Upon a Trail­ing Edge by Michael Joy www.troubador.co.uk/mata­dor £17.99. Hard­back 322 pages B&W il­lus­tra­tion

Pilot - - BOOKS & GEAR -

A fly­ing car­di­ol­o­gist’s story

Michael Joy is both a pi­lot and car­di­ol­o­gist and this au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal story cov­ers his ac­com­plish­ments and ad­ven­tures in both fields. How­ever, the book is writ­ten in a rather flat and dis­jointed way that doesn’t in­vite the reader in, in­cor­po­rat­ing much his­tor­i­cal and ge­o­graph­i­cal in­for­ma­tion that adds length but not ex­cite­ment. In ad­di­tion, Mr Joy has many of his own opin­ions and shares th­ese freely with the reader.

As ad­vi­sor to the CAA in mat­ters car­di­o­log­i­cal, Mr Joy has in­flu­enced the med­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ences of com­mer­cial and pri­vate pi­lots in no small way and thereby, one hopes, con­trib­uted to safer avi­a­tion. How­ever, there are many med­i­cal terms used in the book which are not ex­plained for the lay reader: a glos­sary would have been help­ful and per­haps aided en­gage­ment in the sub­ject. JA

Weighty but in­ter­est­ing

The tragic Comet story is well known and has been told in pre­vi­ous books and even tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­taries. Nev­er­the­less, Robin Bray’s book gives a clear and read­able ac­count of all the rel­e­vant fac­tors that led to the fail­ure and down­fall of the world’s first com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion jet­liner and the sub­se­quent demise of the UK’S air­liner man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try. Bray also had the ben­e­fit of ac­cess to pa­pers (in the Na­tional Ar­chives) for­merly in­tended to be closed un­til 2030.

From the his­tory of how de Hav­il­land came to de­sign the Comet and the en­gines cho­sen to power it (Ghost 50 Mark 1) through to the crashes that spelled the end for the Comet MKI, Bray ex­plains the tech­ni­cal is­sues clearly. He takes a log­i­cal path through other Comet in­ci­dents, the ini­tial ground­ing, the mod­i­fi­ca­tions made and re-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to re­sume fly­ing be­fore the se­cond dev­as­tat­ing crash. He nat­u­rally spends a sig­nif­i­cant part of the book on the RAE in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the likely rea­sons for the crashes and the sub­se­quent Court of In­quiry, out­lin­ing the find­ings and how the fail­ures came about. It would be no con­so­la­tion to the fam­i­lies of those who lost their lives but – ul­ti­mately – the lessons learned about de­sign and stress fa­tigue and the need for more strin­gent fa­tigue test­ing have made the avi­a­tion in­dus­try a lot safer for ev­ery­one. JA

A Killer Cub model!

An­other fine 1:48 scale cast pewter model from Di­verse Im­ages, this lim­ited edi­tion (our sam­ple came with a cer­tifi­cate say­ing it was no 25 of 25) Piper L-4H is painted in the mark­ings of 43-329905/54-J the air­craft that brought down a Fiesler Fi 156 Storch in what is claimed to be the last shoot-down by an Al­lied air­craft in the Euro­pean theatre dur­ing WWII. Di­verse in­cludes a note de­scrib­ing the ac­tion, in which US Army pi­lot Lt Duane Fran­cis and ob­server Wil­liam Martin were able to blaze away at the hap­less Ger­man spot­ter plane with their Colt 45 sidearms when their ad­ver­sary made the mis­take of cir­cling de­fen­sively af­ter the Cub dived onto his tail — aerial com­bat more in the style of 1915 than 1945!

Cub afi­ciona­dos will ap­pre­ci­ate that Di­verse’s mas­ter sculp­tor and model maker, Sera Sta­ples has got the pro­por­tions and ‘sit’ of the real thing spot-on. The scale-size lift struts and tail brac­ing wires are very nicely done, and the painted-on cock­pit win­dows show the cor­rect glaz­ing bars. While it lacks the per­fec­tion in fin­ish of diecasts mass-pro­duced in China, this model has a fine, hand-painted (ac­tu­ally done with brushes) charm that sets it apart. One small fault is that the Se­senich pro­pel­ler should have pale yel­low-green outer sec­tions and brass lead­ing-edge strips but the mak­ers say they will rec­tify this for the next re­lease. Cub own­ers note: for an

ex­tra fee, Di­verse can pro­duce an L-4 or J3 in your own mark­ings. PW

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