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Jet Jockeys:- Flying the RAF's First Jet Fighters

By Peter Caygill

ISBN: 9781840373134
PUBLISHED: February 2002
PAGES: 224
BINDING: Hardback
SIZE: 234x156 mm
INSIDE: 60 b/w photographs

The first RAF pilots to experience turbojet-powered aircraft were confronted with an utterly new concept of propulsion. Often, in the very early wartime years, their introduction to new jet aircraft was amazingly simplistic - but successful.

'Our briefing and cockpit checks were presented superbly by the Wing Commander. When describing the start-up procedure, the engines were described as Bunsen burners, the paraffin as gas, igniters were matches and high-pressure cocks as gas taps.'

This book describes the aeroplanes, their advantages, faults and quirks. It draws heavily upon the memories of those first RAF jet pilots - the jet jockeys. We are taken aboard the first British jets to become operational, such as the Gloster Meteor and de Havilland Vampire and then through the late 1940s into the 1950s including the experiences of pilots who flew the de Havilland Venom, North American Sabre and the controversial Supermarine Swift. The RAF's first delta-wing fighter is described as 'inspiring affection rather than confidence, it was built like a tank and flew like one!' by a No 46 Squadron pilot flying the Gloster Javelin in 1956. A pilot in No 222 Squadron, the second unit to fly the legendary Hawker Hunter, describes the early model as 'one of the most delightful aircraft to fly' - but 'gun firing did have another effect. . .the vibration would cause the withholding bolt on the nose-wheel door to shear so that on selecting undercarriage down on landing the door remained firmly in place. . .slightly embarrassing.'

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