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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2012
Eric Brown and Dennis Bancroft were intimately involved in the M.52 programme, so it's no surprise that it's a thorough account of the programme and a decent analysis of its cancellation. The surprise was how good a writer Brown is. This is one of the best-written aviation books I've read in years. Brown has struck an excellent balance between giving lots of information and writing an engaging tale.

There are lots of photos (b&w only though), and a couple of drawings including a reproduction of an original Miles general arrangement drawing/3-view. The appendices contain some of the important documents in the project's demise, plus a detailed timeline of the project.

I think this qualifies as the definitive book on the M.52, and I can recommend it without reservation to anyone wanting to know more about the M.52, the state of supersonic research in Britain 1936-1950, the W.2/700 engine and the demise of Power Jets Ltd.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2013
Superb account of how we betrayed one of Britain's greatest aircraft designers, the late great F.G. Miles, and handed the Americans his design to give them the our opportunity of being the first breaking the sound barrier.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2012
I really found this book a fascinating read. The M52 is known as one of the great "lost chances" of British aviation, but why was it cancelled? The book advances a hypothesis, which seems very plausible, but which is so sad, so much lost for such a reason. Most of the book provides an "insiders" view of the project to build the M52, by arguably the greatest test pilot ever (Eric Brown), and is (again) fascinating. I'd recommend this to anyone with an interest in aviation history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 2013
Accounts of those involved in an attempt to understand why Britain's sound-barrier breaking project, which was many years ahead of any other nation's, was so abruptly halted, only for a closely similar aircraft to take the laurels in the U.S. 18 months later. One of M52's design engineers has spent a lifetime trying to find an answer. Particularly interesting to me because of a local connection to the Miles family businesses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2014
This has got to be one of the most fascinating and, ultimately, tragic stories of the British Aircraft industry post WW2. One suspects that there were geo-political reasons, such as paying off the War debt and recovering from selling jet engines to the Russians, involving the USA that lead to the cancellation of this project and passing all the information to the US before they went on to break the sound barrier. To think that Britain could have had a jet powered aircraft capable of 1,000 mph and able to take off and land under its own power in 1946/7. We would have been the centre for fighter production and would probably have retained a significant capability today had this project gone ahead. Eric Brown's view that ultimately this project was cancelled was down to the animosity towards Frank Whittle by elements of the MoD may well be true but ..... may only be part of the story. A cracking good read for any aviation buff.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2012
I have always be interested in the Miles M.52 project and why it was cancelled so far down the line without any reason given as to why! This book goes into the details thoroughly from start tyo finish and highlights how close and in advance of other nations to breaking the sound barrier. The M.52 and it's engine were breaking new grounds in aviation and would have been a world beating design with it's design features being incorporated into other aircraft design, both military and civilian, ie the Bell X1, which I'm convinced would not have succeeded without the M.52s design features being handed over to the US, with nothing in return, simply because the US had nothing to offer of any use!

The book also highlights how inept British politicians are when it comes to British aviation and waste so much time and tax payers money on projects that show promise and then cancel them because of knee jerk reactions. They still as inept today a sthey have ever been. This book is a very interesting and thought provoking read, which will raise a lot of emotions in those who follow British aviation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2013
This book is one that any person who is interested in the history of British aviation should read. The reasons for the loss of the lead this country had in supersonic flight clearly come across. It also becomes obvious that the powers that be never learn.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2012
An eye opening account of how the British aircraft industry was let down by the Government of the day, and how our lead to the sound barrier was given away to the Americans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2012
This book is all the better for having been partly written by a person who was very closely involved in the project.Perhaps it is a little frustrating that the mystery of why we abandoned it when we were so close has still not been solved, but there is much material for consideration.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2014
Well written account.
Cancelling the M52 was a serious mistake. It lost us the world lead in Supersonics.

Aeronautical historians should read this and all Defence Ministers.
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