HARRIER, the Biography’ by Jonathan Glancey

    On no account buy this book (Atlantic Books, London, 8.99). This is not a serious work but a hastily written, ill informed piece of journalism. I noticed 57 paragraphs containing at least one error of historical fact, misconception or technical nonsense, and that just in the areas in which I have some expertise; what’s wrong with the rest of the book I can only surmise. Some typical howlers: Sopwith bought the ice skating rink at Kingston; the P.1127 shoulder wing protects the fuselage from the hot exhaust; air from the reaction controls blows over the ailerons; XP836 was lost due to an intake problem; the VJ-101 was the first VTOL aircraft to break the sound barrier (it was P.1127 XP836); the Kestrels were sold to the US at knockdown prices; the YAK-38 was based in part on the P.1154; sideslip vanes were devised as a result of Rosburg’s crash; the GR5s were built in St Louis and shipped across the Atlantic; the night attack Harriers had radar; John Fozard designed the Hawk……..
    The pity is that because the author is well know this nonsense will be perpetuated by other writers whose idea of research is to plagiarise!

Book Reviews


THE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE HAWKER HUNTER, the Creation of Britain’s Iconic Jet Fighter’ by Tony Buttler    This handsome book (The History Press, 20) is everything that Glancey’s book is not, and certainly should be a standard reference on every Hunter admirer’s bookshelf. The title describes the book precisely as only a paragraph or two are devoted to the Hunter’s service career. Design, flight testing and development, service trials and experimental testing are covered in admirable detail and all are copiously illustrated with photographs and manufacturer’s drawings, many not published before. The author has not regurgitated information from existing books but has thoroughly researched primary sources including those at the National Archives, the Brooklands Museum, and the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust, and delved into the ‘Flight’ magazine archives. The result is a quality book packed with information all beautifully presented by the publishers. The author is to be congratulated.


    Nick Stroud’s quarterly goes from strength to strength -  with lots of Hawker interest. Issue No 8, for example, with the first production Hunter on the cover, has articles on David Lockspeiser, the Indian Air Force Hunters, a Danish Hunter landing safely without its pilot and the Sopwith Tabloid that won the 1914 Schneider Trophy. Beautifully printed and designed in a refreshingly straightforward style it is always a pleasure to handle and read. Issue No 9 is now out with a detailed article on the German P.1127 contemporary, the V/STOL EWR Sud VJ101.