The Avro Shackleton, also known in the RAF as ‘40,000 rivets flying in close formation’ was very much a product of WWII that just took a long time to arrive. The authors have managed to do full justice to both the history of this important aircraft and to the scale model kits that have been produced to immortalise it. Recommended to all enthusiasts of aviation matters and to all model makers.
NAME: Flight Craft, Avro Shackleton
AUTHOR: Martin Derry, Neil Robinson
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Avro, Lancaster, Lincoln, Shackleton, Lockheed Neptune, maritime patrol, Air-born Early Warning, model making, model engineering, plastic model kits, markings, aircraft history
DESCRIPTION: The Avro Shackleton, also known in the RAF as ‘40,000 rivets flying in close formation’ was very much a product of WWII that just took a long time to arrive. The authors have managed to do full justice to both the history of this important aircraft and to the scale model kits that have been produced to immortalise it. Recommended to all enthusiasts of aviation matters and to all model makers.
The Flight Craft series provides an excellent family of books that specifically cover their subjects in relation to model kits. The description of aircraft and their operation is first class, crisp and concise, and the coverage of model kits, past and present, is comprehensive. There is everything a model making would want to find in such a book, and a great deal of information for enthusiasts who may not be modellers.
Photographs of the aircraft, and of the models that commemorate it in its various forms, are very good and there are some fine coloured drawings showing a range of markings.
The Shackleton shows its strong relationship to the famous Lancaster bomber of WWII. The design sequence was to develop the Lincoln bomber from the Lancaster, and then develop the Shackleton from the Lincoln. The first Lancasters used the same Merlin engines that were used for the early marks of Spitfire. The Lincoln used the same Rolls Royce engines used in the middle marks of Spitfire, and the Shackleton used the same Rolls Royce engines that powered the final marks of Spitfire. The Shackleton also partly joined the jet age by having two early model jet engines mounted in the back of two of the piston engine nacelles. The pair of jets were there to provide boost power to augment take-off power and they could be used to add power during attacks on surfaced vessels.
The airframe shared much with the Lancaster and Lincoln and shared a strong family silhouette. The introduction into service of this maritime patrol aircraft was delayed several times as politicians tried to implement a plan of managed decline for Great Britain. The US decided to offer temporary use of their Neptune patrol aircraft because the British ability to protect Atlantic convoys, in event of war with Russia, was seriously impaired.
When the Shackleton finally made it into service it looked obsolete but was surprisingly effective as a long range maritime patrol and attack aircraft. As a result it soldiered on until the Nimrod jet became available. It was used by South Africa and the RAF flew East African patrols during the Rhodesian UDI, to spot vessels attempting to break the trade embargo.
When the Shackleton completed its maritime service, a few continued on as AEW aircraft, due to be replaced by Nimrod AEW aircraft that were cancelled. This meant that the Shackleton had to continue on until eventually Britain decided to buy Boeing AEW jets. As a result, RAF engineers had to search museums for spares to swap for worn out components that were long out of production in an attempt to keep the surviving Shackletons in the air.