Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Oops I did it again

Further to my last post, the contract for the new book about the Wasp arrived today and I duly signed it (aided by the dog).  I also spent a happy morning in the RN Flight Safety Centre going through old Flight Safety magazines (Cockpit) looking for articles.  I struck gold several times finding a report on the original Wasp deck operating trials as well as one explaining why the aircraft got such a silly flotation bag system.  Next week its off the to the FAA museum to look through Flight Deck magazine to get some more information.  Hopefully these articles won't all be about crashing!
As I've said before any 'Dits' or photographs will be gratefully received.

World famous author aided by world famous hound (not sure about the bloke in the background).

Monday, 20 February 2017

Next factual book

I've posted on this previously but now I am about to sign a contract to actually do it.  The Lynx book seems to be doing pretty well for preorders so the next machine in line for a good going over will be the Wasp. However, there will be several differences with this one.  Firstly, there is no active squadron for me to visit, drink coffee and listen to lots of good 'dits' as the aircraft went out of service in the eighties.  BUT there are several still flying and for this book I've teamed up with the owner of one.  Terry Martin is a retired RAF Wing Commander doctor and he is the proud owner of XT 787 an aircraft that has seen service for many years.  Unfortunately, it suffered a minor mishap last year when part of the collective control run failed and Terry found himself in the invidious position of being at 2000 feet with frozen engine power and the need to get the thing down.  The fact that he coped so well is a story in its own right and will no doubt feature in the book.  Unfortunately, in the process the tail hit the ground and so the aircraft is now having a major repair.  Most of the proceeds of the book will be going to him to help cover costs.  For the Lynx book, the squadron got me cleared for a final flight last year but it never happened due to bad weather and bad serviceability of the few remaining dual control aircraft. In the end, I only got a ride in the simulator. So for this book I should be able get a flight in a real machine.  I haven't flown a Wasp since 1986 so it should be interesting.  For the book I will be concentrating on the operational history and Terry will cover the story after that.
Anyone who reads this entry and had an interesting story about the aircraft to tell, just contact me and you will probably end up in print.

If anyone thinks that this picture is familiar - its the cover image for my last but one Jon Hunt novel 'Retribution'.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Air Force (bet that gets some interest)

Been thinking (unusual I know), as part of the background research for the latest book I obtained a copy of the 'Inskip' report that was conducted in 1937 and resulted in the handing over of the Fleet Air Arm of the RAF back to the navy (yes FAA was originally an RAF title!!). I have 9 scanned pages which I suspect quite a lot of you lot, wot read my Blog and FB posts might be interested in reading.  Apart from being an amazing historical document, in my view many of the arguments used are just as pertinent today as back in 1937.  In fact back in 1998 when I was on FONAC staff and we were being suckered into handing the Harriers over to the RAF, I circulated the report aound the headquarters and got a bollocking for being subversive - moi?   If its too much of a slog just read para 21.   Maybe I should send a copy to the First Sea Lord and Secretary of State for Defence, even the Chief of the Air Staff and Captain of HMS Queen Elizabeth.  Happy to be accused of being subversive all over again!!!

A good launch

Just a quick post to say thanks to everyone who is investing in 'Formidable'.  It's currently my best selling book and already in the top 3000 selling on Amazon (out of almost two million) and has just got into the top 100 for both Books and Kindle in the 'Fiction War' category.  Oh and all without any reviews yet (hint).

Friday, 3 February 2017

Look what arrived in the post today.

My advance copy of the Lynx Operational History arrived today and I have to say the publishers have done an outstanding job.  Not on general sale until the end of March unfortunately as the printers are a long way away (India to be precise).  However advance copies can be ordered from the Navy Wings web site here:  Navy Wings

  As an incentive I will be signing all these ones, it would be rather nice to get writer's cramp!!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Inspiration for Formidable

So, with Formidable now out in internet land for sale, I thought I would post some photos of some elements that gave me inspiration for the plot.  As I say in the author's notes at the end of the book, my father flew from Formidable in 888 Squadron during the war.  The aircraft they flew was the Martlet although the Yanks called it the Wildcat and the RN changed the name back later in the war.  It originally went up against the Brewster Buffalo in a procurement competition before the war.  It lost, apparently because of cooling issues with its radial engine.  The Buffalo went on to be a complete disater when it came up against the Japanese Zero for the first time.  The Wildcat would have fared much better. I believe there may have been some skullduggery between the competing manufacturers during the competition - hard to believe of course!  However, the French had ordered some which by the time they were ready - they no longer had any need for and the FAA got their sticky fingers on them instead.  Not a bad thing at the time as complete neglect of maritime aviation by the RAF in the interwar years meant that the only other fighter available to the FAA was the Blackburn ROC and it only had guns that could fire backwards!!  888 was also unusual as it was commanded by a Royal Marine.  So here are a few photos from my father's album:

888 Squadron.  Lieutenant D M Jeram third left

888 in the air

The Gruman Martlet (Wildcat) painted in US Navy markings but operating from Formidable for operation Torch - the first joint US/UK operation of the war - the North African landings.

The first verse of the first song from the Fleet Air Arm song book:
They say in the Air Force a landings OK,
If the pilot gets out and can still walk away,
But in the Fleet Air Arm the prospects are grim,
If the landing's piss poor and the bastard can't swim.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Its out - Formidable

Eagle eyed readers will notice that I've changed my Blog photo - that's because the new book is out!!! (or will be in 12 hours)  So get buying, reading and leaving lots of good reviews on Amazon.  Not sure where Mr Hunt is going next - I'm running out of time for him.  Might do a prequel instead happy to take suggestions.  Either way I'm taking some time off for a few weeks as we are in the process of aquiring a new narrow boat.