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Hawker Hunter

...a Classic British Jet Fighter, from Fonthill Media

Title: Hawker Hunter
Author: Philip Birtles
Publisher: Fonthill Media
ISBN: 978-1-78155-893-5

Subtitled 'A Classic British Jet Fighter', a new book from author Philip Birtles and publisher Fonthill Media. A 320-page hard-cover book.
One of the most successful British aircraft designs since WW2, one which saw long service in the RAF, Royal Navy and which also enjoyed great success in the export market. The book holds 9 chapters after the Introduction, and closes with4 appendices. It starts with the background to Hawker's post-war jet designs, such as the Sea Hawk and then their work on the P.1052 prototype which introduced swept wings, leading to the design of the then new Hunter, with swept wings and tail, and use of the new Rolls Royce Avon turbojet engine. Test pilot Neville Duke first flew the prototype in 1951 and displayed at Farnborough later that same year. Neville features again in the next chapter, on the design & development story, including his record breaking flight in the modified Hunter Mk 3, WB188. Then entry into RAF service before the operational use of the Mk 6, 'The Ultimate Hunter Fighter'. Then detail of the two-seat Hunters, the development and operation of the FGA,9, the tactical Fighter Ground Attack close support variant. The next two chapters cover both the single seat Hunters in service with the Royal Navy along with detail of the great Export success of the Hunter with countries around the world. That leaves the last chapter to nicely round off the story, the Jet Set, and set out what happened to so many Hunter airframes as they were retired from military service and became popular not only as museum exhibits and gate guards, but as popular with private warbird owners around the world. They were regulars at air shows until the crash of Hunter T.7 WV372 at the Shoreham Air Show brought safety considerations of private warbird jets into the spotlight. The book is rounded off with 4 appendices with even more useful details.
Amazing to think that it is now over 70 years since test pilot Neville Duke flew the Hawker Hunter for the first time at the Farnborough Air Show. This book is packed not only with a very readable account of the story of this great Hawker design, but backed up with hundreds of archive photos that illustrate the story throughout the book. The author was enthused by seeing those early Hunters, and spent his working career in the aviation industry. I felt that both his knowledge and enthusiasm for aircraft, and obviously the Hunter in particular, shine through in this new book. If you are a Hunter fan, then I think this should be on your bookshelf.
Thanks to Fonthill Media for the review copy.


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