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Empire of the Clouds: When Britain's Aircraft Ruled the World Kindle Edition
|Length: 416 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
The author has skilfully woven in a human element by tracing the careers of a handful of the leading test pilots, notably Bill Waterton, Gloster's chief test pilot from 1946 until 1954. In return for a miserly salary that gave him take-home pay of about £1,000 a year (the equivalent of about £20,000 nowadays), and which was barely increased throughout those 9 years, Waterton regularly risked his life flying aircraft that would never be allowed to take off today. He and other pilots flew without ejector seats and often without even parachutes, freezing in unheated cockpits and with primitive controls and breathing apparatus. He was expected to fly - personally - every single production aircraft that left the factory (fortunately not so many as British aircraft manufacturers had not yet adopted mass production), as well as carrying out a mass of other chores including the administration of several scattered airfields!Read more ›
Should be compulsory reading for all members of parliament and public officers. They should then have to sit a 2 hour written exam on it and if they fail they should then resign.
Surprisingly, `Empire of the Clouds' is in every way a superb piece of work, born from the deep passion of a true enthusiast. The author brings insight and knowledge about the companies and their often autocratic founders, disastrous cost-cutting, failures of management and tolerance of outdated industrial practices. Together with bean-counting, vacillating politicians and duplicitous national airline carriers, this lethal cocktail of ineptitude eventually resulted in the slow destruction of a world-leading industry.
However, the book is in no way downbeat in tone. On the contrary, it's an elegy to a bygone age before the design and production of new military and civilian passenger aircraft became so expensive that only international conglomerates or huge corporations could hope to deal with the complexities, and before the depressing triumph of dreary health and safety obsessives bludgeoned the initiative, romance and sheer daredevilry out of aviation forever.
The stars of the book are the aircraft of this romantic era fertile with new ideas, and the heroes the test pilots who flew them. If you have a passion for these wonderful aircraft then you're in for a treat.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good history /story, Nice hard back copy lots of photos thru out.Published 10 months ago by Johnny Allred
Puts a face to the heady days of the Brit aero industry... before it went belly-up!! Highly recommended and enjoyed!!Published 14 months ago by L. R. B.
As I have done many time sin the past, once more I suggest you have a look at the Most helpful positive and critical reviews, and you will have a pretty good understanding of what... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Flying Photographer
This is a rare book that is full of historical facts and written in such a readable style that is hard to put down. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Mary H.
High quality photographs of very rare aircraft, such as the Armstrong Whitworth AW 52 and DeHavilland DH 108, make this highly detailed volume an essential component in the... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Dave LaPorte
Each chapter has endnotes: the sources are test pilot memoirs, surveys of test pilots of fighters and some bombers, magazines (e.g. 'Flight'). Read morePublished on August 17, 2014 by Rerevisionist
Like model trains, the best market for books on aviation is adolescents of a certain age, i.e. middle aged men. Read morePublished on May 19, 2014 by Nitin K.
I loved this book and will read it a few more times in my life. I found it heart breaking as to what we used to be as a country with genius engineers to what we are today. Read morePublished on April 9, 2014 by martin crabtree
I was extremely happy with this purchase. This book, the illustrated edition is so filled with rare photos of classic jet aircraft of the golden age of aviation. Read morePublished on February 23, 2014 by william j. pence
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