Of the RAF's trio of four engines heavy bombers in the Second World War, the mighty Short Stirling was the first to enter service in August 1940. A total of 2,371 Stirlings were eventually built and flown by the RAF before the type was finally withdrawn from service in July 1946. From its first raid in February 1941 the Stirling was at the forefront of the night offensive against Germany. At the peak of its operational career with Bomber Command in 1943, 12 squadrons were equipped with giant bomber before unacceptably high losses forced its relegation to second line duties.
The eight-engine Boeing B-52 Stratofortress jet was the USA’s first long-range, swept-wing heavy bomber. It began life as an intercontinental, high-altitude Cold War nuclear bomber. With each new variant the B-52 increased in range, power and capability, seeing active service in the Vietnam War, both Gulf Wars of 1991 and 2003, and over Afghanistan in 2001. Author Steve Davies recalls its combat history, gets up close to look under the skin of the B-52, and talks to the flight crews and maintainers of this legendary aircraft.
The Rolls-Royce Merlin liquid-cooled V-12 piston aero engine is considered an icon of British engineering with a worldwide recognition. It was one of the most successful aircraft engines of the Second World War period and its incremental development ran hand in hand with that of the legendary Supermarine Spitfire to which it was fitted from the very beginning. From its genesis in the 740hp PV-12 engine that was first flown in 1935, the Merlin went through rapid development during the war years until in its ultimate version, the Merlin 130 series designed specifically for the de Havilland Hornet, it produced over 2,600hp.
Merlin engines powered many more of the best-known Allied combat aircraft of the war including the Hawker Hurricane, Boulton Paul Defiant, P-51 Mustang, Avro Lancaster, Handley Page Halifax, and the de Havilland Mosquito.
Continue reading “Rolls-Royce Merlin Manual – 1933-50 (all engine models): An insight into the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the legendary World War 2 aero engine (Owners’ Workshop Manual)”
Throughout its 34-year Cold War career with the USAF and CIA, the top secret Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane was the world's fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft. Dedicated to strategic reconnaissance, the Blackbird was so fast that no other aircraft could catch it. The co-authors are world authorities on the Blackbird and give rare insights into the secret world of the SR-71, its genesis, construction and anatomy (including its use of stealth technology), and its operation and maintenance in peace and war.
Nicknamed the ‘wooden wonder’ , the de Havilland Mosquito was one of the most versatile and successful combat aircraft of the Second World War. Offering insights into the design, construction and operational career of the iconic Mossie, this manual gets under the aircraft’s birch and balsa skin to examine its anatomy and describe the painstaking restoration to flight by Avspecs (New Zealand) of Jerry Yagen’s FB26 KA114 and of Victoria Air Maintenance’s B35 VR796 in British Columbia, Canada.