BRITISH PRIVATE AIRCRAFT. Vol.1 The Re-awakening Years 1946-1970

This monumental work, eight years in preparation, is the history of the British light aircraft industry during what proved in the end to be its concluding years. A companion to the Author's earlier British Light Aeroplanes: their Evolution, Development & Perfection 1920-1940, this volume describes the enormous problems associated with resuming civilian light aircraft operations at the end of the 1939-45 War when we were virtually bankrupt and nobody was allowed to travel abroad, let alone purchase anything overseas due to Draconian currency restrictions. While our lightplane industry had shut up shop in September 1939, the American industry had continued mainly unhindered throughout the War years. Where once Britain led the World in the realm of light aviation, America quickly caught up and exceeded our ability during these dark days. The upshot was that when we started up again in 1946, we could not export new aircraft to most other countries because they had access to better products from the USA. But we gallantly struggled with ground-breaking designs such as the Portsmouth Aerocar and the Planet Satellite – both were failures but for quite different reasons. Only Auster Aircraft pushed forward. Then came the establishment of Beagle Aircraft Ltd which took Government funding. A succession of management blunders took a good company with great designs to the wall. Once again we struggled to develop suitable British engines and vested interests contributed to closing out all but the two established suppliers. The era ended with the curious anomaly of no formal manufacturing yet a developing and thriving new aircraft industry – only this time it was through the efforts of the amateur aircraft builder that our civil aircraft numbers were swelled. Details all aircraft and engine manufacturers. Comprehensively indexed and extensively illustrated. Published by Mushroom Model Publications, Petersfield, 2012. 318 pp, decorative boards, ISBN 978-83-61421-46-7. £59.99 direct from the Author or contact the publisher at rogerw@mmpbooks.biz