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Firebrand From The Cockpit

Firebrand From The Cockpit Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2008 Title Firebrand From The Cockpit
Author Eric Brown Publisher Ad Hoc Publications
Published 2008 ISBN 978-0-946958-66-5
Format 100 pages, softbound MSRP (BP) £16.95


The Blackburn Firebrand was originally supposed to be a carrier-based fighter aircraft for the Royal Navy, but it was quickly adapted to the strike mission in its full-production configuration. The written histories of this aircraft are less than favorable, and indeed the type was a handful to fly and especially to get onto the deck of a carrier. Nevertheless, author and famous British test pilot Eric Brown has compiled an interesting look at this unique aircraft.

The author has collected numerous experiences from fellow Blackburn 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:

  • Development
  • From the Cockpit
  • Postscript
  • Weapons and Tactics
  • Trials and Testing
  • Frontline Squadrons

Firebrand From The Cockpit

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 Firebrand. These insightful stories from the author and his colleagues finally do this aircraft justice that the average historian/authors cannot appreciate. While the aircraft was a handful to fly, and it did entered service too late to reach the front lines in World War II, it did remain in Fleet Air Arm service until 1953.

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!