Forty years ago
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.