Fast Jets to Spitfires: A Cold War Fighter Pilot's Story - Ron Lloyd

Fast Jets to Spitfires: A Cold War Fighter Pilot's Story - Ron Lloyd

It's strange what pot-luck can turn up. Oddly enough I might just have selected this book for myself. However, I digress.

The author has flown many jets that I have worked on, so starting the book I was hoping to be able to reminisce a little of my life as an apprentice with Hawker Siddeley Aviation.

In the early chapters, I learned quite a lot about flying and basic aircraft manoeuvres. I also learned that the author and myself had pretty similar schooling which he enjoyed and I despised. Maybe that’s why he went on to be a pilot and I ended up as ground crew/support?

It was whilst reading these early chapters that I became aware of a feeling of growing dislike toward the author. He writes well and I have no issue with that, but he comes across as a condescending, supercilious, XXXX. I began to feel that he was talking down to me and I really felt resentful about it. That I took on this feeling and attitude is a real shame as it started to colour my opinion of the book. I found myself looking for reasons to avoid reading it rather than getting stuck in.

Another gripe at the early stages, and it might be related to my above observation, was the inclusion of BAe (and other) stock photographs that added nothing to the text. How many pictures of a particular aircraft do we need? Had they been pictures with the author in them or of the actual aircraft that he had flown, it would have been different. And I’m quite sure if google had been used, a far better picture of the 6 basic flying instruments could have been found. The picture provided of a beat-up Percival Provost instrument panel served no purpose at all.

It really is a shame that I took such an intense dislike to the writer’s style as there’s an awful lot of interesting stuff in this book. It’s the author’s life story and I guess he’s entitled to tell it his way, even if I don’t like it.

Despite sharing an intimate knowledge of the many aircraft types he features, the most interesting chapter by far was about the making of the Battle of Britain film. Everything in this chapter was completely new and alien to me and I enjoyed it immensely. What was also noticeable about this chapter was that the author had changed his writing voice to a much more moderated and restrained tone: oh, and there were some cracking pictures as well.

Despite me not getting on with the author’s style I’m going to run to 4 anchors on this book as it does contain a lot of very good information and it would be churlish of me to not respect the man’s many achievements.
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