Forty years ago

Pilot - - STRAP1 -

In the Novem­ber 1977 is­sue the book re­views were writ­ten by renowned thriller writer (and keen pi­lot) writer Gavin Lyall. Two no­table pub­li­ca­tions cov­ered were Delta Papa, Derek Piggott’s won­der­ful au­to­bi­og­ra­phy cov­er­ing a life of fly­ing, no­tably per­form­ing hairy stunts for movies like the Blue Max (‘my only crit­i­cism is that the book is just too short’, wrote Lyall) and Eric Brown’s sto­ried Wings of the Luft­waffe.

Maxi Gainza made another ap­pear­ance with a flight test of the Focke-wulf Fw-44 Stieglitz, ‘Air Mail’ ran to just two thirds of a page and Bunny Bram­son pro­duced a suit­ably se­ri­ous-minded ap­praisal of the Cessna Con­quest tur­bo­prop, ‘a pi­lot’s aero­plane, among the fastest in its class, with a big­ger cabin than most, and with more air miles per gal­lon than any of its com­peti­tors’ – how could it fail? In ‘Pi­lot Notes’ a great deal of en­thu­si­asm was ex­pressed over Dowty’s ducted-fan Is­lan­der, which out-per­formed the noisy orig­i­nal and, adding just three per cent to the pro­duc­tion cost, might help ‘those 100+ Is­landers that Fairey BN have sit­ting around un­sold’.

Un­der the head­line ‘ Black deeds at Black­bushe’ Hamp­shire County Coun­cil got a real roast­ing for its plans to pur­chase the air­field and make it a pub­lic open space (pre­sum­ably this at­tack helped, be­cause Black­bushe is still with us). In a signed piece of op ed, James Gil­bert took aim at the CAA – then promis­ing to reg­u­late with ‘a light touch’ (sounds fa­mil­iar?). At least the au­thor­ity’s ‘un­nec­es­sar­ily lav­ish’ an­nual re­port had been made less so, although ‘J.G.’ ob­served that the heavy pa­per stock used was more than Pi­lot could ever af­ford. ‘ Pi­lot’s sus­pi­cion re­mains that our CAA is a Rolls-royce or­gan­i­sa­tion where a far more mod­est one would do us (if not them) just as well’, he con­cluded.

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