Interview with The Aviation Historian’s Nick Stroud

Convair XB-58 Hustler

Since we first reviewed The Aviation Historian, way back in the dark days of 2013, the publication has gone from strength to strength. Covering a fascinating selection of obscure and exciting stories from aviation’s past, it’s become a must-have item for discerning readers of aeronautical history. We cornered Editor Nick Stroud, pushed him against a Soho wall and refused to give him his Vespa back until he answered some questions about aeroplanes. We write this is in the hope of receiving another free copy of this handsome journal. 

What is your favourite aircraft, and why? 

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“Always a difficult one this, as the minute you’ve plumped for something, you inevitably think twice and change your mind. Maybe if only for the sheer hubris of the machine and its 1970s soft-porn connotations, the Convair B-58 Hustler has to be up there among my favourites.  Wildly uneconomical, extremely hard to fly well and made obsolete by the introduction of SAMs, it nevertheless looked fantastic and set the tone for the steely projection of American airpower in the 1960s. Having said that, I also unreservedly love the D.H.60 Moth, the direct inverse of the Hustler. Small, economical, easy to fly and designed specifically to promote airmindedness for the masses, its “everyman” qualities represent the benign influence of aviation on humans. Hurrah to that!”

de Havilland DH 60 Moth.jpg

What is the greatest aviation myth?

“Having just completed our 60th anniversary coverage of the UK’s 1957 Defence White Paper, the notorious defence review which has traditionally seen Minister of Defence Duncan Sandys cast as a panto villain sweeping onstage in a black cape to hisses and boos from the audience, I feel well-placed to say that there is a great deal more to the story than is often presented. We ran a series of three in-depth articles in TAH18–21 on varying aspects of the White Paper and its impact on Britain’s aviation industry, with contributions from Prof Keith Hayward on the document’s political ramifications; Greg Baughen’s thought-provoking history of the RAF’s longstanding relationship with “cruise missiles” and Cold War specialist Chris Gibson’s look at the immediate aftermath of the White Paper and the procurement choices available to the RAF as a result. Sandys is routinely pilloried as a missile-obsessed fool who single-handedly destroyed the British aircraft industry; it’s so much more complicated — and fascinating — than that!”

bazarrabusa-sandys

Duncan Sandys (right) 

What should I have asked you?

“I think you should definitely have asked how to find out more about TAH and how to get your hands on it! We’re not available in newsagents or shops — except a few specialist non-traditional outlets (museums etc) — but you can find out all about us, see previews of articles, follow our Twitter and Facebook feeds, download our free PDF index (updated with the publication of each issue) and buy a subscription, back issues or single issues from our website at www.theaviationhistorian.com. Alternatively you can give us a ring on +44 (0) 7572 237737 or write to us at TAH, PO Box 962, Horsham, RH12 9PP, UK. We’re the world’s fastest-growing aviation periodical — try it and find out why!”

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Follow my vapour trail on Twitter: @Hush_kit

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One comment

  1. Chas W.

    From Sonny Holt on the Convair B-58 Hustler Facebook page:

    MYTHS AND FACTS about the B-58: MYTH 11: “The B-58 was never easy to fly.”

    FACT: I’ve found just the opposite to be true. Among all the pilots I’ve known in my three years of flying in the B-58, none thought the B-58 was hard to fly. In fact, they thought it was the smoothest airplane they ever flew. Especially those who have flown fixed wing (B-47s and B-52s) as well as other Delta wing (F-102/F-106s). This includes Colonel Al Dugard, who was a B-58 Combat Crew Training School instructor pilot. He said, “All deltas give a smoother ride than other aircraft. Responsiveness to controls is instantaneous as you don’t wait for a wing to respond to control movement. Stability of flight is because of the delta wing. Formation flight i.e., air refueling was much easier due to the stable platform.”

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