American Aircraft Development of the Second World War...

...Research, Experimentation and Modification 1939-1945, from Fonthill Media

Title: American Aircraft Development of the Second World War
Author: Bill Norton

Publisher: Fonthill Media
ISBN: 978-1-78155-725-9

 

This new 446-page hardback from Fonthill Media is the fifth in a series of books by the author Bill Norton (the earlier titles with alternative publishers) and covers the many aviation experiments undertaken in the USA throughout WW2. Many used existing designs to experiment with alternative design features, while others were whole new designs, or design testbeds. The advent of war led to a huge advances in aircraft (and rocket) technology over a relatively short period of time.

The book is arranged over 14 chapters, each of which considers a different topic. Examples include Propulsion Challenges; Rocket Promise: Undercarriage Variations; Piloting Diversions: Special Missions: and Foreign Influence. Just to pick out some random samples, how about a Bell P-63 with a V-tail, early work in air-to-air refuelling, a medevac version of the Waco Glider and an A-20 Havoc with a tracked undercarriage! There are too many to even think of listing all you will find in here. The US work with the captured V-1 designs also makes for interesting reading. Their mobile launch trailer could have made finding them very difficult if the Germans had been able to develop one.

I have been an aviation enthusiast all my life, and yet I found so much in here which I never knew about before.  The well written text, added to the large number of archive photos fit together to tell the story very well indeed.  Plus, as a lifetime modeller, there are so many in here which would make for some marvellous and unusual models. In some cases I thought they made a good example of the old adage, 'if it looks right, it probably is'. Some of the photos suggested to me that while some tests may have produced informative results, the airframes themselves never went any further. A fascinating read for any aircraft enthusiast with an interest in WW2.

Thanks to Fonthill Media for our review copy.

Robin