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4.1 out of 5 stars
30
4.1 out of 5 stars


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on 5 September 2007
His grammar doesn't seem to be perfect, but this guy really can tell a story.

It would have been very easy, unavoidable almost , to turn out a bland, matter-of-fact technical catalogue on less-than-perfect aircraft, but the author manages to mix clear descriptions of the technical deficiencies (that must necessarily be told) with enthralling tales of each aircraft's service history.

Even in the case of 'crude' WWI aircraft, the way each story is related makes this a very difficult book to put down.

Informative and thoroughly enjoyable.
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on 9 May 2014
An interesting but rather disturbing account of the international problems that faced aircraft designers in their constant quest for improvement.
It also highlighted the extreme bravery of the test pilots. Having been first of all a RAF ground engineer, and then civilian, I fully appreciated many of the problems encountered, and was frequently amazed.
A very good read if aeroplanes are in your blood.
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on 12 August 2010
This is an excellent book on a very interesting topic that is not covered by many books.It is well research and easy to read.Humans mostly learn from their mistakes ,and aircraft designers are no different,this book is a must for younger readers to give them knowledge of aircraft that they most probably never heard of.
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on 15 May 2013
As an aircraft history fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I would however, have liked a few more pictures so I could visualise the airplanes. However, I read the book in conjunction with surfing the airplanes, and this added enormously to the experience. The web contains many pictures but not information to the depth of detail offered by Robert Jackson in the book.

My other quibble is I would have liked a bibliography to give me confidence that the author knew what he was talking about (although the text agreed with facts that I already had knowledge of), and enable me to follow up what I have read.

Just to add, that the book is also a tribute to the brave men and boys who tried to fly these planes and to the skills of the guys who actually managed it!
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on 7 November 2013
This was a great book for me. I could relate to all the aircraft from my childhood days of becoming an an avid aircraft enthusiast. Many I had forgotten about and reading about them refreshed my memory, and often to the models I had made.
However having all the background information about their development and flying characteristics made me realise just how difficult early aircraft were, when trying to meet military standards that seemed to change every week. Today we take flying as being quite normal and unspectactular, but to get to that stage many test pilots lost their lives and aircraft designer were almost learning aerodynamics 'on the hoof' as they faced new challenges.
This was a facination book well written, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would have liked the author to have included more examples but I suppose there has to be a limit. Well worth a read if you wish to know the early background to aircraft development.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 March 2014
The book takes as its aim to explore some infamous aircraft, or at least those, which were considered dangerous by their contemporaries. The selection is wide ranging, from WW1 to the 1960s, from lighter than air dirigibles, military aircraft, jet flying boats to lowly private planes.

The selection is somewhat random but generally covers types from the UK, US, France, Germany, the USSR and Japan (so at least the author is not one sided in his choices). And while some of the aircraft were clearly dangerous, others were simply imperfectly understood, or difficult to fly for novice pilots. Equally, a lot of them were early types, with no vices per se, apart from an obsolescence from today's point of view (quite why the early Soviet and early French jet fighters warranted a chapter each I am still unsure about).

Irrespective, the book does a good job of combining first hand accounts and secondary data and manages to bring some less well known, or alternatively less well liked aircraft into the limelight, and will provide some additional anecdotal evidence to an aviation enthusiast's knowledge of the types covered.

Where the book could definitely be improved - as mentioned in some other reviews - is to include more detail on why or how the types were actually dangerous. While this aspect was clear for some (the Sopwith Camel, Me-163 & R.101 being good examples), it is completely lacking for others.

In essence a well written and interesting book for an aviation enthusiast, even if not quite perfect in the aircraft selection or execution of the content.
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on 1 October 2014
Interesting to read about the history,trails, tribulations and human cost of getting air crafts from drawing board into service. Have heard of some of the air crafts, but not of others. Interesting to see the approach taken to some of the of the now established designs and operations of air crafts. In my humble opinion, the reader or potential reader need not have an interest in air crafts to enjoy this book.
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on 6 May 2013
Disappointing the book the defects were not explained in depth. There are much better descriptions of the Camel handling characteristics for example in other sources. The Harrier concept is written off despite the aircraft winning the Falklands war almost on its own and it being the only V/STOL aircraft from a whole batch of 50 design that made it into service.
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on 10 March 2014
I was 'very pleased with this book probably because I can remember a lot of the later aircraft covered. In the 50s and 60s a lot of the development was a bit "hit and miss" particularly when airframe designers were struggling to cope with the power of the new jet engines and effects of compressability as speeds approached Mach 1.0. Altogether a good read.
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on 12 July 2014
I have a keen interest in aircraft, and thought this a good read, however as some other reviews have mentioned it really could have used more illustrations especially as a lot of the subject matter are largely unknown types that are rarely seen in more general aviation books. Still would have no problem recommending this though.
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