Wings of the Navy
Eric Brown has flown more aircraft types and performed more carrier landings than any other person, dead or alive. That alone makes him a unique individual. In addition to that, he is actually a good writer. I’ve read several other of his books and I have found them very interesting, easy to read, and almost in the category of “page-turners.” This book is no exception.
This version is an extended edition of the original book, which was focused mainly in carrier-borne World War II airplanes. He added several carrier-based jet airplanes that he got to fly in his extended career, either in the post-war years or during his time at the US Naval Air Test Center.
The book extensively covers the Swordfish, Skua and Roc, Albacore, Fulmar, Wildcat, Dauntless, Sea Hurricane, Chesapeak, Helldiver, Avenger, Barracuda, Firebrand, Firefly, Hellcat, Corsair, Seafire, Wyvern, Sea Venom, Scimitar, Sea Vixen, Buccaneer, and Phantom II. Each one of the above airplanes has a 10+ page chapter with plenty of B&W pictures, a 3-view line drawing, a cut-away drawing showing internal structural components, and a cockpit layout drawing. To top it off, most of them have a color profile by Richard Caruana.
In a somewhat abbreviated manner (3-4 page chapters) are covered the airplanes he got to fly while at the US Naval Air Test Center – Panther, Cutlass, Skyraider, Skyknight, Banshee, Skyray, Guardian, and Fury. These airplanes have shorter chapters but still plenty of photographs, but most of them don’t have a color profile.
Written in the first person, it is almost like Eric Brown is in front of you, telling you the impressions of have flown each one of the airplanes. He mixes in personal stories and recollections as he goes along, describing the virtues and flaws of each airplane. I would recommend this book to any aviation enthusiast and modelers due to the high number of pictures.
I would like to thank Specialty Press and IPMS/USA for the review sample.