Tag Archives: Aircraft

Review of “Hunter Squadron”

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“Hunter Squadron” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition published in 1984) and was written by Robert Jackson (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/j/robert-jackson/). Mr. Jackson published over 50 books.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set mostly in the Congolese Republic in 1960. The primary character is RAF Group Captain George Yeoman. Yeoman is now in command of a squadron of Hawker Hunter jet fighters (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawker_Hunter) and he is sent to Africa.

The small state of Warambe is the home to uranium mines that supply the British. A local politician in an adjoining country, Nkrombe, is stirring up trouble and has assembled a small mercenary army including F-86 Sabre jet fighters (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_F-86_Sabre). Yeoman’s mission is to prevent disruption of Warambe mining.

This is not a long read at less than 6 hours for this 160 page novel. It was an interesting read, I have read several of Jackson’s “Yeoman” books now. This was a pretty good Thriller, though it is certainly dated. It was not filled with action, but the pace was good and kept my interest. I think that part of the reason I liked it was that it continues the story of a character I have come to know. The book cover is ‘OK’, though not very exciting. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

World’s Largest Aircraft Takes Flight

The Airliner 10 took its maiden flight August 17th. Granted it was only a 30-minute,  five-mile loop around the airfield never exceeding 500 feet altitude, but it did make its debut. While it was originally built for long term surveillance duties, it has the potential with a 50ton cargo capacity of fulfilling several other roles. The new aircraft is expected to find use in civil, military and leisure applications.

This aircraft is 92 meters (301 feet) long with a wing span of 43 meters (142 feet) making it the largest aircraft. It uses helium to lift and has four diesel engines that can power the craft at 148 km/h (92 mph). The vertical take off and landing capability will allow it to operate without an airfield.

Who knows. A ‘cruise’ in the not too distant future may have you looking down at the passing countryside. A throw back to the airships of the early 20th century.

Review of “Sea Strike”

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“Sea Strike” eBook was published in 2016 (July, though the paper edition was first published in 1980) and was written by Richard Townshend Bickers (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/b/richard-townshend-bickers/). Mr. Bickers has published nearly 60 books, mostly on World War II aircraft.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set during the early days (1940) of World War II and tells of life in the RAF.

While the primary character is Flying Officer Lawlor, many flyers are examined. Lawlor is the pilot of a Bristol Blenheim light bomber with a crew of three. The flyers fight the Germans while the British ground forces struggle to evacuate through Dunkirk. Lawlor’s ambitious commander volunteers the flyers for one mission after another, sometimes reckless with his men’s lives.

I enjoyed the 4+ hours I spent reading this 232 page World War II Thriller. It is written in a very British style. As much time is spent on the thoughts of the various flyers as it is on the war itself. I give this novel a 3,8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Jagger’s Secret challenge”

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“Jagger’s Secret Challenge” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper version published in 1964) and was written by Richard Townshend Bickers (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/b/richard-townshend-bickers/). Mr. Bickers has published more than 60 Fiction and Non-Fiction books, most dealing with the British RAF during World War II.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The novel is set in England during the early 1960s. The main character is RAF Flight Lieutenant Mike Jagger.

Jagger is a fighter pilot and superb athlete, a world level contender in the pentathlon. He is approached by RAF officers to take part in a secret mission. Enemies of England have developed and are using a radio based weapon to affect RAF pilots. Jagger is temporarily reassigned to an intelligence unit to find and eliminate the weapon.

Jagger has barely begun his new assignment when he is ambushed and barely escapes. He, and close friend and fellow RAF pilot Tommy Tyrrell, dodge one close call after another as together they close in on the ship from which the radio signal is being beamed.

Time soon becomes critical when an aircraft demonstration to be attended by Royal visitors is only hours away. Jagger and Tyrrell must step outside their orders to try and thwart the inevitable attack on the Royal party.

This was not a bad 4 hour read of this 140 page novel, though it was not the best read either. This tried to be a spy novel much like ‘James Bond’, but I felt that it fell far short of that mark. The story used Jagger’s pentathlon skills to thwart the ‘enemies’ of England. He also on several occasions when faced with opponents intending to kill him, used his pistol expertise to merely wound them in hand, arm or leg. I have to consider the time frame when this was written, but I really feel like it does not stand the test of time. I give this novel a 3.3 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Fortress England”

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“Fortress England” eBppk was published 2016 (originally published on paper in 1998) and was written by Robert Jackson (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/j/robert-jackson/). Mr. Jackson has written over 50 books, both Fiction and Non-Fiction, on World War II, with a focus on aircraft of the era. This is the third novel to feature RAF pilot Ken Armstrong.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The setting of this Thriller novel is England during the 1940-41 period of World War II. This novel picks up the story of British RAF officer Ken Armstrong shortly after the second novel of the series “Flames Over France” concludes.

It contains a lot of history from that period and is another good description of life in England during the war. In this novel Armstrong and his pilots are concerned with German surface raiders attacking convoys coming from North America. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Operation Fireball”

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“Operation Fireball” eBook was published in 2016 (May, though the paper edition was published in 1980) and was written by Richard Townshend Bickers (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/b/richard-townshend-bickers/). Mr. Bickers has published nearly 60 books, mostly on World War II aircraft.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The novel is set in England during World War II. The primary characters are Stephanie Stansfield, her brother Rodney and their friend Ben Jordon.

The men are both RAF officers and go through many harrowing situations flying against the Germans. Jordon meets Stephanie through Rodney and the two soon fall in love. The men develop as friends and are competitive in what they are trying to accomplish. Soon Jordon is assigned to a new unit that is commanded by Rodney. They discretely train for a very dangerous secret mission.

I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent with this 224 page novel. I have read a couple of other books by Bickers and like his descriptions of life during World War II. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Flames Over France”

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“Flames Over France” eBook was published 2016 (May, originally published on paper in 1997) and was written by Robert Jackson (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/j/robert-jackson/). Mr. Jackson has written over 50 books, both Fiction and Non-Fiction, on World War II, with a focus on aircraft of the era.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. This novel is set early in World War II (1940). It picks up the story of British RAF officer Ken Armstrong shortly after the novel “Flames Over Norway” concluded.

It contains a lot of history from that period and is another good description of life in England and France during that period. This story is focused on the efforts of the French to hold back the German army as it sweeps across Europe.

I enjoyed reading another of Jackson’s novels. This one took about 5.5 hours to complete the 224 pages. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Target Ahead”

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“Target Ahead” eBook was published in 2016 (originally published on paper in 1982) and was written by Richard Townshend Bickers (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/b/richard-townshend-bickers/). Mr. Bickers has published more than 50 books about air power.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. This novel is set in the first few months (1939) of World War II. The primary character is 18 year old RAF Sergeant Peter Elmwood.

The story is of Elwood and his crew mates flying early missions against Germany in the Whitley bomber. Considering what many crews faced later in the war, this crew had it relatively easy. In this story none were serious injured, though they had three aircraft severely damaged by enemy fire.

I enjoyed this relatively short 5.5 hour read of 192 pages. I found it odd that there was no seat for the co-pilot in the Whitley that they flew. This book gives an interesting look at the early days of the war. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Flames over Norway”

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“Flames over Norway” eBook was published in 2016 (April, the paper version was first published in 1996) and was written by Robert Jackson. Mr. Jackson has written several books, both Fiction and Non-Fiction, on World War II, with a focus on aircraft of the era.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in England and Norway just prior to and during during World War II. The primary character is British Flying Officer Ken Armstrong.

Armstrong is one of those few very brave pilots who flew unarmed aircraft over occupied Europe and even Germany itself to get ariel reconnaissance film of enemy installations and ship movements. The story recounts Armstrong’s encounter and escape from German aircraft. It also tells of his participation in the British military intervention in Norway after the Germans invaded during the spring of 1940.

This is the third of Mr. Jackson’s novels that I have read. They are relatively short, but I enjoyed the 4.5 hours I spent reading this 152 page novel. I found it an interesting coincidence that I had recently viewed a short video of an American who flew unarmed Spitfires on air reconnaissance missions during World War II. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Tail Gunner”

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“Tail Gunner” eBook was published in 2016 (originally published on paper in 1943) and was written by R. C. Chivaz. This is Mr. Chivaz’s only publication.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. This is the first hand story of Flight-Lieutenant R. C. Rivaz, D.F.C. He starts as a tail gunner in the British Whitley Bomber, then transfers over to the Halifax Bomber, again as a tail gunner.

Chivaz gives many first hand accounts of flying over occupied Europe and Germany. He also tells of the two instances when his aircraft had to crash land in the North Sea. He describes life as a British flyer during World War II and includes many of his personal thoughts.

I thought that the 4 hours spent reading this 119 page novel gave a good view of life during World War II. This was a short story, actually more of a novella. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).