Focke-wulf Fw190 Owners’ Workshop Manual by Graeme Douglas, www.haynes.co.uk £22.99. Hardback, 156 pages, colour illustration throughout
The Focke-wulf Fw190 Wurger (shrike or butcher bird) was one of the finest aircraft of WWII, outperforming the RAF’S Spitfire MKV when it arrived on the scene in 1941 and, with continued development, staying at the top of the game until the end of the war. It was not only a highly effective fighter, but by all accounts a delight to fly — and it set new standards in engineering design. Happily, this latest Haynes ‘manual’ is an equally classy production — it is well written and beautifully (and comprehensively) illustrated.
The best books in this series combine a good balance of type history, engineering detail and pilots’ reports. Checking the facts against Heinz Nowarra’s classic Harleyford book (listed, by the way, among author Graeme Douglas’s sources) the history bit is every bit as authoritative as you might hope. Where the Haynes Manual improves on the 1960s Harleyford is in the illustration — the quality of reproduction is of course better, but we also have more drawings from 1940s German manuals, new cutaways and a whole host of contemporary photographs of latter day restorations and replicas. These pictures reveal how advanced Kurt Tank’s design was for its day. We all love the Spitfire for its wonderful lines, but close inspection reveals an incredibly complicated structure that required a huge number of man hours to complete. By contrast, the Fw190 was very much a ‘second generation’ all-metal aircraft, using large pressings instead of built-up structures (a bit like today’s Tecnam ultralights). The Fw190’s beautifully cowled radial engine became an inspiration for Bristol’s Centaurus ‘power egg’, fitted to postwar RAF aircraft.
Those more interested in knowing what the thing is like to fly will not be disappointed. The description by Klaus Plasa, who has test flown many of the Flug Werk replicas covered in the book, is worth the admission price on its own. Highly recommended! PW
‘Butcher Bird’ brilliance New lifejackets from premium brand V:one
The V:one Airsafe is said to be a cost effective solution to the ‘casual flyer over water’. Its single backstrap and one-sided waistbelt adjustment make it quick to don and adjust, resulting in a practical and comfortable daily wear lifejacket. Features include a high quality metal buckle and durable nylon cover with velcro closure, making the jacket easy to open and easy to re-pack, once activated. The UML manual operating head is easily accessible and can be checked when required by opening the Velcro.
V:one has also launched the professional version of this jacket. The Sport Lite Pro is a tailored design with solid stainless steel metal buckle. This lifejacket ‘feels as if it’s sculpted to the body’, giving complete freedom of movement with its quarter mesh back, UML Pro Sensor operating head, inspection window and crotch strap. The durable nylon cover is fitted with a YKK Quickbursttm zip for super fast inflation. V:one says the Sport Pro Lite is comparable to any professional aviators’ lifejacket on the market today.