FARNBOROUGH AND THE FLEET AIR ARMGEOFFREY COOPER Book Number: 81240 Product format: Hardback
The "Flying Navy" at its inception was completely devoid of any mechanical assistance for take-off and landing arrestment. On 2 May 1912, Lt C.R. Samson took off in a Short S.27 from a timber stage, bridging the front turret and fo'c'sle of HMS Hibernia while she was under way. It landed ashore, but technically the age of the aircraft carrier had begun. In between the wars the Fleet Air Arm began to make advances in power-assisted launching and pretty soon the Royal Aircraft/Aerospace Establishment at Farnborough began to take an interest in the possibilities of catapulting increasingly heavy aircraft from battleships and arrestor-assisted landings. Of the first British five aircraft carriers, the first four were modified WWI ships. It was not until the launch of HMS Ark Royal in 1938 that the Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm had its first purpose-built carrier, which was torpedoed by U-81 near Malta on 13 November 1941 and sank off Gibraltar the following day. Geoffrey Cooper was a "boffin" at RAE Farnborough and here describes his own RAE work and that of those that came after him until the Naval Aircraft Department was disbanded in 1981. The design, construction and testing of the machinery necessary to operate aircraft from carriers is unique in engineering terms. The cost of failure could be catastrophic and the fact that these operations had to be successfully carried out in heavy seas, gales and under enemy fire makes their development fascinating from both an engineering and military perspective. Cooper's offers an overview of the art and practice of the Flying Navy and includes details of experimental work in the mechanically assisted launching of heavy bombers and arrestor gear for use in event of overshoot of airfields, particularly in regard to Concorde. Surely here is the final word on this specialist branch of military engineering. 296pp, 8½"×11¼" with over 300 b/w photos plus tech drawings.
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