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4.1 out of 5 stars22
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 4 November 2013
Amid the wealth of literature featuring modern jet liners, this is an interesting and wecome publication. For sure it has its faults (see below), but as a commercial pilot, I found the book to be interesting and informative; placing the reader very much into the flight deck. It harks back to a bygone era of large piston (and turboprop) airliners and reveals how poor industry practice, bad design and bad luck have forced and informed massive improvements in recent times. It also reminds us just how reliable modern turbine engines are when compared to the complex, heavy, and thirsty piston engines of the past. The book is divided into short stories covering specific events and mainly covering Stratocruisers, Constellations and various Douglas types. It certainly held my attention and I will be reading the rest of Macarthur's books on the subject. Ok, critiscisms.. the book is poorly edited and often repeats itself. Some of the technical information is a little disjointed and doesn't always add significantly to the story. For the interested general reader, the technical bits may go a little too far, though these sections are short. The stories are often not really concluded as I would like (though yhey all start well) - in several cases they are almost left hanging. A little more follow up to the events (eg did prosecutions occur etc) would have been welcome.
Overall, however, the book is a very good, interesting read - it places the reader in the front seats and for me at least, comes highly recommended!
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on 12 October 2013
Interesting accounts of air accidents involving commercial propeller aircraft of 1940s/50s and into the 1960s. Majority of accidents involve large 'classic' four-engined American aircraft of the era, such as the Lockheed Electra, Boeing Stratocruiser, Constellation,etc. There are U.K exceptions to this such as the Avro Tutor that crashed on take-off at the Woodford factory after a mechanic had connected the ailerons wrong way around !!
Author has copied the technical facts from the accident reports perhaps in too much detail on occasions for the average reader, but it still well worth a read for the price. If you have an interest in large propeller passenger aircraft of this it!!
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on 6 November 2013
I very much enjoyed this book, i am not an plane fanatic but i love to learn how, like the railways all accidents and incidents are lessons to be learned and the history of both bear this out. I am a great fan of Aircrash Investigation to learn how errors concerning very small things have serious consequences. My favourite programme is Ice Pilots on History Channel which features very old wartime prop aircraft still flying, so this book gives a great insight as to how difficult it was then to fly with scant knowledge of so many things especially communications. A really good read, and when you have read it you will appreciate just how good and safe flying is today.
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on 13 March 2015
As a prolonged enthusiast I enjoyed reading this book. Apart from the horror and sadness of the suffering of passengers and crew it relates how much the aids to flying have progressed since the piston days. Another remarkable fact is some of these relics of that era are still giving valuable service even today. I.e. Buffalo Airways in Alaska to name one of many.The story of the Boeing Stratocruiser flying all that way on 2 engines and landing safely really
relates to the reader the tough job these flying crews had flying these piston jobs without the modern aides modern aircraft have today. The technical details may be strange to some readers but this book is well worth reading.
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on 15 December 2014
I find this book an interesting read and having read a lot of books on WWII aircraft developments and 50's, 60's and 70's jet aircraft development.

This book shows that though piston engines were at the peak of development during the 50's there were still issues. Also air traffic control was experiencing its own development issues.

The Author gets a good balance with the technical writing (though I'm not a pilot so can't verify in detail).
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on 29 December 2013
quite an interesting insight into the subject of air accidents in the piston airliner days,not to great detail but more than enough to understand the accidents a little more clearly.Well written and informative.
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on 9 June 2014
If you are interested in aviation and it's history, this is a great read. It contains twenty accidents and the stories are told most professionally. I no longer yearn for the golden age of travel!
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on 1 February 2015
Not bad...gets a bit bogged down in technical waffle occasionally but difficult to avoid in a book of this sort I suppose. Overall a pretty good read in you're into this subject.
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on 19 May 2014
enjoyed reading this selection of lost aircraft - most of them new to me - well put together complete with a brief summary as to the suspected causes of the disasters.
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on 4 October 2013
Several cases that I hadn't heard about including the dreadfull series of Stratocruiser disasters. My only faulting would be the overly technical nature of some parts.
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