What is your favourite aircraft, and why?
“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!”
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!”
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!”
Urgent request: If you wish to see more articles like this in the future, please donate here. Your donations, how ever big or small, keep this going. Thank you.Follow my vapour trail on Twitter: @Hush_kit
Have a look at How to kill a Raptor, An Idiot’s Guide to Chinese Flankers, the 10 worst British military aircraft, The 10 worst French aircraft, Su-35 versus Typhoon, 10 Best fighters of World War II , top WVR and BVR fighters of today, an interview with a Super Hornet pilot and a Pacifist’s Guide to Warplanes Want something more bizarre? The Top Ten fictional aircraft is a fascinating read, as is The Strange Story and The Planet Satellite. The Fashion Versus Aircraft Camo is also a real cracker. Those interested in the Cold Way should read A pilot’s guide to flying and fighting in the Lightning. Those feeling less belligerent may enjoy A pilot’s farewell to the Airbus A340. Looking for something more humorous? Have a look at this F-35 satire and ‘Werner Herzog’s Guide to pusher bi-planes or the Ten most boring aircraft. In the mood for something more offensive? Try the NSFW 10 best looking American airplanes, or the same but for Canadians.