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Miles Aircraft – The Early Years

Miles Aircraft – The Early Years Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review June 2013 Title Miles Aircraft – The Early Years
Author Peter Amos Publisher Air-Britain
Published 2009 ISBN 9780851304106
Format 448 pages, hardbound MSRP (BP) £52.50 (non-member price)
£34.95 (member price)


Count me an ardent adherent of MAAA – "Miles Aircraft Aficionados Anonymous".

Hawk and Falcon.  Magister and Master.  The sleek, racer-like M.20 fighter.  The bizarre, beautiful M.39B Libellula.  The innovative British manufacturer produced some of my favorite aircraft designs.

But just try finding PUTNAM's classic Miles Aircraft Since 1925.  And if you do, prepare to pay around US$250.00 for the privilege of procuring Don Lambert Brown's ancient effort.

Now there's a choice.  In typically matchless manner, AIR-BRITAIN has ridden to rescue with the first of Peter Amos' definitive, multi-volume history, Miles Aircraft – The Early Years.

The initial, encyclopedic installment covers the "Story of F G Miles and his Aeroplanes 1925-1939".  And what an enormously informative and elaborate account it is.

Contents course from Miles' early "Phillips & Powis" days to the eve of World War II.  And Amos sequentially surveys every design therein – from the Hornet Baby and M.1 Satyr through the Monarch and M.18.

Turn to Chapter 19 for the book's symbolic centerfold.  That's where you'll find the private-venture Miles M.9 and M.9A trainer.  Sleek and fast, its performance actually bested that of many contemporary European fighter designs.  Yet Britain's myopic military, mired in policies of appeasement, looked the other way!

Add several sections on Hawks and Falcons.  Mix in more on initial Magisters.  Then spice all with hundreds of photos, construction numbers, registrations and truly astonishing amounts of aircraft adiaphora.  And you gorge on a substantial stew of astounding enrichment.

Not that Volume 1 is especially cheap, however.  AIR-BRITAIN members like me can snag it for £34.95 – about US$53.00 at current exchange.  But non-members pay £52.50 – about US$80.00.  And don't forget postage.

Still, that's far less than PUTNAM's scarce study currently commands.  And you get what you pay for.  With 31 chunky chapters and 32 amazing appendices, Miles Aircraft – The Early Years is worth every penny, pence and Pfennig.

Robustly recommended!