Even in the space-age, no test pilot can entirely avoid the gilding of glamour with which Hollywood long ago adorned his role. If he also has a distinguished war record as that other traditional glamour figure, the fighter pilot, then many may be too dazzled by the image to see the real man behind the glister. Such a man is 'Bee' Beamont and this book is part of his flying autobiography, but those who want glamour should look elsewhere. As terse and laconic as a flight report - it is the personal record of a man who throughout his long flying career epitomised self-effacing professionalism. His experience spans 40 years during which he flew over 170 different types of aircraft. Beginning in the 1930s in 'beautiful silver-doped fabric and wire biplanes' he went on to fly wartime Hurricanes, Typhoons and Tempests both as a test pilot and on operations. After the war he was involved in the flight development of the Canberra, P1, Lightning, TSR2 and finally the Tornado.
'Bee' belongs to that exclusive international brotherhood of skilled and dedicated men whose largely unsung efforts have brought avi-ation from its bumbling infancy in the 1930s to the smooth maturity of the supersonic jet age of today. Not that he or any like him looked for fame. His own philosophy radiales through the book and is best summed up in his own words in a concluding chapter. Although he is writing of the Battle of Britain fighter pilots in 1940, his words are equally apt for test pilots at any time:
'It was a Job which had to be done each and every day until it was over and one for which they were well-trained, prepared and equipped, and it was done without self-congratulation and with pride - but no glory.'
In addition to many fascinating first flight reports until recently classified secret, the author's account is lavishly illustrated by a personal selection of photographs, many rarely seen before.
harcover, large format
160 Seiten / pages
very good condition
London - 1980 - Ian Allan