In this new book of fascinating stories, the author begins with the Munich Air Crash of 1958 in which eight of the Manchester United European Cup team were among those who lost their lives. He looks at the long investigation that ensued and how the German and UK aviation authorities disagreed in their findings as to the exact cause of the crash.
The extraordinary disappearance of many aircraft in the Bermuda Triangle
area including a flight of five U.S. Avenger Torpedo Bombers (Flight 19) in December 1945
is examined in great detail and the author explains why some of them may have disappeared.
There are stories of great bravery too, among them that of Douglas Bader, the RAF airman who lost both legs in a flying accident in 1931 but went on to have a distinguished career as a wartime pilot. We read of Germany's Hannah Reitsch, the distinguished glider pilot and World War II test pilot who landed her plane amid a hail of fire in the centre of Berlin on her way to Hitler's bunker towards the end of World War II in Europe and of Brigadier General Chuck Yeager, who joined the United States Army Air Corps as a private and became the first man in the world to break the sound barrier in October 1947.
There are the record-breaking stories too - the first successful non-stop west to east flight across the Atlantic by Alcock and Brown who landed at Clifden, Co. Galway on Sunday 15th June 1919 and the first solo trans-Atlantic flight from west to east by Charles Lindbergh in his plane Spirit of St. Louis in May 1927. It was a flight that made him one of the best known aviators in the world, leading, not alone to fame and fortune, but to tragedy also, following the kidnapping and murder of his son Charles Junior in March 1932.
Included too is the story of Igor Sikorsky, the Russian born aircraft designer who fled his homeland during the revolution and went to the United States. He later became known world wide for designing the helicopter. We read also of the vision and brilliant organisation of Australian Presbyterian Missionary Rev. John Flynn who founded the Australian Flying Doctor Service in March 1928 and which has become the largest air medical service in the world.
There is the story of Amy Johnson, the fearless aviator from Hull who became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia and we learn of her unhappy marriage to playboy of the air Jim Mollison and of her tragic end when her plane crashed into the Thames in January 1941. Also featured is Jean Batten, the New Zealand aviator who became the first woman to fly solo across the South Atlantic in November 1935; Australian, Nancy Bird, the aviation pioneer and bush pilot, who, at the age of eighty two still occasionally takes to the air and we read of that great Australian airman, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, whose record-breaking feats were legion before he was lost in November 1935.
The 184 page book of 13 stories with 28 photographs. It is the author's twelfth book and is due in the shops in October '97, Price £5.95. Orders and enquires to Fermoy Bookshop.