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Thread: Test Pilot books

  1. #61
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    FIGHTER PILOTS HEAVEN (flight testing the early jets) by Donald S. Lopez.
    No one seems to have read this book printed in the US and distributed in GB by Airlife in 1995. The inside front cover gives the following details = Fighter Pilots Heaven presents the dramatic inside story of the American military's transition into the jet age, as told by a flyer whose life depended on its success. With colourful anecdotes about fellow pilots as well as precise technical information, Donald S, Lopez describes how it was to 'behind the stick' as a test pilot from 1945 to 1950, when the U.S Military was shifting from war to peacetime operations and from propeller to jet aircraft.
    An ace pilot who had served with Gen. Claire Chennault's Flying Tiger Fighter Group, Lopez was assigned at the close of WW2 to the elite Proof Test Group of the Air Ground Command at Eglin Field (later Eglin Air Force Base) in Florida, the group determined the operational suitability of Air Force weapon systems and aircraft and tested the first operational jet, the P-80 Shooting Star.
    Jet fighters required new techniques, tactics and weaponry. Lopez recounts historic test flights in the P-59,P-80, and P-84, among other planes, describing complex combat manoeuvers, hair raising landings in unusual positions, and disastrous crashes and near crashes revealing how airmen coped with both exhilarating successes and sometimes tragic failures. If you can find it buy it! Ray

  2. #62
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    "If you can find it"??? It's $15, free shipping for Prime members, on Amazon.

  3. #63
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    Stepwilk I don't need to buy it! I paid £6.95 for it and drove home from the local bookshop. Have you read it? Ray

  4. #64
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    'up in harms way' by cdr rm crosley,test flying from seafires to buccaneers, very good read

  5. #65
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    Have you read it?
    It's now on my Kindle, but I just got Scott Crossfield's autobiography, which turns out to be more than excellent. Sucked me right in, Lopez will have to wait a few days.

    If you can find it buy it!
    I wasn't responding directly to you, since obviously you own the book, my comment was for people who might read your post and think there was something rare about the book and that it was difficult to find.

  6. #66
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    I don't think anyone has mentioned HA Taylor's Test Pilot at War, Ian Allan 1970. Many available cheaply on abe. Separate chapters cover the flight characteristics and peculiarities of about 30 different types, many of them American. The US ones include some obscure types like the biplane Helldiver. Taylor mainly tested aircraft at Maintenance Units prior to delivery to units. It's very well written and highly recommended.

  7. #67
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    Another one not mentioned previously:

    Tex Johnson, Jet-Age Test Pilot....by A.M. "Tex" Johnson.
    A barnstormer turned Bell factory ferry pilot in the war, turned test pilot. Did some work on the XP-59, won the Thompson Trophy at the Cleveland air races post war in a P-39, supervised X-1 tests, flew early Bell 47s, then was hired by Boeing (after one of their test pilots was decapitated by a departing B-47 canopy) and was the first man to fly both the 707 and B-52. Famous for barrel roll with the 367-80 (707 prototype) during an event.
    A great look into the early days of large jets
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

  8. #68
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    I can second what has been said about the Donald Lopez book. VERY well written and a book that made me laugh out loud at times and which also does not shy away from talking about the human cost of flying then.

    One of the best aviation books I have read (which reminds me to take it into hospital when I go in on Monday)

    Regarding Yeager, I do know he is not welcome at the Society of Test Pilots in Lancaster and I had an interesting conversation with Erin Brown where he was mentioned. I have not met him myself, and so cannot comment directly, but I have no wish to meet him either. Anyone who says he would rather have fought the British than the Germans has started on the wrong foot!

  9. #69
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    He's probably not welcome at the SETP because he basically feels that what a test pilot need is balls, not degrees. With only a high-school education himself, he seems highly anti-intellectual, from reading his book, and he is outright contemptuous of NASA pilots--contemptible civilians who actually went to college--and feels that they spend their time "trying to find the secret of the universe," as he put it, rather than firewalling the power lever and soon as you can and just going for it, whatever "it" might be.

    I assume that by "Erin Brown" you mean not the porn star but Winkle. Or maybe you don't...

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stepwilk View Post

    I assume that by "Erin Brown" you mean not the porn star but Winkle. Or maybe you don't...
    Now now, simply typing too fast. My point is that the folks at the SETP echo what a fair few seem to think. He may well have been a great pilot.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stepwilk View Post
    I assume that by "Erin Brown" you mean not the porn star but Winkle. Or maybe you don't...
    I wouldn't have known that Erin Brown was a porn star. I guess I've got to get out more....
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Boyle View Post
    I wouldn't have known that Erin Brown was a porn star. I guess I've got to get out more....
    In this case you probably need to stay IN more!

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosevidney1 View Post
    ...Lerche's autobiography (forgotten the title!). He probably was the last German to fly the Dornier Do 335.
    I've got that book around somewhere but it was easier to google it. I was amazed to find I actually had remembered his name and the title...

    Luftwaffe Test Pilot: Flying Captured Allied Aircraft of World War 2 - Hans-Werner Lerche

    On Amazon mildly steep to how much!!!

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