Some of the publications here relate to past talks or speakers. A list of past talks can be found on the events page.
Examines the development of Britain’s post–war airliners based on the recommendations of the wartime Brabazon Committee. This book discusses the successes of certain aircraft versus the fate of others which fell by the wayside. It also covers other airliners produced by the UK and offers comparisons with developments in Italy, France and the USA.
Flying boats have been a familiar sight in the Solent since the dawn of aviation. Two of Britain’s major manufactures, Saunders–Roe and Supermarine, were based in Cowes and Woolston respectively. The area has been home to flying boats of Imperial Airways and, latterly, BOAC and Aquila Airways. With a terminal at Hythe and then Southampton Docks, one could view not just majestic ocean liners but huge flying boats too, from the Empire boats of Imperial Airways to the majestic Saunders–Roe Princess, built in the post–war period. During wartime, BOAC operated their vital flying boat services from Poole Harbour. In fact, BOAC was based at Poole for longer than Southampton – a fact frequently overlooked, mostly due to wartime censorship. Post–war route expansion was also undertaken while still at Poole. Military aviation in the area saw flying boats operated from RAF Calshot and RAF Hamworthy, with types ranging from elderly biplanes to Sunderlands. Mike Phipp takes us on a tour of the Solent area and Poole Harbour’s flying boat heritage using many previously unpublished images of the aircraft plus the men and women that flew and maintained them.
The first ex–military jet flew in Britain in the late 1960s, restored by Jet Heritage of Bournemouth. The company made a successful business out of restoring the complicated military airframes and making them legal for civilian flight. This is the story of Jet Heritage and the men who restored the first ex–military jets back into service.
Wessex – for our purposes Dorset and Wiltshire, along with the western parts of Hampshire and Berkshire – has been part of Britain’s aviation industry for over a hundred years. In his comprehensive new book, historian Mike Phipp recalls the area’s proud heritage and details the many companies that have been involved in aviation over the years. Many well–known names are included, along with those that have faded into obscurity. The book tracks the mergers, takeovers, government specifications, wartime demand, economic pressures and brilliant entrepreneurship that made the rates of production and innovation in the area the subject of international reverence. Peacetime, and changes in the world market, led to the industry’s steady decline in the second half of the twentieth century, but as Mike Phipp reminds us, the story of aviation in Wessex continues to this day. From flimsy biplanes and flying boats to Second World War fighters, jet airliners and rocket fighters – not to mention hovercrafts and UAVs – Wessex Aviation Industry is the definitive guide to its subject, and will remain a valuable reference work in the history of aviation for years to come.
The RB211 gas turbine engine was to be the biggest engineering project in Britain, and the world’s first three–spool turbofan. It had been developed for the Lockheed L1011 Tristar and fi nally entered service in 1972. Despite its huge development costs, which pushed Rolls–Royce into bankruptcy, it turned Rolls–Royce into a global company, supplying engines for many thousands of airliners and military aircraft. Despite the development costs, the failure of the company that produced the engine and the problems of its single launch customer (Lockheed), the RB211 proved itself to be a highly flexible engine, with a massive potential power range, light weight and ease of maintenance. Andrew Porter tells the story of the RB211, the history of its development and the political and economic factors that saw the company nearly die.
This fully revised edition of The Concorde Story, is a complete history of Concorde, seen through the eyes of former Concorde pilot Christopher Orlebar. This new edition includes the after–story of the aircraft, including a list of where surviving Concorde Aircraft can be viewed around the world. Drawing on his own experience, the author reveals what it was like to be a Concorde pilot, and gives us a unique pilot’s–eye–view of a typical transatlantic flight, including details of the training involved and life on the flight deck. It is from the privileged perspective of an insider that Christopher Orlebar describes Concorde’s ’Grand Finale’ and final flight to Filton, reflecting on the history and achievement of Concorde and those who worked on her.
Des Curtis was one of the founder members of 618 Squadron. Formed within days of the illustrious 617, 618's primary objective was to mount a daylight low–level attack by Mosquitos on the German battleship Tirpitz within hours of the attack on the Ruhr dams. The operation, codenamed Operation Servant, was given top security classification, to the point where the subject was excluded from the minutes of the meetings of the Chiefs of Staff of the air and naval forces.
The author reveals the dilemmas and conflicting priorities existing to the highest levels, setting out in detail the technicalities of developing the ’bouncing bomb’. He also writes first hand about the tactical problems of getting to and from the target; and the tensions and strains endured by the Mosquito crews themselves, as they took the war to the German U–Boats within the sight and safety of their bases.
It was to be one of the most ambitious operations since 617 Squadron bounced their revolutionary bombs into the dams of the Ruhr Valley in 1943 . . .
April 1982. Argentine forces had invaded the Falkland Islands. Britain needed an answer. And fast. The idea was simple: to destroy the vital landing strip at Port Stanley. The reality was more complicated. The only aircraft that could possibly do the job was three months from being scrapped, and the distance it had to travel was four thousand miles beyond its maximum range.
It would take fifteen Victor tankers and seventeen separate in–flight refuellings to get one Avro Vulcan B2 over the target, and give its crew any chance of coming back alive. Yet less than a month later, a formation of elderly British jets launched from a remote island airbase to carry out the longest-range air attack in history. At its head was a single aircraft, six men, and twenty–one thousand-pound bombs, facing the hornet’s nest of modern weaponry defending the Argentine forces on the Falkland Islands. There would be no second chances .
A revised Edition of the book ‘A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ROYAL ORDNANCE FACTORY POOLE 1940–1958’, has now been published. This edition now includes expanded details on the war time defences of the site, further details of the buildings and an expanded chapter on the transport system serving the factory.
The factory was situated in Sopers Lane, Creekmoor and the site is currently occupied by Siemens.
Although the ROF manufactured aircraft guns during and after the War until closure in 1958 and was a large employer in Poole, it seems that few people really knew what was produced during this period. The book gives a fascinating insight to the people lives and the work that was carried at the Creekmoor factory.
The price of the book is £8 (p&p extra) and it can be purchased from: David Warhurst Tel: 01202 696295
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