A considerable volume of information has been packed into this manual, providing a pilot’s view, a flight engineer’s view and a ground engineer’s view. It is difficult to think of anything that has been missed or any question that even a skilled enthusiast might wish to ask. This is must the definitive work on a unique and iconic aeroplane.
NAME: Aerospaciale/BAC Concorde, 1969 onwards (all models)Owners’ Workshop Manual
CLASSIFICATION: Book reviews
AUTHOR: David Leney, David Macdonald
BINDING: Hard back
PRICE: GB £19.99
SUBJECT: SST, Super Sonic Transport, airliners, technology, 1969 onwards, BA, Air France, Olympus, Rolls Royce, supersonic passenger jet
DESCRIPTION: This is an eagerly awaited addition to a very popular range of titles. When the publisher first disclosed an intention to publish an owners’ workshop manual for the Spitfire, it was not well received by some reviewers. It seemed an unlikely approach given the successful Haynes workshop manuals for vehicles. The traditional Haynes approach to vehicles has been to take apart a vehicle and photograph components and procedures, building a detailed manual that would allow a reasonably competent home mechanic to maintain and repair the subject vehicle. As most of the vehicles covered by Haynes manuals have been built in very large numbers and are still in volume use at the time of launching a new manual, it appears to be a very different publishing market to that for which the intended Spitfire manual might be targeted. The handful of surviving Spitfires are owned by museums or relatively wealthy individuals and have to be maintained to Civil/Federal Aviation Authority requirements for safe operation. It just goes to show how little some reviewers know about books and readers. The Spitfire Owners’ Workshop Manual was a great success. Spitfire owners bought copies which says much of the quality of research and production that went into that first manual. However, the main readership was a wide range of readers, including aviation historians, enthusiasts, pilots and aviation engineers, most of whom will never own or maintain a Spitfire, but have a great interest in learning more about an iconic aircraft. From that first aircraft manual, Haynes have developed a growing catalogue of similar manuals covering famous aircraft. In this latest addition, the extraordinary world-beating Concorde has received the treatment of the Haynes team. There is the traditional lavish colour illustration throughout the book, together with black and white technical drawings. This reviewer enjoyed a number of flights on Concorde and was present in the control tower when Concorde 101 was landed for the last time at the Imperial War Museum Duxford. That was an interesting landing, the flight having been delayed awaiting engines, during which time the main runway at Duxford was reduced by 1000 feet for the construction of the M11 motorway. BAC’s Chief Concorde Test Pilot made the last flight and concluded with a text book landing, comfortably within the reduced runway length. The small number of Concorde aircraft built for Air France and British Airways, and the small number of regular routes limited the number of people able to experience Concorde directly. The cost of returning an airframe to full flying condition and maintaining it makes it unlikely that Concorde will now return to the sky, but then experts made much the same comments about the Avro Vulcan jet bomber, so we may yet be surprised. The manual records the locations of surviving Concordes and begins by providing a gensis to the development program and the challenges faced by British and French engineers. Russia managed to produce a short lived SST that some claimed employed information stolen by spies from the Concorde development programme and the US aviation industry got as far as a wooden mock up of an SST, but Concorde was the only aircraft of its type ever to provide scheduled services and charter flights over a prolonged period and with remarkably few problems including one disaster at Paris. A considerable volume of information has been packed into this manual, providing a pilot’s view, a flight engineer’s view and a ground engineer’s view. It is difficult to think of anything that has been missed or any question that even a skilled enthusiast might wish to ask. This is must the definitive work on a unique and iconic aeroplane. Provided that the book shops do a reasonable job of displaying the manual, it is likely to sell in very large numbers and the main audience may include readers who do not normally buy aviation books but are keen to learn more about one of the engineering wonders of all time.