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British Combat Aircraft in Latin America

British Combat Aircraft in Latin America Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review September 2019 Title British Combat Aircraft in Latin America
Author Santiago Rivas Publisher Hikoki Publications
Published 2019 ISBN 9781902109572
Format 624 pages, hardcover MSRP (USD) $64.95

Review

Let’s get to the point: anyone interested in the worldwide history of British aviation needs this spectacular study.

Period.

British Combat Aircraft in Latin America – published by Hikoki and available in North America from Specialty Press – tells the whole terrific tale in 15 chunky chapters across 624 picture-packed pages.

Author Santiago Rivas broadly divides coverage into two parts.

The first, totaling 429 pages, recaps the amazing range of British warplanes in Latin American service – “before 1940” and after WWII.

Argentine and Mexican Bristol F.2Bs. Dominican and Venezuelan Vampires. Brazilian and Ecuadoran Meteors. Peruvian and Chilean Hunters. And much more.

Foxes and Jaguars and Moths – oh, my!

But book subjects aren’t all “combat” types. And the second section surveys military “transports, trainers and helicopters”, miscellaneous civil aircraft, airliners, international visitors, the “British presence in Latin America”, and preserved aircraft over the remaining 195 pages.

All chapters literally brim with fascinating facts.

A Chilean Bristol M.1C fighter, for instance, “performed the first crossing of the highest part of the Andes” in December 1918. Argentina acquired a Hurricane and three Spitfires – but none actually entered military service. And Mexico – not the Dominican Republic – operated the first d.H. Mosquito in Latin America.

Surprises abound, too.

Ever see a Brazilian Meteor F-8 in four-color, Xavante-type camouflage? How about that Chilean hybrid Capitán Pastebe – an M.1C fuselage with Ansaldo SVA 10 top wing? And which Latin American nation was the second to operate jet aircraft?

What did the girlfriend of Lisansro Suárez do to make history? Which country nearly purchased the Avro Vulcan? And did you know that an Argentine company currently builds Avro 504K replicas for foreign customers?

Hundreds of images – period B&W shots, color photos, profile art, unit badges, and maps – illustrate the effort. Combat accounts, color & markings commentary, extended captions, annotations, an index, and two appendices – individual aircraft histories and references – complete coverage.

What a stunning smorgasbord. I savored every page. Perhaps Hikoki will one day favor us with similarly superb surveys of French and Italian aircraft in Latin America.

Rabidly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Specialty Press for this review sample!