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X-Plane Crashes: Exploring Experimental, Rocket Plane & Spycraft Incidents, Accidents & Crash Sites Hardcover


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X-Plane Crashes: Exploring Experimental, Rocket Plane & Spycraft Incidents, Accidents & Crash Sites + Area 51 (Images of Aviation) + Edwards Air Force Base (Images of Aviation)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Specialty Pr Pub & Wholesalers (October 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158007121X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580071215
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

It all makes for a most interesting read and is a book that I enjoyed going through. I know you will find it equally as fascinating. ---Modeling Madness, reviewed by Scott Van Aken, November 2008<br /><br />All in all, this is an interesting look at the tremendous price paid in the furtherance of aeronautical science. ---Air Classics, reviewed by George Hulett, December 2008<br /><br />I have found this book most interesting especially with the accompanying photos of not just the sites but parts of these craft that were found on their quests. I would recommend it to anyone that has even a passing interest in the X-Planes and their fates. - --IPMS, reviewed by Jack Kennedy, December 2008

All in all, this is an interesting look at the tremendous price paid in the furtherance of aeronautical science. ---Air Classics, reviewed by George Hulett, December 2008

I have found this book most interesting especially with the accompanying photos of not just the sites but parts of these craft that were found on their quests. I would recommend it to anyone that has even a passing interest in the X-Planes and their fates. ---IPMS, reviewed by Jack Kennedy, December 2008

About the Author

Peter W. Merlin is an archivist and historian at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, under contract to TYBRIN Corporation. He is the author of Mach 3+: NASA/USAF YF-12 Flight Research, 1969-1979 (NASA SP-2001-4525) and co-author of Donald L. Mallick s autobiography The Smell of Kerosene: A Test Pilot s Odyssey (NASA SP-2003-4108), and Archangel to Senior Crown Design and Development of the Blackbird.

Tony Moore is a museum assistant at the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards Air Force Base. He is also a graphic artist and previously served as an audiovisual archivist at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, under contract to Analytical Services & Materials, Inc. He is a founding member of the X-Hunters Aerospace Archeology Team and a member of the Flight Test Historical Foundation.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Would recommend to anyone with an interest in aircraft.
Michael Guy
They have uncovered the story behind each crash with details on the airplane type, the specific airplane, how they found the site and what they found there.
A reader
This is a book for those who like aviation and the CSI tv series.
Thomas D. Nunley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A reader VINE VOICE on October 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Authors Peter W. Merlin and Tony Moore have given us an accessible and engaging first person account of their adventures in locating the crash sites of experimental airplanes in the Edwards AFB area. They have uncovered the story behind each crash with details on the airplane type, the specific airplane, how they found the site and what they found there. They are respectful of the airmen who were lost in some of these crashes. The then and now photos are particularly fascinating.

Specialty Press has been really turning out the aviation titles. These are all fine looking books, filled with informative writing and terrific photos. Somehow, though, they are a bit of a slog to get through. Even though I enjoy these kinds of books and have bought many of the Specialty Press titles, I find that my eyes glaze over a bit when reading them.

But not this time!

This book sparkles and is highly recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By OtherHand on December 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are very many books about historical aircraft, especially X planes. Books about how the crafts were created, what they did, etc. But very few books, maybe only this one, describe how they met their ends.

Peter Merlin and Tony Moore go into great detail about what brought these birds down and how they were clever enough to find their current resting places in the American Southwest. There are two appendices which contain complete crash lists for Edwards AFB, as well as the ever mysterious Groom Lake/Area 51 facility.

The book itself has a substantial amount to read (so you get a lot for your money), and the graphic layout is excellent. There are some very unusual historical photos that I had never seen before.

To anyone interested in hunting for these sorts of things on their own, the authors give a lot of pointers and ideas for research. No, they don't tell you exactly where the crash sites are, as that's considered a major faux pas in this odd, quirky hobby (like asking a fisherman where his secret fishing hole is!). But there are plenty of clues, pictures and background data that should get amateur hunters on their way.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jean-louis Delezenne on January 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have received this book for Christmas and have not managed yet to put it down.

I had the pleasure to meet with the authors and was priviledged at the time to see some of the artifacts retrieved. It is even nicer now to read about it and to realize how the field of aviation archeology is a very difficult one.

Kuddos for a great book! Superb photos not seen before, a plus!
Jean-Louis Delezenne
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
X-planes have always been an exciting part of aviation history. Unfortunately, many of the breakthroughs and records X-planes have set came at a cost of aircraft and sometimes aircrew. This marvelous, well-illustrated 2008 Specialty Press release by authors Peter Merlin and Tony Moore chronicle all the mishaps that have been part and parcel of X-plane flights. It's great history and a great read.

First off, the two authors are well-qualified to pen such an account, Merlin being the historian for the Dryden Flight Center and Moore, a Museum Assistant at the Flight Test Center Museum. Known as the "X-Hunters," the two obviously share a love of X-planes especially their demises. Their expertise shows in every page!

After a brief description of how they got hooked on the subject, Merlin and Moore relate the development of the Research Airplane Program, the birth of the X-plane designation and the history of Edwards AFB. The following chapters go into detail on the early birds - X-1, X-1A, X-1B and X-1D - and fliers named Yeager and Apt, some 'legendary' crashes like the XP-80A and the first YF4H-1, the tragic XB-70/F-104 midair, the ZEL experiments utilizing F-100s, Chuck Yeager's NF-104A crash, 'black aircraft' crashes (U-2/A-12/F-117/etc). and so on. The book concludes with a 28-page Muroc/Edwards AFB listing of crashes and an Area 51 crash list. There is a tremendous amount of information - and illustrations - crammed into the book's 160 pages!

And those hundreds of b&w and color illustrations, especially the 'then and now' crash site scenes are, to borrow Mr. Spock's favorite adjective, "fascinating!"

I would have given X-PLANE CRASHES five stars but for two lapses.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Terry Sunday TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"X-Plane Crashes" is an outstanding combination of aviation history, piloting tales and detective work that is sure to appeal to anyone interested in the story of the accomplishments and failures involved in flight testing advanced experimental aircraft. The fast-paced, readable text focuses on crashes on or near the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The world's premier high-speed, high-altitude flight test facility, the base had previously been called Muroc Army Air Field, but was renamed in 1949 in honor of Glen W. Edwards, a pilot who died in one of the crashes described in the book.

For each of the many crash sites that they visited, authors Peter W. Merlin and Tony Moore tell the development and test history of the ill-fated aircraft. Then they describe why it crashed, in as much detail as possible, and enumerate the remains they found at the site. To sum up their efforts in one word, I must say that it is all about perseverance. They often had to visit certain search areas over a span of many years before they finally found the actual crash sites. Having searched for errant missiles while on a flight test team at White Sands Missile Range, I appreciate how hard it is to locate small man-made objects in square miles of desert terrain. To their credit, Merlin and Moore don't make the job seem easier than it is. I found particularly fascinating their descriptions of how they used crash-site photos, old newspaper articles, interviews with surviving flight crew members and even discussions with local residents to try to localize their searches.

In my opinion, "X-Plane Crashes" has one major shortcoming: there are no maps in it.
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