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Aircraft Manufacturers reference books

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  • RPSmith
    ex Midland A.M. member
    • Mar 2005
    • 2908

    Aircraft Manufacturers reference books

    Occasionally threads appear asking about a specific aircraft manufacturer.

    I thought it might be an idea to create a list - available for anyone to refer to
    - of books that provide such information.

    I start off with those books in my collection that are about manufacturer's, NOT specific aircraft types, NOT individual aircraft. Mainly (but with the odd exception) they'll deal with the whole history of the one manufacturer - a la the Putnam series.

    If other forum members would like to join in I'll try and keep adding to it to provide a comprehensive list. This is not a list of who has what.

    2a Aircraft Manufacturers, histories

    British Aircraft Manufacturers Since 1908 C.Endres Ian Allan
    Airco The Aircraft Manufacturing Company Mick Davis Crowood
    Airspeed Aircraft Since 1931 H.A.Taylor Putnam
    Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Since 1913 Oliver Tapper Putnam
    Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Ray Williams Chalford
    Avro Aircraft Since 1908 A.J.Jackson Putnam
    Avro The History of an Aircraft Company Harry Holmes Airlife
    Avro Aircraft Roger Jackson Sutton Beech Aircraft and their Predeccessors A.J.Pelletier Putnam
    Blackburn Aircraft Company, The Malcolm Hall Chalford
    Bleriot, Herald of an Age B.A.Elliott
    Boeing Aircraft Since 1916 Peter M.Bowers Putnam
    Boeing Flypast Reference Library Donald Hannah Key
    Boeing 1916, Pedigree of Champions - Boeing
    Boulton Paul Aircraft Alec Brew Sutton
    Bristol Aircraft Since 1910 C.H.Barnes Putnam
    Bristol Aircraft, The Book of D.A.Russell Harborough
    De Havilland Aircraft Since 1915 A.J.Jackson Putnam
    De Havilland Biplane Transports Hays/King Gatwick AS
    De Havilland A Pictorial Tribute Gordon Bain Airlife
    Douglas Propliners A.Pearcy
    Fairey Aircraft Since 1915 Taylor Putnam
    Fokker Aircraft Builders to the World Thijs Postma Janes
    Gloster Aircraft Since 1917 Derek James Putnam
    Grumman (Images of America) M.W.Bowman
    Handley Page Aircraft Since 1907 C.H.Barnes Putnam
    Handley Page A History Alan Dowsett Tempus
    Handley Page Bombers of the First World War Chaz Bowyer Aston
    Handley Page (Forty Years On 1909 1949) Handley Page
    Hawker Aircraft Since 1920 Francis Mason Putnam
    Hawker Aircraft Ltd Derek James Chalford
    Humber Story, The Demaus/Tarring Sutton
    Ilushin (OKB) A History of the Design Gordon/Kormissarov Midland
    Bureau and its Aircraft Counties
    Junkers Aircraft and Engines 1913 1945 Antony Kay Putnam
    Junkers A Pioneer in Aviation Brian Walters Chalford
    Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913 Rene Francillon Putnam
    Lockheed Martins Skunk Works J.Miller
    Lockheed Bill Yenne Bison
    McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920 Vol I Rene Francillon Putnam
    McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920 Vol II Rene Francillon Putnam
    Messerschmitt Anthony Prichard
    MiG Aircraft Since 1937 Gunston/Gordon Putnam
    MiG Dynasty David Oliver Airlife
    Miles Aircraft Since 1925 Don Brown Putnam
    Miles Aircraft, The Book of A.H.Lukins Harborough
    Nieuport Aircraft of World War One Ray Sanger Crowood
    Parnalls Aircraft Ken Wixey Tempus
    Percival and Hunting Aircraft John Silvester (author)
    Redwing Story, The John Lane P. Lane
    Royal Aircraft Factory, Aeroplanes of the Paul Hare Crowood
    SAAB Aircraft Since 1937 Hans Andersson Putnam
    SAAB Aircraft Derek James Chalford
    SAAB-Scania Story, The - Streiffert
    Sage, Frederick & Co Ltd. (Plane to Plane) Martyn Chorlton Old Forge
    Shorts Aircraft Since 1900 C.H.Barnes Putnam
    Shorts, Flying into the Future- A Pictorial History of Michael Donne Good
    Sopwith Aircraft Mick Davis Crowood
    Supermarine Aircraft Since 1914 Andrews/Morgan Putnam
    Westland Aircraft Since 1915 Derek James Putnam
    Westland (Planemakers 2) David Mondey Janes
    Westland Aircraft, The Book of A.H.Lukins Harborough
    Wight Aircraft, The/White, J.Samuel & Co. Michael H. Goodall Gentry

    2b Aero Engine Manufacturers, histories

    Armstrong Siddeley, The Parkside Story 1896 1939 Ray Cook RRHT
    Parkside Armstrong Siddeley to Rolls-Royce Roy Lawton RRHT
    Flygmotor - Volvo Aero 1930-2005 Widfeldt/Fryklund
    Junkers (see list 2a)
    Napier, D and Son (By Precision Into Power) Alan Vessey Tempus

    Some (like "De Havilland Biplane Transports") are not full company histories but deal with several different types from the same stable.

    I guess it would be nice to include an ISBN number and year of publication but I can't get enough width in the forum page to add them in.

    Roger Smith.
    A Blenheim, Beaufighter and Beaufort - together in one Museum. Who'd have thought that possible in 1967?
  • Planemike
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Dec 2007
    • 1797

    Here are a few that could go on the list, I guess. Several are not exactly company histories but do cover a group of types and often have a good synopsis of the company history:

    A Civilian Affair Eduard F Winkler Flight Recorder Publications
    Beech Aircraft and their Predecessors AJ Pelletier Putman
    Blackburn Aircraft Since 1909 A.J.Jackson Putnam
    Boulton Paul Aircraft Since 1915 Alec Brew Putnam
    Fokker Weyl Putnam
    Magnificent Enterprise Moths, Majors & Minors Janic Geelen NZ Aviation Press
    Miles Aircraft The Early Years Peter Amos Air Britain
    Plane to Plane The Story of Frederick Sage & Co Martyn Chorlton Old Forge Publishing.
    The de Havilland Dragon/Rapide Family John F Hamlin Air Britain
    The Martinsyde File Ray Sanger Air Britain
    The Royal Aircraft Factory Hare Putnam
    The Story of the de Havilland Dragon Types Colin N Dodds Air Britain
    Tupolev Aircraft Since 1922 Gunston Putnam
    Wings Over Woodley The Story of Miles Aircraft Julian C Temple Aston Publications
    Yakovlev Aircraft Since 1927 Gunston Putnam

    Apparently Magnificent Enterprise is/was intended to be a six volume set covering the whole de H history. To my knowledge only Volume Two, the one referred to above has been published. That was published in 2004.

    Rumour has it there are another two volumes due from Peter Amos covering the rest of Miles history.

    Well just a few to be going on with, I am sure others can be added.

    Last edited by Planemike; 6th April 2011, 17:10.


    • Al Elliott
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Sep 2009
      • 412

      Bell Aircraft since 1935- A.J. Pelletier - Putnam
      Bellanca's Golden Age - Abel, Abel - Wind Canyon Books
      Cessna's Golden Age - Abel, Abel, Matt - Wind Canyon Books
      Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947 - Peter M. Bowers - Putnam
      English Electric Aircraft and their Predecessors - Stephen Ransom/Robert Fairclough - Putnam
      Fairchild Aircraft 1926-1987 - Kent A. Mitchell - Narkiewicz/Thompson
      General Dynamics Aircraft and their Predecessors - John Wegg - Putnam
      (Thomas Brothers, Thomas-Morse, Dayton Wright, Consolidated, Hall Aluminium, Stinson, Vultee, Barkley-Grow, Convair, General Dynamics)
      Grumman Aircraft since 1929 - Ren J Francillon - Putnam
      Vertical Challenge - The Hiller Aircraft Story - Jay P. Spenser - 1st Books Library
      Martin Aircraft 1909-1960 - Breihan, Piet, Mason - Narkiewicz/Thompson
      Wings for the Navy (History of the Naval Aircraft Factory 1917-1956) - William Trimble - Naval Institute Press
      North American Aircraft 1934-1999 Vol 1 and 2 - Kevin Thompson - Narkiewicz/Thompson
      Piper's Golden Age - Abel, Abel, Matt - Wind Canyon Books
      Saunders and Saro Aircraft since 1917 - Peter London - Putnam
      Sikorsky - John W.R. Taylor - Images of America
      Stearman - Martin W. Bowman - Images of Aviation
      Aeroplanes Vought - Gerard P. Moran -Aviation Heritage Books
      Vickers Aircraft since 1908 - C.F.Andrews/E.B.Morgan - Putnam
      Vultee Aircraft 1932-1947 - Jonathan Thompson - Narkiewicz/Thompson

      Last edited by Al Elliott; 6th April 2011, 16:41.


      • barnstormer
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Jan 2006
        • 241

        All hardcovers:

        The Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers, B. Gunston, 3,000 entries with extensive company evolutions, mergers, transfers, and sales of aviation companies; P. Stephens

        Boeing, Planemakers to the World, R. Redding & B. Yenne, 1983; Crescent

        Legend and LegacyThe Story of Boeing, R. Serling, 1991; St. Martins

        The Grumman Story, R. Thruelsen, 1976; Praeger

        One Of A Kind-The Story of Grumman, B.Gunston, 1988; TRH

        Waco-Symbol of Courage & Excellence, F. Kobernus, 1992; SunShine House

        The Luscombe Story, John Swick, 1987; SunShine House

        To Join With The Eagles-Complete Story of Curtiss Wright Aircraft, M Rubenstein & R. Goldman, 1974; Doubleday

        Curtiss-Wright, Greatness and Decline, Eltscher & Young, 1998; Twayne

        Raise Heaven and Earth, Martin Marietta/Glenn Martin, W. Harwood 1993; Simon & Schuster
        Joe G.


        • RPSmith
          ex Midland A.M. member
          • Mar 2005
          • 2908

          Thanks Planemike, Al Elliott and Barnstormer for your contributions - with the bit of internet research I did today am up to around about 120 book titles now.

          This list deleted - see later version
          Last edited by RPSmith; 14th April 2011, 16:13.
          A Blenheim, Beaufighter and Beaufort - together in one Museum. Who'd have thought that possible in 1967?


          • Zebedee
            Mostly Harmless
            • Dec 2007
            • 411

            Ok... couple from me:

            BAC: British Aircraft Corporation, A History by Charles Gardner
            Fokker: Fokker Commercial Aircraft, Rene de Leeuw
            Saunders Roe: From Sea to Air, The Heritage of Sam Saunders, A.E. Tagg and Raymond Wheeler
            Saunders Roe/BHC: From River to Sea, The Marine Heritage of Sam Saunders, Raymond Wheeler

            Last edited by Zebedee; 6th April 2011, 19:29.
            "I wish Bernard was here"
            "British Rocket Group has its own problems..."


            • Fatcivvy
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Aug 2007
              • 92

              Between you, all the books that I've got in my library seem to be covered with the exception of;

              The Lockheed Twins, P.J Marson by Air-Britain




              • aeronut 2008
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Jan 2008
                • 1562

                Three I've got that no one has mentioned yet.

                Bristol Aerospace since 1910 Geoff Green
                Sunbeam aero-engines Alec Brew

                and one name I'm surprised no one else has put forward

                Roll-Royce Aero Engines Bill Gunston


                • aeronut 2008
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Jan 2008
                  • 1562

                  Oh well as soon as I put those three back on the shelf I noticed these.

                  Austers, Nearly all you wanted to know. Mike Preston & Mick Ames
                  Auster, A brief history of the Auster aircraft in British Military service. Barry Ketley

                  Power for the Pioneers, The Green and ENV Aero-engines. A E Tagg
                  From Gypsy to Gem - With diversions 1926-1986 Peter Stokes (this last one is No 10 of the Rolls-Royce heritage trust publications.


                  • avion ancien
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • Aug 2007
                    • 5261

                    I appreciate that they are manufacturers', rather than manufacturer's, editions - but please don't forget the magnum opera (or should it be opuses or opi!) of A.J.Jackson (British Civil Aircraft 1919-1972) and A.W.J.G. Ord-Hume (British Light Aeroplanes ....1920-1940).


                    • John Aeroclub
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Jul 2006
                      • 2761

                      Fleet- the flying years Page-Cumming Boston Mills Press
                      Pierres Precieuses Piel aircraft.
                      Spartan a/c (american) Chet Peek Aviation Hertitage
                      Travel Air Phillips Flying books
                      Stinson John Underwood Heritage
                      Luscombe Swick Aviation heritage
                      Koolhoven Wesserlink/ Postima Roman Haarlem
                      Douglas (British aero engines) Brian Thornby Redcliffe Press
                      Samoloty RWD Duleba/Glass Bib-Skrzys Pol
                      Avions Renard Andre Hauet Editions AELR

                      Wings of Cessna Phillips Flying Books

                      To add a few more.

                      Last edited by John Aeroclub; 7th April 2011, 17:39.


                      • Planemike
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Dec 2007
                        • 1797

                        Originally posted by avion ancien View Post
                        I appreciate that they are manufacturers', rather than manufacturer's, editions - but please don't forget the magnum opera (or should it be opuses or opi!) of A.J.Jackson (British Civil Aircraft 1919-1972) and A.W.J.G. Ord-Hume (British Light Aeroplanes ....1920-1940).
                        Certainly agree with AA these books should be included as they cover a number of the smaller manufacturers who may only have produced a few aircraft and do not merit a full book e.g. Reid & Sigrist etc.

                        Should also add A.W.J.G. Ord-Hulme's British Commercial Aircraft 1920 - 1940. GMS Enterprises.

                        Also add The History of the Auster Aeroplane A.V.Hitchman (no publisher shown)

                        Last edited by Planemike; 7th April 2011, 07:26.


                        • steve_p
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Aug 2005
                          • 659

                          Westland up until the start of the 1960s is covered in Westland 50, by J W R Taylor and M F Allward Published by Ian Allan in 1960.


                          • RPSmith
                            ex Midland A.M. member
                            • Mar 2005
                            • 2908

                            Thanks chaps.
                            John Aeroclub do you have authors and/or publishers for those?
                            AA/Planemike I will add the Ord-Hume two and Jackson at the top of the listing - the trouble is where to stop with the 'non-specific' titles?
                            aeronut I'll go through the list of RRHT publications as there may well be more that will be appropriate.

                            Roger Smith.
                            A Blenheim, Beaufighter and Beaufort - together in one Museum. Who'd have thought that possible in 1967?


                            • Schneiderman
                              Rank 5 Registered User
                              • Jan 2008
                              • 797


                              I don't think we've had these two

                              Spirit of Hamble - Folland Aircraft, Derek N James, Tempus Publishing

                              British Aircraft 1809 - 1914. Peter Lewis, Putnam (nit company specific but fills a few gaps)


                              • Schneiderman
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Jan 2008
                                • 797

                                Also these French ones

                                Les Avion Bernard. Jean Liron, Docavia
                                Nieuport 1909 - 1950. Resenthal, Marchand, Borget and Benichon, Docavia
                                Les Avions Dewoitine. Danel and Cuny, Docavia


                                • Planemike
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Dec 2007
                                  • 1797

                                  Originally posted by RPSmith View Post
                                  AA/Planemike I will add the Ord-Hume two and Jackson at the top of the listing - the trouble is where to stop with the 'non-specific' titles?
                                  Roger Smith.
                                  Roger, Point taken but have to say that by including them you do cover a number of smaller aircraft manufacturers. For example, there does not seem to be a book covering Comper aircraft. To me both the Jackson and Ord-Hume books are THE seminal works on British civil aircraft. Could do with one to cover the post WW11 period in the same detail.

                                  Looking through the lists, there seem to a number of gaps relating to German manufacturers. Guess they will covered in German as opposed to English.

                                  Last edited by Planemike; 10th April 2011, 11:11.


                                  • PeeDee
                                    The Big O.T.
                                    • Mar 2010
                                    • 1260

                                    There is, somewhere, a publicised time-line showing the A/c manufacturers and where they ended up following Mergers & Acquisituions and of course bankruptcy.
                                    In a sort of FA Cup knock out list, it worked from left to right finishing up with the few companies that now exist. Years were the top header line. Most of the British firms ended up in BAE Systems for example. Bombardier scooped up a lot of small firms too. I only saw this as a Wallchart (A3 size) but there were publishers details in the corner.
                                    I'd love to have a copy if anyone has anything like it.
                                    Higher than Gods, in Concorde or a Mozzy.


                                    • cthornburg
                                      Skyvan Capt.
                                      • Jan 2000
                                      • 674

                                      I've made up a genealogy of aircraft manufactures of the world on my website not all are currently uploaded because it didn't upload correctly.




                                      • RPSmith
                                        ex Midland A.M. member
                                        • Mar 2005
                                        • 2908

                                        Chris, The Smithsonian published one a while back - I picked up a copy in the MCP sale a week ago but haven't had chance to look at it yet. I'll look at your website.

                                        Schneiderman - thanks. I've often moaned about the lack of reference material (published in English) on French aeroplanes. Are those three in English? I'll include them but, if in French only, it will need to say so.

                                        Planemike I think there's going to be a sub-list of non-specific books - Schneiderman's suggestion of "British Aircraft 1809 - 1914" will be followed up by Jack Bruce's "British Aeroplanes 1914 - 1918" but we're not talking, re the list overall, exclusively British. I'll have to add to the sub-list the Putnam on Polish Aircraft. As you say many of the German manufacturers are missing - although much information is available in other sources (eg extended magazine articles). Perhaps, to fill gaps, another list be added for such articles???

                                        PeeDee - yes I've seen such a chart in the past - and one for engine manufacturers.

                                        Another thought - as the list get's longer (and more cumbersome) should it be split into countries? this would help identify gaps more easily and perhaps better allow the inclusion of such as "British Aeroplanes...." and the mentioned extended magazine articles?

                                        Roger Smith.
                                        Last edited by RPSmith; 7th April 2011, 09:40.
                                        A Blenheim, Beaufighter and Beaufort - together in one Museum. Who'd have thought that possible in 1967?


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