Ninety three pilots have been profiled in an unusual and effective book. Extensively researched and illustrated, this is a very efficient review of pilots who survived against all the odds during the Great War, only to be killed during the peace that followed – Highly Recommended.
NAME: Fallen Eagles, Airmen Who Survived the Great War Only to Die in Peacetime FILE: R2485 AUTHOR: Norman Franks PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 244 PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWI, World War One, World War 1, First World War, The Great War, aviation, peacetime fatalities, RAF, RNAS, RFC, pilots, aircrew, record breakers, races, civil aviation, pioneers, Middle East, minor wars
IMAGE: B2485.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/mwadj5q LINKS: DESCRIPTION: Ninety three pilots have been profiled in an unusual and effective book. Extensively researched and illustrated, this is a very efficient review of pilots who survived against all the odds during the Great War, only to be killed during the peace that followed – Highly Recommended. Death at any time, and under any circumstances, is always unwelcome, leaving family and friends to grieve, but particularly poignant are those warriors who fall in the last minutes of a conflict, or survive, only to die in peacetime. This is particularly true of aviators who survived the Great War, only to meet their end in one of a variety of ways after the end of that great conflict. In 1914, aviation was a very young activity. In the decade from the flight of the Wright Brothers, the technical progress had been amazing. There was a host of designers and builders who produced the most diverse designs during this decade. A major challenge was always in finding an acceptable engine for each new design, but there were still huge gaps in knowledge of aeronautics. The deadly spin was not yet understood. Flying controls were still being experimented with, and even basic configurations were hotly debated. Designers were often individuals who then had to construct their designs and learn to fly them. There were no manuals, these would be written by the survivors and there were few of these. Flying was a deadly activity that offered great risk but little prospect of success. The Germans made great advances in developing lighter than air vehicles, with the great Zeppelins offering the best prospects of success in military aviation because they could lift bombs and guns which were far beyond the capacity of the first frail aeroplanes, and then carry them considerable distances at a time when a long range aeroplane was amazing if it managed to travel one hundred miles. The Royal Navy was the only military organization to consider how flight might enable it to do its job better. Armies only saw aircraft as an alternative to cavalry scouts, locating an enemy and identifying his intentions. The Royal Navy initially considered flight as a method of seeing further to direct the big guns of battleships and experimented between 1903 and 1908 with man-carrying kites towed by vessels from open pulling boats through to battleships, and in a range of sea and weather conditions. Before the completion of these trials, the RN was already looking at powered aircraft and selected officers to undergo training at the first military flying training school. Those first naval aviators were then given the task of identifying all of the missions that aircraft could be developed to perform in support of the Fleet as it carried out its orders. At that time the RN did not have control of its naval aviation assets, but had a Fleet Air Arm alongside the army aviators under War Office control, but it then undertook a period of lobbying and was allowed to form the Royal Naval Air Service just weeks before the outbreak of the Great War. It celebrated by successfully dropping a torpedo from a seaplane and was building a stock of weapons to be carried by its aircraft. Even with the efforts of the Germans and the Royal Navy, aviation was clearly in its very early experimental stages. The Great War demanded a massive expansion of aviation and that inevitably meant that aviators were young, fresh from school in many cases, and with very few hours flight experience before they were placed in harms way. It was therefore unsurprising that the mortality rate was horrific. Pilots had a life expectancy of days on the Western Front. Many fell, not to the enemy, but from the failure of their aircraft or their lack of understanding of critical aspects of flying. The pilots reviewed in this book had first survived terrible combat conditions and the risks of being pioneers of a new environment. They had matured and were amongst the most knowledgeable and experienced flyers. In theory, peacetime should reduce their risks but, for many, this was not to be the case. Many survivors took risky jobs to be able to continue flying. This included test pilots, those providing entertainment in Flying Circus displays, participating in air races, and undertaking record attempts, particularly in long distance record attempts. Then there was a multitude of minor conflicts around the world that attracted experienced military flyers. Here, not only was there an enemy firing back, but also the dangers of continuing to fly Great War aircraft in some of the most inhospitable conditions with a lack of spares. The author has selected ninety three pilots who provide a very well selected cross section of flying tasks in the peacetime period that followed the Great War. The illustration includes some very rare images in support of the text, to provide a very rewarding read.