Focke-wulf Fw190 Own­ers’ Work­shop Man­ual by Graeme Dou­glas, £22.99. Hard­back, 156 pages, colour il­lus­tra­tion through­out

Pilot - - BOOKS & GEAR -

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.

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