Northrop BT-1 Book Review
|Date of Review||April 2008||Title||Northrop BT-1|
|Format||40 pages, softbound||MSRP (Euro)||12€|
Phil Listemann is an author and publisher from southwestern France that specializes in interesting historical RAF monographs. In his Allied Wings series, he's touched on several interesting subjects including the Spitfire Mk.XII and the B-26 Marauder in RAF service. With this title, he's turned his attention to a much-overlooked US Navy 'yellow-wing' subject, the Northrop BT-1.
This aircraft was designed as a dive bomber in the early 1930s to replace biplane dive bombers still in service. The Navy awarded a contract for 54 BT-1s which would go on to equip two squadrons in 1938, but the aircraft was dangerous at low airspeeds and had killed a number of aircrews from unrecoverable spins. By 1941, the SBD Dauntless was coming into service and the days of the BT-1 were numbered.
One interesting sidebar, the designer of the BT-1 was Ed Heinemann, who would move over to Douglas and design the SBD, A-20, A-26, and the infamous A-4 Skyhawk.
This title has a nice historical summary of the aircraft, its operational summaries while with VB-5 and VB-6, and some of its duties in second-line service before the war.
What is interesting is that the author follows these summaries up with a register which has a historical summary of each aircraft, by bureau number, and its fate. Where applicable, a summary of its accident report describes the aircraft's last flight.
The title is well illustrated with color profiles of representative aircraft from the squadrons, and nice detail photos of the aircraft up-close.
This monograph is definitely one not to miss as it will provide the historian and modeler alike with great information on this aircraft.
This title is highly recommended and I certainly hope to see many more in this format in the future!
My sincere thanks to Phil H. Listemann for the review sample.