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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
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...
Published on 19 Oct 2008 by Mr. T. Needham

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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars adequate
A little dissappointed to be honest. Having flown off both carriers and been a SeaKing man myself at the time, I was expecting something different I suppose. Bottom line is the juicy intelligence bit is in a few well worded paragraphs in the last chapter. The rest of the book is filler and very very samey: I briefed for this and got airborne then I briefed for that...
Published on 4 Nov 2010 by zoros


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, 19 Oct 2008
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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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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From a veteran's perspective, 26 April 2009
By 
Edward Featherstone "Ed Featherstone" (Berkhamsted, Herts UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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. At the time I thought it was just a ploy by the Chief of the Air Staff to get some good publicity for the RAF at a time when the purpose of having a separate Air Force was being questioned, as it still is....
Ed Featherstone
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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
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Ian Annand (UK) - See all my reviews
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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
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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.

GREAT READ
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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
By 
Richard Hutchings (Cumbria) - See all my reviews
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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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, 26 Feb 2010
Richard Hutchings' balanced, modestly written and perceptive story of his service during the Falklands War fills a significant gap amongst the accounts of this conflict. As a Royal Marines Sea King pilot involved primarily with supporting SAS and SBS reconnaissance and direct action missions, his first-hand account of the progress of a unique and often bizarre war is both absorbing and insightful, while several of his more personal `home front' observations and anecdotes effectively complete the picture and provide a special immediacy, as well as being thought-provoking.
During some eight weeks Hutchings prepared for war, flew various maritime helicopter operations in combat, carried out high-risk SAS insertions and hazardous helicopter rescue missions, and finally ended his war forced to crash land in Chile following the failure of SAS operation MIKADO on the Argentine mainland.
His well-drawn descriptions of routine life on board HMS Hermes, flying in appalling weather, and events such as the destruction of HMS Sheffield, the sinking of the General Belgrano, the wider air war, the recapture of South Georgia, the Pebble Island raid and so on, will undoubtedly strike a chord with many servicemen - especially those who served in the 1980s - and the Falklands War and SAS veterans and naval aviators in particular. So also will his several but measured and well-founded criticisms of aspects of the operational and higher level direction of the campaign.
This informative, well-illustrated and enthralling account contrasts most favourably with some other more populist `Special Forces' books and is highly recommended reading.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Insight, 2 Mar 2010
By 
Sarah Rhodes - See all my reviews
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Richard Hutchings, who served throughout the Falklands war in 846 Naval Air squadron flying Sea King helicopters, waited over twenty -six years to tell his story. The sensitive nature of his experiences not only made this a sensible course but now provides the reader with some fascinating insights into the conduct of operations. The role of Richard Hutchings was to insert Special Forces units onto the enemy occupied islands, either to gather intelligence or conduct offensive operations such as the SAS's sensationally successful Pebble Island raid. Without doubt the most dramatic task he undertook was the ambitious but ill-fated SAS raid into mainland Argentina. Operation MIKADO, as it was known, has been little-discussed but, as Captain of the Sea King involved, the author gives a first- hand account of what went wrong both in the air and on the ground. He describes the circumstances leading up to the crash-landing and destruction of his helicopter, encounters with the Chilean authorities and British diplomats in Santiago, as well as the debriefing in the MI6 safe house on return to the UK. As well as being the fullest description of Operation Mikado, this book is a gripping account of the war from the flying and SF angles.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What really happened on the ill-fated Special Forces insertion into Argentina during the Falklands Wae, 26 May 2014
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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 some of the behind-the-scenes work inserting Special Forces at night in and around the Falkland Islands. The book culminates with his account of the previously highly-classified and mis-reported operation to fly a Special Forces team into Argentina to try and remove the threat to the Task Force from Exocet missiles. Hutchings was the Pilot-in-Charge, and describes the build-up to the operation, through to his team's successful Escape and Evasion in Chile, in a modest and matter-of-fact style which lets readers form their own opinion about the rights and wrongs of some of the decisions made.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book !!, 4 Sep 2010
This book is a great insite into the emotions of going to war. I was intrigued to learn the truth behind "operation Mikado" after so many years...and some other interesting "scrapes" that the author got into. The story is very factual,at times very moving, and with the odd twist of humour thrown in....I highly recommend !!
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars adequate, 4 Nov 2010
A little dissappointed to be honest. Having flown off both carriers and been a SeaKing man myself at the time, I was expecting something different I suppose. Bottom line is the juicy intelligence bit is in a few well worded paragraphs in the last chapter. The rest of the book is filler and very very samey: I briefed for this and got airborne then I briefed for that and got airborne. I bumped into Morgan here and Morgan there. And by the way, SF cocked the whole thing up to be honest!
No disrespect to Richard and Wiggy. They worked hard under confusing and very trying conditions; but I would suggest you stick to your day job now Richard :)
Read it from cover to cover in 24hrs.
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Special Forces Pilot: A Flying Memoir of the Falkland War
Special Forces Pilot: A Flying Memoir of the Falkland War by Colonel Richard Hutchings (Paperback - 17 April 2014)
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