through the circuit and land it - or die; the Hunter pilot who ejected into the sea near Tintagel following an engine malfunction and whose aircraft subsequently crash-landed in the High Street, miraculously causing no injury (except to the pilot, who suffered spinal injuries on ejection from which he eventually recovered).

Flying high-performance military aircraft is a dangerous business and the RAF suffered a number of flying fatalities during this period, to be expected in an Air Force with an unrivalled reputation for low-level high-speed combat flying. The focus of these stories however is the lucky escape, the almost-ended-in-catastrophe-but-didn't flying incident, and this leaves the reader with a feeling of warm appreciation and relief, able to see the humour in the situation rather than the tragedy.

Some of the stories contain quite a lot of technical aviation jargon as the pilot concerned feels the need to explain exactly what led up to the particular incident, but most may be read right off the bat and enjoyed by the non-flying, non-techie reader. The episodic format enables you to pick it up, read a couple of the stories, and put it down again.

The book is published by Halldale for free, and sponsored by BAE Systems and CAE. 100% of the proceeds of sale go to the RAF Benevolent Fund, not just the marginal profit on publishing cost, so you needn't begrudge the cover price: you're donating to charity by buying it, and a worthy one at that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2012
As a contributor of 4 stories to 'Out of the Blue' I will not comment on its worth as a volume of aviation anecdotes. However, I would point out here that the 3 retired RAF officers who compiled the book will not release it to Amazon pro tem because Amazon's charges would negate the benefit that the charities are gaining by the book being available only through Halldale's website, which is here: [...] In essence, the book has been published by Halldale for free and so, other than P&P, all proceeds are destined for the 2 charities, RAFBF and H4H.

Oh, all right then, it's a fantastic read and worth every penny. From 'Ooops, did I do that' stories through 'I was lucky to get away with that one' dramas - in Out of the Blue you can read from the horse's mouth just what it is and was like to be front-line aircrew in the Royal Air Force. There's many a good belly laugh therein too!

DH
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2012
Blessed (I think!) to know the Editors and a number of the contributors, I found this a great read - one I had difficulty putting down. The format of many short articles does, however, allow one to put it aside for a few minutes to re-connect with reality before plunging back again into the exciting, occasionally shambolic, life of the military pilot.

Two minor carps - I found the more measured articles from John Severne's collection spoilt the immediacy of impact of all the other stories and one, but only one, longer story with a number of repetitions had escaped the editorial pruning shears. But if you want a cracking good read which generates disbelief, incredulity and admiration in equal measures, this is the book for you. And there must be many more such collections just waiting to be collated.

The price is exceptionally good and all proceeds (not just profits) go to RAF Charities and Help for Heroes. So pass the word to everyone you know who is a pilot, wanted or wants to be a pilot or has put up with being a pilot's partner. However, you will have to go to the publisher's site to order as Amazon has yet to stock it. Belay the last pipe - now available through Amazon!

Chocks Away
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2012
Not only a wide selection of tales and sometimes quirky flying experiences, but also a fascinating insight into the real world of the RAF. I also had to go to Halldale publishers to get the book. It deserves wider availability, both for its inherent interest and for the cause of the Benevolent Fund.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2012
I managed to get hold of a copy of this book for my Dad, but could only do so via the website of the publishers, Halldale Media. Although listed for sale by Amazon, you can't actually buy it through Amazon yet. But it's a great book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2011
For all aviation buffs (and others!)this is a really good read which will have you laughing,or crying,regardless of whether you are a pilot or not. And all for a good cause as well - the RAF Benevolent Fund and Help for Heroes.
So go on treat yourself and tell your friends, the more that are sold the more goes to the charities and better the chance of a second volume, best of all submit your own story to the publishers,Halldale
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2013
Brings back memories of my own short carrieer as a jet pilot on the famous Hawker Hunter and the sturdy Gloster Meteor
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on 20 February 2013
A great format to be able to pick up periodically without having forgotten where you'd got to, and to have a chuckle at some of the escapades those in the RAF have had over the years (although I bet many of them weren't chuckling at the time!). Most the stories are only 1-to-3 pages long, so an ideal length for dipping into an out of. The book also covers a long period of time from a few WWII tales right up to the end of the 90's - as I bet anything more recent might get some people in trouble. Only a few little niggles, and you can't complain about the price or the good causes it supports.

Only one gripe ... Amazon why can't you do the charitable thing and make the book available on Amazon, whilst also letting the RAF Benevolent Fund and Help for Heros get the benefits? - it can't cost Amazon that much and would benefit your customers and help these good causes all in one go...
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on 8 December 2014
I read this book when it first came out, and felt compelled to read it straight through, as the interest in the stories was so great. I now enjoy going back and reading the stand-alone tales in order to check on the finer points while still relishing the overall tone of the fascinating human experience of the contributors. I have a background in military aviation myself, but still find this collection exciting and amusing in equal measure.
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on 27 December 2012
Great book of short 2-4 page accounts of what really went on behind the scenes with the RAF pilots of the cold war era. Easy to read and pick up again from where left off, provided you are better at putting it down than I was once started. Howled with laughter at a lot of the stories.
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