If winter weather still has you grounded and waiting for spring, check out the following aviation books that will let you do some armchair flying:
British Experimental Combat Aircraft of World War II. British military aviation buffs take note, Tony Buttler’s 268-page British Experimental Combat Aircraft of World War II covers 35 aircraft from the likes of Blackburn, Boulton, Bristol, Vickers and Westland and each aircraft chapter includes numerous images and factoids. The book covers aircraft built and flown as prototypes only along with others that were put into production but never reached a squadron.
Topgun Days. Dave “Bio” Baranek, a Naval Aviator who was an instructor at Topgun, the US Navy’s elite Fighter Weapons School, and who assisted in the making of the Tom Cruise movie “Top Gun,” has written Topgun Days: Dogfighting, Cheating Death, and Hollywood Glory as one of America’s Best Fighter Jocks. The book includes dozens of color photos of Bio’s planes, flights in action, Tom Cruise on set and Hollywood parties. For more information, visit Topgunbio.com.
American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day. Gary’s Flight Journal has a book review of American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day. Day’s military career spanned World War II, Korea and Vietnam where he was shot down and ended up spending over five years and seven months as a POW in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. Day also wrote an autobiographical account of his experiences as a prisoner of war, Return with Honor, that was followed by Duty, Honor, Country.
Rupert Red Two. Gary’s Flight Journal also has a book review of Jack Broughton’s Rupert Red Two which completes a trilogy with the other books being Thud Ridge (1969) and Going Downtown (1988). Rupert Red Two concentrates on Jack’s life from a West Point Cadet in 1945 and his flying career where he flew P-47’s following World War II and F-80’s and F-84’s in the Korea War. Jack also led the famed Thunderbirds from 1954 to 1957 and the book touches on his service in Vietnam.
Top Secret Flight. Dale W. Cox has written a historical novel called Top Secret Flight based on an actual classified mission that took place in March of 1942, three months after Pearl Harbor, with the objective to obtain photos of Tokyo targets for the planned April Doolittle Raid. Apparently, the recon mission was so secretive that it was never revealed in any military history nor reported to the American public.
Transport Aircraft of the World. The Nuts About Southwest blog has a profile and plenty of cool pictures excerpted from Transport Aircraft of the World by Lester Ott – a book published in 1944. The book covers transport aircraft types from all over the world – including aircraft being used at the time by the Nazis. However, good luck finding a copy of the book available on Amazon.com!
U.S. Air Force Pocket Survival Handbook. Should you ever find yourself in any kind of survival situation, the U.S. Air Force Pocket Survival Handbook: The Portable and Essential Guide to Staying Alive might come in handy. The book outlines specific survival threats found at sea, in the desert, in mountain terrain and in arctic conditions. More importantly, it offers techniques on surviving them.