This is an interesting book and one to be enjoyed by both historian and scholar. The book tells the history of the project very well but it also highlights to the scholar how aircraft projects of that period were planned, highlighting how lucky we are today be able to design and build computer models and simulations of new unknown complex designs before we spend time and money. My interest in the Bristol Brabazon and the book came from living close to Bristol. A lad growing up in the cotswolds just after the war. The aircraft flew over our house many times, and I will always remember it as a slow moving yet beautiful looking giant.
Very little seemed to be known or had been written about the brabazon project, so this book was of great interest to me. Also, as an aircraft engineer (now retired) I found the large numbers of Engineering plans and illustrations at each step of the build programme highly interesting and informative. A great book at the end you find yourself agreeing with the auther's introduction, also with the benefit of hindsight,and in todays world, "what on earth were those involved with it thinking about."
I haven't seen the dvd yet but I know I shall enjoy it as I used to see it fly from Filton many times, always with a chase plane. It kept experienced war-time plane makers employed after the war but sadly never came to anything as the de Havilland Comet had come on the airline market which was the start of the Jet Age. Much more economical to fly and very much faster, even so it was a great aeroplane in many ways. I believe they said they were going to build a stainless steel one, I may have that wrong because it never happened.
Unlike many aeroplane books this one is full of technical detail, and I am now very well informed on the conceptual, design, engineering and flight history of this graceful giant. The best description of the structural design of an aeroplane of this era that I have read, even down to the rivets. Lots of informative photographs. How I wish I had been around to see her fly, with that enormous wing span and the big contra props.
Mr Simons has written an excellent book about an aircraft that has often been derided as a white elephant. The book discusses the work of the Brabazon committee, and the evolution of the Type 167 design, the book includes many photographs taken during the construction of the prototypes which gives a true indication of the size of the machine..At the time the type 167 was cutting edge engineering but unfortunately in post war times the very nature of air travel the luxurious service of Imperial Airways had been replaced by a more utilitarian service by Douglas DC-4's and Lockheed Constellations and their developments proved to be sufficient until the DC8 & 707 entered service at the end of the fifties. So was the Brabazon and the Saro Princess both a waste of time & money? well they may have been commercial failures but both were engineering triumphs and as the book notes large transports that were also developed by US manufactures such as Convair (XC-99) Douglas (C-74) & Lockheed (XR6-V) all failed to achieve a single airline sale of their big planes.I recommend this book which celebrates a British engineering triumph which should be remembered with pride.
I bought this for my dad who developed an interest in this particular aircraft after discovering that the classic car he owns, a Riley RM, used to be owned by Sir Archibald Russell, chief designer of the Brabazon, I believe one one of the photos in this book shows the car.