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Wings on My Sleeve Hardcover – 29 Sep 1978

4.8 out of 5 stars 447 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 29 Sep 1978
£139.26 £18.00
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 202 pages
  • Publisher: TBS The Book Service Ltd; 1st Edition edition (29 Sept. 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0950454362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0950454368
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (447 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 857,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'fascinating... If you only buy one aviation book this year, make sure it's this one.' (TODAY'S PILOT )

'In all the lists of those magnificent men in their flying machines, this must surely come very near the top.' (DAILY MAIL )

'The stories beggar belief.' (THE GUARDIAN )

'Copiously illustrated, filled with insights, opionion, anecdotes and observations, this is a gem of a book.' (NAVY NEWS )

'a fascinating story... for anyone interested in aviation, this is required reading.' (AEROPLANE magazine )

'a fascinating story ... full of absorbing information and insight.' (TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT ) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The autobiography of one of the greatest pilots in history --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
No test pilot in history has flown so many types of aircraft as Commander Brown and certainly no other test pilot writes as clearly and interestingly as he does. "Wings on my Sleeve" was first published in 1961 in a much shorter form. In this new edition he answers so many questions that come to mind when reading his other books - notably "Wings of the Navy" and "Wings of the Luftwaffe" - and sets these books into a much wider context of his amazing life

This is the story of his life from his first flight, with the legendary German WW1 ace and later stunt pilot and finally Director of Air Armaments in Goering's Luftwaffe, Ernst Udet, through his experiences in Nazi Germany and his encounter with the SS when they came to tell him that the two counties were at war and on through a life that included convoy escort duties and hair-raising encounters with FW Kuriers before his outstanding deck landing skills led to his being appointed to RAE Farnborough.

He then chronicles the hectic life of a war time test pilot as he flew practically every type of British and US military aircraft and evaluated captured enemy machines to develop combat tactics.

Because of his fluent German, the last days of the war found him despatched to Germany to assemble and test German aircraft. Here he accepted the surrender of a major Luftwaffe base when he landed in the mistaken assumption that it had already been captured by the allies. During this time he met and talked to Goering and Hanna Reitsch as well as every major German aircraft figure of the era.

Post war the pace did not diminish: taking delivery of the first US helicopter to be allocated to the UK, he asked about training to fly it and was handed a thick book with the words, "Here's your instructor!
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Format: Paperback
If you have the slightest interest in aviation since the 1930's this book will leave you open mouthed in awe at the incredible experiences of the author. No-one would have the audacity to write this as fiction for fear of it being branded "too far fetched!". If being taken for a flight by Ernst Udet before WW2 and watching Hanna Reitsch fly one of the first helicopters inside the Olympic stadium isn't enough, the author goes on to fly every major UK, US, German, Italian, Russian and Japanese aircraft of world war two before being at the very forefront of the jet age and conquering of the "Sound Barrier"....and all whilst being in our Navy! Written from his personal diaries, the style is humble and events put down to good fortune when I am sure they are really due to his skill.
The book can be frustratingly thin on subjects that deserve a book of their own (how many other allied pilots flew a Me163 rocket plane under power I wonder...) and it flits back and forth in time a little confusingly but these are minor quibbles. The book is heavy due to the high quality paper needed to support the small print size to cram it all in and if more detail were given it would extend to several volumes.
Just read it and revel as iconic aircraft and characters of the 40's ad 50's are met and summarized before moving onto the next encounter.
In a time when the term "hero" has become confused with "celebrity", here folks, is the real thing...
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Format: Hardcover
I have little to add to the previous reviewer who has said all that I would have written. This is one of the most understated books I have read about a single person's exploits in the aviation world. For me every paragraph on every page could have (and should have) been expanded to provide greater detail to the already mind-blowing expolits of the author.

One day in his every day life would almost fit the 'wish list' of many aspiring aviators.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The cover intrigued me. It has a painting of a fighter plane, with RAF camouflage and RAF roundels, but it isn't a Spitfire. It's a German Messerschmit 109. At first I thought that the artist had made a mistake, but in fact the book is about a British pilot for the Fleet Air Arm who went on to test fly almost every aircraft that flew and fought in the Second World War, including oddities such as the Me-163 rocket interceptor and some early helicopters. After the war he flies a number of interesting British prototype aircraft, most of which seem to have been scrapped before coming to full production. There is a thread that runs throughout the book in which he investigates the practicality of rubber-decked aircraft carriers, with the aircraft sliding to a stop on the deck. It must have intrigued Brown and although they made it work, it seems a really odd idea.

There's a second thread whereby he and his test pilot chums explore the limits of the Spitfire, taking it up to great heights and then diving down at great speeds in order to find out how to recover from locked-up controls. This must have taken nerves of steel. Landing on a carrier must have taken nerves of steel. I can conclude that Eric Brown had nerves of steel. There is a third thread in which Brown lands increasingly unlikely aircraft on a carrier, including a de Havilland Mosquito. I have only flown aircraft on a computer, and so I cannot begin to understand how hard it must have been to land a Mosquito on an aircraft carrier; very hard, I imagine. I picture Eric Brown as a man who does not need to show off with a flashy watch or a flashy car, or a flashy mobile phone, because he was the first man to land a Mosquito on an aircraft carrier. Burly.

It's an easy read.
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