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Testbeds, Motherships and Parasites

Testbeds, Motherships & Parasites Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review March 2018 Title Testbeds, Motherships & Parasites
Author Frederick A. Johnsen Publisher Specialty Press
Published 2018 ISBN 9781580072601
Format 204 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $32.95


The title says it all.

Testbeds, Motherships & Parasites by Frederick A. Johnsen recaps "Astonishing Aircraft From the Golden Age of Flight Test".

And earlier. In some cases, much earlier.

The heavily illustrated and annotated volume from Specialty Press actually commences with experiments at the dawn of powered flight, then moves through World War II to legendary postwar projects – and beyond:

  • Chapter 1: Old School
  • Chapter 2: Parasites with a Purpose
  • Chapter 3: Bomber Bonus Testbeds
  • Chapter 4: Transport Testbeds
  • Chapter 5: Canadian Testbeds
  • Chapter 6: Post-War Motherships
  • Chapter 7: Motherships in the Jet Age
  • Chapter 8: Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft
  • Chapter 9: Underwing and Useful
  • Chapter 10: Scaled Composites' Motherships
  • Chapter 11: Airframe Mods and Systems Tests
  • Chapter 12: Miscellanea

With occasional forays "back to the future", contents concentrate on postwar subjects – both military and civil. A selected bibliography, endnotes, index and four appendices complete coverage:

  • Testbed Aircraft
  • Mothership Aircraft
  • Glossary of Acronyms and Abbreviations
  • The X-15A-2 Report

Johnsen has penned an excellent, entertaining introduction to his subjects. But as the author admits, his "review … can only wet the appetite for even more".

Take up the challenge. Make this informative effort your launchpad to history's spellbinding saga of "testbeds, motherships and parasites".


With thanks to Specialty Press for the review copy.