This book is what it says on the jacket and much more. Aviation enthusiasts will be keen to acquire copies, but with the fame of the Red Arrows, this is a book that should sell in considerable numbers and around the world.
NAME: Red Arrows in Camera
CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews
AUTHOR: Keith Wilson
PUBLISHER: Haynes Publishing
BINDING: hard back
GENRE: Non fiction
SUBJECT: RAF, national air display teams, Red Arrows, Black Arrows, Meteorites, No 74 Squadron, CFS Display Team, Lightnings, Hunters, Gnats, Hawks, Meteors, Gauntlets, Concorde
DESCRIPTION: This book is what it says on the jacket and much more. This larger format book is printed on quality gloss paper and presents some outstanding photographs that are mainly in full colour. The subject is the Red Arrow display team and therefore features primarily photographs of this iconic display team mounted first on the Folland Gnat jet trainer and then on the current BAE Systems Hawk jet trainer. However, the book takes the story from the pre WWII RAF display teams mounted on the Gauntlet biplane and the spectacular displays that included the use of smoke that is now an integral part of any jet display. The author then reviews the various post WWII RAF display teams that used Meteor, Hunter, Jet Provost and Lightning aircraft. Pre WWII the RAF used front line fighter and light bomber aircraft as display mounts and air displays have been a feature of aviation since the earliest days and aircraft manufacturers and air forces have used the air display team as a strong promotional aid to sell aircraft and recruit new pilots. It is not known who first used smoke to increase the impact of the air display. There are various claims and the first use may predate the 1914-1918 war. In the days of piston engine propeller aircraft, smoke had to be produced by a pyrotechnic smoke bomb and this presented several risks to the pilot and aircraft. After WWII the military display teams began to use jet aircraft and this made the use of smoke much easier and safer because diesel could be injected into the jet engine tailpipe to produce a dense vapour trail that could include colour. As a result jet display aircraft in formation could use a selection of colours to produce a national colour, such as red, white, and blue. Equally important was the ability to turn the diesel supply on and off in flight and to change the colour of the vaporized diesel. The author has provided concise and appropriate text to link the photo selection and to provide a very effective account of the earlier RAF displays and the displays provided by the Red Arrows. He has not confined his account to the pilots and aircraft, but included the important if largely invisible contribution made by the ground crews and all of the supporting staff that make the excellent Red Arrow displays so memorable. Of course the author is greatly assisted in being a pilot and an aerial photographer of some 30 years experience, responsible for some of the most vivid photographs published in books and magazines, with a personal gallery of more than 250,000 images. This is one of those books that sets a benchmark in its field and is a great piece of art. Aviation enthusiasts will be keen to acquire copies, but with the fame of the Red Arrows, this is a book that should sell in considerable numbers and around the world. The publisher is also to be commended for developing out from a base of high quality workshop and practical engineering books into aviation topics. Their experience of producing books with high image content helps both the presentation and books that carry colour throughout at an affordable price. A first class book.