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Gannet From The Cockpit

Gannet From The Cockpit Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2008 Title Gannet From The Cockpit
Author Simon Askins Publisher Ad Hoc Publications
Published 2008 ISBN 978-0-946958-63-4
Format 152 pages, softbound MSRP (BP) £18.95


The Fairey Gannet was designed initially as an anti-submarine warfare aircraft and was one of the first operational turboprop-powered aircraft to see carrier-based service. Powered by the Armstrong-Siddeley Twin Mamba driving contra-rotating propellers, the Gannet could take its crew of three and payload aloft from the relatively small decks of the World War II-era aircraft carriers and trap aboard safely again.

Author Commander Simon Askins was not only a Gannet line pilot, he also served as a maintenance test pilot, giving him some unique perspectives on the inner workings and design of the aircraft. Gannet veterans who've flown the type and they share their high and low stories in the context of this the logical coverage that an aviation historian would like to have to properly put this aircraft 'in context'. The coverage of this title is broken down as follows:

Gannet From The Cockpit

  • Requirement
  • Development and Production
  • Powerplant
  • From the Cockpit
  • Weapons, Stores, Capabilities
  • Maintenance
  • Gannet Training
  • Front-Line Squadrons
  • Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
  • Other Gannet Units

Indeed, the author not only frames the history and development of this aircraft, he also leads off the discussion with his own experiences flying the Gannet. These insightful stories from the author and his colleagues finally do this aircraft justice that the average historian/authors cannot appreciate. There are some interesting stories from not only Royal Navy pilots, but also from a US Navy officer who came out of the A-1 Skyraider to fly the Gannet on an exchange tour. With a career that spans 25 years, the Gannet's airframe was adapted to not only hunt submarines, it would become an AEW (AWACS) platform, COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery), and electronic warfare platform.

I don't know about you, but even the most well-researched historical monograph can only go so far to inform you about an aircraft. You really can't get to know an aircraft unless you've actually flown it yourself or can hear first-hand experiences from those who have. These 'From the Cockpit' series of titles are definitely a must have for the modeler and aviation historian as there is no better perspective in knowing an aircraft subject than from those who flew them.

My sincere thanks to Ad Hoc Publications for this review sample!