by Harry M. Archer
A personal reflection on 30 years’ service with the RAF ~ 1950-80
This entertaining book recalls the author’s thirty years as a pilot after joining the Royal Air Force in 1950 ~ a career that saw him progress in rank from acting Pilot Officer to Group Captain while serving, at various times, as a flying instructor, bomber pilot and test pilot.
His recollections include his years at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down (1958-60), a sojurn as an exchange test pilot with the United States Air Force at Edwards AFB (1960-63), his appointment as Squadron Commander (100 Squadron, RAF Wittering 1966-68) and Station Commander (RAF St Mawgan, 1974-76), after which he served in a variety of staff appointments at HQ Strike Command and the Ministry of Defence.
In the course of an unusually varied flying career he flew some 7,000 hours in 175 different types of aircraft ~ from small gliders to the huge eight-engined B-52, from helicopters to supersonic jets such as the Lightning and F-4 Phantom and bombers such as the Victor and Vulcan ~ all of which are described in detail.
Readers with an interest in the history of aviation and the RAF in the second half of the 20th Century will find plenty of entertainment in his lucid recollections, which are modestly delivered in an eminently readable narrative, liberally spiced with plenty of humour.
And at over 170,000 words in length, there is a generous amount to be read and enjoyed.