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