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Aviation Records in the Jet Age

Aviation Records in the Jet Age Book Review

By Davd L. Veres

Date of Review June 2017 Title Aviation Records in the Jet Age
Author Lt. Col. William A. Flanagan Publisher Specialty Press
Published 2017 ISBN 9781580072502
Format 191 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $39.95


Speed. Altitude. Range. Endurance. Even payload.

Benchmarks like those historically define performance records. Now author William A. Flanagan employs them essentially to chart aviation history – civil and military.

Subtitled "The Planes and Technologies Behind the Breakthroughs", Aviation Records in the Jet Age from Specialty Press chronicles the tale across 191 pages and eight chapters:

  • Aviation Records through World War I
  • The Golden Age of Progress (1919–1939)
  • Dawn of the Jet Age (1940–1945)
  • Breaking the Sound Barrier (1946–1956)
  • Jet Airliners and Mach 2 Fighters (1954–1962)
  • Mach 3 and Beyond: Supersonic Cruise (1962–1976)
  • The Digital Age: Efficiency Trumps Speed and Altitude (1976–1996)
  • Where Have All the Records Gone?

In the context of evolving aircraft performance, Flanagan adeptly addresses key airframe, propulsion, materials, control and safety factors – among others. And he surveys many in informative sidebars.

The saga of flight naturally remains a narrative of human achievement, too. Pioneers. Designers. Pilots. Even politicians. And personalities also play parts in Flanagan's text.

B&W and color photos, artwork, drawings, technical illustrations, maps, and performance graphs illustrate the effort. Extended captions and sidebars also augment the account. And a glossary, two appendices, and an index neatly tie things up.

Nitpicks? Nazi Germany's Heinkel He 162 Volksjäger certainly did achieve operational service – with I./JG 1 in April 1945. The Soviet K-13 (AA-2 Atoll) air-to-air missile derived from a captured – not "stolen" – American AIM-9 Sidewinder. Flanagan includes no selected bibliography. And annotations would certainly help those seeking further study.

But I quibble. Specialty Press has produced an entertaining and informative popular history. Make it your introduction to the fascinating field of aerospace records.

My sincere thanks to Specialty Press for this review sample!