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VULCAN TEST PILOT: My Experiences in the Cockpit of a Cold War Icon [Hardcover]

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Item description for VULCAN TEST PILOT: My Experiences in the Cockpit of a Cold War Icon by Tony Blackman...

In June 2007 a very special event will happen in the aviation world. A restored Avro Vulcan Mark 2 - XH558 - will take to the air again to help commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Falklands conflict.

To coincide with this the memoirs of one of its test pilots, Tony Blackman, will be published - the first ever book about test flying this monumental delta-wing aircraft which dominated the history of the late 20th century. Tony is the ideal man to write such a tale as he flew no less than 105 of the 136 built, logging 850 flights at over 1,327 hours. His book will describe in layman's terms what it was like to tame the first prototypes and to master the unusual characteristics necessitated by the Vulcan's shape. Although Tony puts the developments, demonstrations, incidents and accidents in their political and historical context, his story is a highly personal one. He explains how this awesome aircraft became a national treasure and captured the imagination of the whole country.

His words, descriptions and hitherto largely unpublished photographs will make people feel as he did the excitement of handling such an incredibly powerful monster always in the knowledge that he had to be in complete charge all the time as the monster could and did bite back.


"This is the word from the man with 105 of the 136 Vulcans built gracing his logbook... a fabulous combination of facts, data, technical details coupled with engaging prose. A great insight in Vulcan's enduring allure."October 2007, Flypast magazine

"a fascinating, gracefully written, and superbly knowledgeable flight test manual describing in detail what it took to turn a futuristic late 1940's bomber design into a squadron ready nuclear weapon." April/ May 2008, Air and Space Magazine

"...The first book that concerns the test flying of this wonderful British icon. Blackman is well suited to tell the story. As Avro's chief test pilot, he flew 105 of the total 136 actually built. ...a great story about a wonderful airplane."August 2008, Flight Journal

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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.13" Width: 6.3" Height: 1.02"
Weight:   1.15 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Publisher   Grub Street Publishing
ISBN  1904943888  
ISBN13  9781904943884  

Availability  0 units.

More About Tony Blackman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Tony Blackman is an ex-RAF aircrew officer and Vulcan test pilot.Dr Alfred Price served as an aircrew officer in the RAF until 1974. Since then he has been a full-time aviation historian and writer, and is acknowledged as a leading authority on the Spitfire. He is co-author of the Haynes Spitfire Manual.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > History > Europe
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Military > General
4Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Biographies
5Books > Subjects > History > Europe > England > General
6Books > Subjects > History > Military > Aviation
7Books > Subjects > History > Military > General

Reviews - What do customers think about VULCAN TEST PILOT: My Experiences in the Cockpit of a Cold War Icon?

A Superb Volume for the Vulcan Fan  Dec 18, 2007
The A. V. Roe & Company, Ltd. (AVRO) "Vulcan" was one of three famous "V-bombers" that filled the nuclear deterrent role for England's Royal Air Force (RAF) from the 1950s through the 1980s. The government of England decided in the late 1940s that it needed a fleet of long-range, nuclear-capable jet bombers in order to have credibility during the Cold War. AVRO's delta-winged "Vulcan" seemed to offer the most promise, but at the time no one in the country had much design or operational experience with such a wing. So the Ministry of Defence ordered three different bombers to fill the need. Two of them--the Vickers "Valiant" and the Handley Page "Victor"--were primarily "insurance" against the failure of AVRO's more-advanced design. But the "Vulcan" was a resounding success, despite some initial teething troubles, and it became one of the most distinctive, recognizable and highly regarded aircraft ever built.

Tony Blackman's "Vulcan Test Pilot--My Experiences in the Cockpit of a Cold War Icon" is sure to appeal to anyone interested in learning new details about the design, development and operational use of one of England's most famous aircraft. As AVRO's Chief Test Pilot for much of the Vulcan's service testing and deployment, Mr. Blackman flew 105 of the 136 aircraft built, and he personally flight-tested most of the modifications that transformed the original Mk 1 into the far-more-capable Mk 2. Opening with an excellent thumbnail history of England's V-bomber force, "Vulcan Test Pilot" goes on to describe the sub-scale prototypes that AVRO built to investigate the handling characteristics of the delta wing. Then, in long chapters entitled "Developing the Vulcan Mk 1" and "Developing the Vulcan Mk 2," Mr. Blackman covers these subjects in great depth and with enough fascinating details to satisfy any armchair aeronautical engineer. Another chapter, "Incidents and Accidents," catalogues and describes the misfortunes that befell Vulcans. With many useful and interesting photographs, many never before published (although some of them, unfortunately, are quite small), and several relevant appendices, "Vulcan Test Pilot" is filled with information and anecdotes that you are not likely to find elsewhere.

2007 was a banner year for Vulcan enthusiasts with the successful return to flight of Vulcan Mk 2 XH558 after an eight-year restoration effort. The final chapter of "Vulcan Test Pilot" covers, albeit briefly, the story of that aircraft and the tremendous outpouring of support from around the world that helped to get it flying again. Mr. Blackman admits to a "personal interest" in this project, since he was the first person to fly XH558 when AVRO delivered it to the RAF in June 1960. Today the skies over England once again rumble with the thunder of the four Bristol Siddeley turbojets that power the distinctive delta-winged shape of the only flying Vulcan in the world. "Vulcan Test Pilot" will make you feel like you're in the cockpit. I recommend it most highly.

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