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A flyer's Story...and what a story!
on 2 April 2014
Book Review by Michael Farrier for ‘Trust Me I’m the Pilot’ (Author: - Baron de Tourtouon. Published by FastPrint Publishing. 583 pages. ISBN 978-178035-432-3. Available through Amazon for £12.59 at the time of purchase [Dec. 2013]).
As a keen aviation type with a particular interest in anything de Havilland Trident (airliner) related, I immediately seized upon this book when I saw it advertised on Amazon recently. Having also worked on the Trident series of airliners back in the 70’s also helped! Added to that, I have also had a particular interest in the air accident that befell one Trident 1c way back in June 1972 (registration G-ARPI; ‘Papa India’ as it was phonetically known). I remember this tragic incident from the days of being a 14-year-old schoolboy; the aircraft being built in the town where I lived at the time. This air accident obviously meant a lot to the author, as he was not only an airline pilot and obviously a very keen aviator (especially as he now flies microlights etc in his retirement), but he was also a close colleague and friend of the co-pilot from the accident; in fact, they were in the same year as trainees at British European Airways (BEA).
Onto the book. It is written in a very readable way, with countless anecdotes taken from the author’s huge flying –and own life- experience. One can see that this man obviously possesses that rare and wonderful attribute; a photographic memory, which must have been very advantageous for writing his memoirs! His book also relays the very innermost feelings of the author for the loss of his close friend, as well as perhaps venting some of this feeling against the way the airline was run at the time. Whether this changed as time went on I would suspect not, though BEA did of course join forces with the other British ‘national’ airline, BOAC, to form British Airways as we know it today. There are a plethora of photographs, many from the author’s own collection, and diagrams peppered throughout the book which add to the readability of some of the incidents.
The author also goes into the technical and scientific side of flying, which was another reason I purchased the book in the first place, and why I think this excellent book will appeal to the technical types amongst us as well as those who just want a taste of the commercial flying scene from the seventies to date.
A wonderful, informative and thoroughly entertaining read. Buy one today, you will not be disappointed, and although there is of course the painfully sad aspect of Britain’s worst-ever plane crash, there are also many, many lighter moments along the way.