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Spanish Air force Aircraft 1939-2021

...from Key Publishing via Pen & Sword

Title: Spanish Air force Aircraft 1939-2021
Author: Eduardo Manual Gil Martinez & Juan Arraez Cerda
Publisher: Key Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-80282-034-8

Another in the series of small format books from Key Publishing, packed with some great photos plus supporting captions and text, this time exploring the aircraft of the Spanish Air Force, from the end of the Spanish Civil War all the way through to 2021. A 96-page soft-cover book with over 200 photos included.
It opens with a single page Foreward, which sets out some basic details about what you will find in the book. Then there are 5 chapters which divide the story into time periods, from the Civil War to 1953; From 1953 to 1965; From 1965 to 1985; From 1985 to 2001; and finally, 2001 through to 2021, plus 5 Appendices with more supporting information to round things off. Each chapter has some background text to start things off, and is then highly illustrated with a selection of appropriate photos which in turn have even more details set out in the captions. There are all sorts of aircraft types, such as trainers, VIP aircraft, SAR helicopters, transports of various sizes and of course fighters and bombers. At the start there are of course those machines left from the Spanish Civil War, including Heinkel III and Me 109s, though fitted with Merlin engines instead and changing their profiles. It is surprising just how long they remained in service. The one that still surprised me was the SAR Dornier Do.24T-3 Flying Boat, still in use in 1966! The wide variety of aircraft types illustrated in service over the years is impressive, from the F-86 Sabre through the F-4 Phantom, Mirage F-1 and the F-18s that are still in service today. More useful tables in the Appendices including some notes on markings, detail which modellers will like.
I enjoyed reading this one, as I for one admit that while I was familiar with some of these aircraft in Spanish service, many others I was not, and certainly not just how long some of the older types soldiered on for. It did also remind me of one of my trips to the RIAT airshow, sitting in a 'Follow-Me' car as we led a MiG-29 to the runway for his display. We stopped with an F-16 in front of us, the MiG behind, and a Spanish Air Force F-18 immediately to our right. We were very close with these aircraft which all had their engines running so noisy is something of an understatement. Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy this and, speaking as a modeller of many years, this might well encourage some to try the Spanish Air Force as a good contender for some themed builds.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for the review copy, as they are distributors for these Key Publishing titles.

Robin

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