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AVIATORS BEACH READING LIST

18 Dec 2017

 

Bush Pilots Do It In Fours - Roy Watson 

 “Bush Pilots Do It In Fours” follows Roy Watson's flying career and his fascination with all things airborne, from the very first steps through the restoration of a Tiger Moth, Aeronca and Zlin and some exposure to aerobatics in these 'older' flying machines. Thereafter, it moves towards larger aircraft, with his experiences maintaining Hawker Siddley 748's. Roy was heavily involved in establishing an airline, specifically aimed at supplying food, to impoverished Africa and a close involvement with Russian Aircraft and Douglas DC4's. What follows is his first taste of true 'bush flying', which evoked a distinct passion and love for the DC-4 (which inspired the title of the novel itself). The novel finally ends up with the challenging repair and subsequent conversion onto the Boeing 707. The flying exploits vary from humorous undertakings and happenings with his elderly light aircraft up to major expeditions in commercial airliners stretching from the Antarctic as far as the Northernmost Parts of Africa. Roy describes many incidents in the air, on the ground, and with the local population in a light-hearted and entertaining light that is sure to evoke a smile or two.

 

Pilot in the Wild - John Bassi

John Bassi has dedicated most of his life to the plight of wildlife in Africa. Raised in north eastern Zimbabwe, he was inspired by a life of living and working in wilderness areas throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Learning about the cruel realities of war and human greed, he made a vow to devote his life to protecting nature. Fuelled by a passion for wilderness and aviation, John Bassi embarked on a challenging and fascinating journey through the birth, growth and change of South Africa's game capture industry. Translocation projects, wildlife research, and veterinary and breeding projects expose him to the shape, form and movement of African wildlife on a daily basis. John specialised in operating helicopters and has become one of the leading game capture pilots and conservationists in the country. John has stood at the forefront of the industry and has accumulated over sixteen thousand hours of flying throughout Southern Africa. On the flip side, he has been witness to elements that hide commercial exploitation under the guise of conservation and he has seen the degradation of some of South Africa's pristine wilderness areas; an all too familiar sight echoing the ruin of his beloved Zimbabwe. John has incorporated his extensive knowledge and skill into providing a unique helicopter platform for wildlife research projects, large-scale anthrax vaccinating, aerial game censuses, radio tracking, ecological surveys, helicopter safaris, conservation education and everything else imaginable with regards to rotorcraft aviation. Inspiration gleaned from years of working hands-on with African wildlife is reflected in John's wild- life bronze sculptures, always in motion. John has written published articles on aviation, expeditions and conservation and, since February 2002, has been writing articles for the monthly aviation magazine SA Flyer. John Bassi's contribution to our natural heritage has been immeasurable, a legacy made all the more admirable considering how few possess the passion, expertise and empathy required to be an exceptional wildlife helicopter pilot.

 

Open Skies for Africa (eBook) - Charles E. Schlumberger

In Africa, where poor roads, ports, and railways often constrain efficient transportation, air transport holds great potential as a lever for economic growth and development. Yet Africa has suffered several decades of inefficient air services. Uncompetitive flag carriers, set up by newly independent African states, offered primarily intercontinental flights, while the domestic air service market remained underdeveloped and underserved. The 1999 pan-African treaty on liberalization of access to air transport markets, the Yamoussoukro Decision, attempted to address these shortcomings. Yet a decade later, only partial liberalization has been achieved. 'Open Skies for Africa: Implementing the Yamoussoukro Decision' reviews progress made in carrying out the treaty and suggests ways in which the liberalization process can be encouraged. The book analyzes the completed and still-pending steps toward implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision, both on a pan-African level and within various regions. Special focus is given to the challenges posed by the poor aviation safety and security standards that exist in most African countries. Finally, the book measures the impact that certain policy steps of the Yamoussoukro Decision have had and evaluates the economic significance of air transportation and its full liberalization in Africa. The book concludes that the process of liberalizing African air services must continue, and provides policy recommendations for the way forward.

 

African Sky (eBook) – Tony Park

Rhodesia, 1943. The body of parachute instructor and local celebrity, Felicity Langham, has been found brutally raped and murdered. The police have arrested the most obvious suspect, a black man named Innocent. But it turns out, he is. WPC Pip Lovejoy is convinced that there's more to this case than meets the eye, and is determined to obtain justice for the murdered woman.

Paul Bryant, the Squadron Leader responsible for training RAF pilots, needs to find out why three aircraft have crashed in as many weeks. One of the pilots has been discovered killed by poisoned arrows, but there is no sign of his plane.

When Pip and Bryant's investigations collide, a much more serious crime becomes apparent. The man behind it, Reitz, believes that if Hitler can cull the Jews, he can cull the blacks. Reitz and his team have discovered a poison so deadly that a single drop of it can kill a man in less than a minute. Their plan is to detonate this poison bomb during an RAF passing out parade, killing a thousand pilots. This in turn would likely lead to civil war in South Africa. Reitz's aim is to create an independent Afrikaner-controlled South Africa, and he doesn't care what lengths he has to go to achieve it.

 

Self-Flying Southern Africa – Nancy Myers Smith

 

Catch a Bird's-Eye View of Africa from the Cockpit of a Cessna The ponds shimmered in the afternoon sun, dotting the outback of Botswana's Chobe National Park, remnants of the rainy season already past. Andrea, my co-pilot and partner, shouted over the sweetly consistent drone of our Cessna's four-cylinder engine. Look, elephants... Watching herds of elephants frolic from a low-flying Cessna is a dream adventure, combining the technical challenge of aviation with the romance of entering a literal no-man's-land. In Self-Flying Southern Africa: Women Pilots on Safari, author Nancy Myers Smith combines the travel adventure of women piloting a single-engine plane over the wilds of Africa with inspiration for travelers and fellow pilots alike, detailing a journey of challenge and inner strength. Ms. Smith takes a journey of the spirit from its conception through moments when giving up seemed the only option. Self-Flying Southern Africa is as much about making dreams come true as it is about flying a plane or going on safari. In this delightful and inspiring work, Ms. Smith demonstrates that growing older doesn't have to mean growing up.

 

Malloch's Spitfire – Nick Meikle

 This is the story of the pursuit of a dream. Spitfire PK350 is the only late-mark Spitfire, an F Mk 22, to have ever been restored to full flying status. She had no restrictions on her airframe and with four fully serviceable 20mm cannons, she was as good as the day she came off the production line in July 1945 near Birmingham, England.She first flew as a restored aircraft on 29 March 1980 at the hands of one John McVicar Jack Malloch. By then a legend in his adopted country, Rhodesia, Malloch had in 1977 been entrusted by the hierarchy of the Rhodesian Air Force to restore SR64, as she was then known. In two and half years, Jack Malloch and his trusted engineers, with critical help from the Rhodesian and South African air forces, completely restored SR64 to flying condition. The fact that she was fitted with a propeller made by a German company added a sweet irony to a project that had to contend with sanctions imposed by Britain, the original country of manufacture, and highlighted the enterprising spirit of the team. This was possible because Malloch, with the backing of the Rhodesian government, had built up a successful charter airfreight company that assumed different guises, depending on where it was operating, to bypass sanctions. Malloch's network thus facilitated his quest to restore and once again fly a Spitfire such as he had flown in the RAF during the Second World War.Some fascinating insights are revealed in this account. From the test pilot who first flew her as PK350 on 25 July 1945, the reader is taken on a journey through the aircraft's complete life, with the project's lead engineer and most of the surviving pilots who flew her gracing the story with their memories. For two years PK350 delighted those fortunate enough to see her fly, mostly around Salisbury (Harare) airport. Then, on what was planned to be its last flight, Malloch's Spitfire never returned to base.

 

Fields of air, triumphs, tragedies and mysteries of civil aviation in Southern Africa - James Byrom

Man is both awed and terrified by the concept of flying. In this book James Byrom chronicles the disasters and mysteries surrounding many aviation calamities. As well as the numerous triumphs and heady days of early South African flight. The most sensational account is his investigation of the SAA Helderberg crash, just off the Mauritian coast, which is again a topic of great news value at the moment.

Open Cockpit Over Africa

This intimate account of what it was like to fly open-cockpit, single engined aircraft over the length and breadth of primitive Africa in the early 1930’s has been written by one of the pioneers of the African air-routes, Victor Smith.

 

Tumult in the clouds - Dean Wingrin

 

By his own admission Dean Wingrin is a military aviation junkie and his love of the subject has manifested itself in a 340 page book filled with personal memories and reminiscences of the SA Air Force (SAAF).

 

“Tumult in the clouds: Stories from the SAAF” is the result of personal interviews and contacts with each and every one of the serving and retired SAAF personnel whose stories go from the formative days of the air force through to its involvement in the World War Two, the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War, the airborne arm of the then SA Defence Force’s involvement in what was Rhodesia, the Bush War, the SAAF in democratic South Africa and display flying.

All told there are 158 contributions ranging from Vincent van Ryneveld, great-grandson of SAAF founder Sir Pierre, to names that have become legendary as a result of exploits in various theatres and will resonate with those either still serving or retired.

The compiler’s decision to publish his interviews in the first person “as unvarnished, unabbreviated and intensely immediate and personal recollections” does, for this reviewer, not always work. But this does not detract in any way from what individuals did while serving in the SAAF.

There are tales or bravery and heroism, many rewarded by the Honoris Crux, and there are also interesting recollections of different bases, different places and the humorous side of life, be it in theatre during conflict or on base in peacetime.

It will become part of South Africa’s military aviation history because in the words of retired SAAF Chief Lieutenant General Dennis Earp “people should write down their personal memories of their time in the SAAF. Sadly, one day they will not be around to tell them”.

This in a way was one of the drivers that saw Wingrin get a move on with the project.

“The death of Porky Rich, just days after I interviewed him forcibly brought home to me that many of those who had stories to tell wouldn’t be around forever.”

For those who have a passion for military aviation and its exponents “Tumult” is a must. Not only to read and bring back memories but also as a reference work on the exploits of the many who have, over the years, proudly worn the blue uniform.

 

Open cockpit over Africa - Victor Smith 

Smith is in fact the last of that intrepid breed of pilots who risked their lives, and their machines, in a determined bid to open up the “Darkest Continent” – and to reduce traveling times between Africa and Europe. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lockheed Blackbird: Beyond the Secret Missions - Paul Crickmore

 In this book, expert author Paul Crickmore leads the reader deeper than ever before into the 'Black World' of the A-12 and SR-71 top-secret reconnaissance mission. For the first time, detailed first-hand accounts from CIA and USAF pilots bring to life the experience of flying highly classified missions in the Blackbird, whilst Allied and former Warsaw Pact fighter pilots describe their efforts to intercept the spy-plane. Travelling more than a mile every 2 seconds and flying fifteen miles above the earth's surface, the SR-71's performance capacities were truly awesome. This book draws on hundreds of newly declassified Top Secret documents and the experiences of the author's key military contacts to provide the most detailed information available on the SR-71.

 

The Millionaires’ Squadron – Tom Moulson

  The Remarkable Story of 601 Squadron and the Flying Sword Tom Moulson ... He employed a faithful ex-member of his RFC squadron at the substantial sum of £2 a day to be on call, day and night, to drive him wherever he wanted in an upright Morris taxi. ... No pilot saw the back of his head for longer than a few seconds as his eye constantly roved over the other aircraft, and anybody deemed guilty of poor station keeping would be certain of an uncomfortable review on landing.

 

 

 

 

From Fledgling to Eagle - Brigadier-General Dick Lord

 

"From Fledgling to Eagle" chronicles the evolution of the SAAF in the ‘Border War’ that raged in Angola and South West Africa (Namibia) from 1966 to 1989, covering all the major South African Defence Force (SADF) operations from Ongulumbashe to the ‘April Fool’s Day war’ in 1989. Dick Lord, who writes in a ‘from the cockpit’ style, has drawn on his own first-hand operational reports and diaries, incorporating anecdotes from dozens of aviators from a wide variety of squadrons—Buccaneers, Canberras, Mirages, Impapas, Bosboks, C-160s and130s and helicopters. He also expands on the close relationship the SAAF had with the ground troops in a variety of operations— such units as the Parabats, Recces and Koevoet.

However, Lord studies the broader ramifications of the conflict in that it was not a simple black–white war. Angola was really just a sideshow for the Soviets who wanted to bleed the SAAF in a war of attrition before attempting total domination of South Africa—their ultimate goal. Although he gives credit to the enemy when they put up a stiff fight, he clearly outlines the overwhelming South African successes and dispels, in accurate detail, all enemy claims by giving an accurate account of each battle.

 

 

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