New Quarterly Aviation Magazine: The Aviation Historian

overscan (PaulMM)

Staff member
27 December 2005
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From Tony Buttler:

The membership might like to know about a new British magazine which has just been launched with the objective of publishing in-depth articles on all aspects of aviation history. It is called 'The Aviation Historian' and will concentrate on previously unpublished material. I have been asked to do several articles including some project material.

Issue 1:

In the current issue: (132 pages)

Messerschpitts at Five O'Clock!
Yellow noses, crosses, swastikas . . . but not on Bf 109s. Nick Stroud looks back at a surprise airshow act

The Tragedy of Flight Three
Michael O'Leary investigates the DC-3 crash that killed Hollywood film star Carole Lombard

The Flying Billboard
What's 378 feet long, has three engines and floats?

Surprise, Surprise!
The full and detailed story for the first time – from both sides – of English Electric Lightings versus Lockheed U-2s

Northern Exposure
Jan Forsgren reveals how Gloster Gladiators and Hawker Harts fought in the Finnish-Soviet Winter War of 1939–40

American Classics
Rare photographs of flying-boats and floatplanes from the Alpha Archive

Flying the Furrow
Derek O’Connor charts the creation of an unusual inter-war navigational aid across the Middle East

Hef and the Big Bunny
Up and down with Hugh Hefner and the Playboy empire's luxury DC-9 corporate jet

Under the Windstocking
More rare photographs, this time lesser-known civil inter-war types, from the collection of Philip Jarrett

One Furious Summer
The story of Peter W. Brooks's Hawker Fury FB.60 ferry-flight from the UK to Pakistan in 1949, told through his own journal and photographs

Ryan and the Triangular Pterodactyls
Doug Moore describes the birth of "the craziest kite in the sky"

Out of the Blue
How Papa Smurf saved the T-45 Goshawk, by Mick Oakey

From Penthouse to Workhorse
Jonathan Pote recalls an encounter with a Boeing 307 Stratoliner in Laos in the mid-1960s
Looks fabulous! Will it be sold in bookstores in the U.S. like Barnes & Noble?
Pity, I'm not in the right moment of my life for this kind of publication...but unbuilt projects are always attractive. Please keep me updated about Mr Buttler contributions.
Unfortunately, none of these articles are of interest to me. I wish them well though and hope for articles that interest me in future issues. They are also talking about ebook versions, which would be highly interesting for me.
Well...if like me you've had your fill of relentless articles comprising 1500 words and 10 pics of F-35/Typhoon/Dreamliner, The Aviation Historian could be a breath of fresh air.

The very idea that some-one ordered a "rut" to be dug across a country as a navigation aid tweaks my curiosity. Must've been British. Probably has a connection to the wartime development of Oboe by a pipe-smoking bloke in a shed.

Looks very interesting. Reminds me of some of the old Air enthusiast articles.


CJGibson said:
Well...if like me you've had your fill of relentless articles comprising 1500 words and 10 pics of F-35/Typhoon/Dreamliner, The Aviation Historian could be a breath of fresh air.

The very idea that some-one ordered a "rut" to be dug across a country as a navigation aid tweaks my curiosity. Must've been British. Probably has a connection to the wartime development of Oboe by a pipe-smoking bloke in a shed.


Oh, absolutely, there's been a dearth of anything at all interesting in UK aviation magazine publishing since Air Enthusiast went away. I really hope they do well. However, at the price they are charging for the paper-based version, I'm only going to buy it if its got something I want to read.

If they had their ebook version sorted and reasonably cheap, however, I'd probably take out a year's subscription anyway.
Yeah, but even towards the end, paper quality had gone down, photo definition had gone down a bit. Aeroplane Monthly is the only British magazine that has offered consistent quality publishing, but it deals mostly with British aircraft, making it less appealing to international customers.
Granted, but how many SPF members have a tablet (which in my view is the best way to read such ebooks/emags) and how many don't?

How about a poll? Who has a 10" tablet, who has a 7" tablet, who has a monochrome Ebook reader and who doesn't? Who would prefer paper and wouldn't want an ebook? OK, so we looked at this a few years ago, but the landscape has changed.

Also, as has been seen with Amazon, ebooks are not necessarily cheaper than paper. As I tell the boys offshore when they see the price of books - you're not paying for the paper and printing, you're paying for the content plus the time and effort that went into it. Please try not to forget that. Been here before as well.

I'll go first - 7" Galaxy Tab and a Kindle

I'm got a Kindle which is great for text-heavy books & a laptop with a 1920x1080 screen which does a pretty good job displaying magazine-sized PDFs readably.

For me, living at the arse-end of nowhere, ebooks are more about speed of delivery and avoiding postal costs than reducing the cost of the item per se. For instance, still haven't got my review copy of Battle Flight - if it had been a PDF I would already have finished it (plus saved a bunch of postage costs for Chris).

Choosing the right format is hard. Epub / mobi would work e.g. for the Eric Brown Miles M.52 book as its mostly text and the illustrations aren't high enough quality (or in colour) to suffer too badly from displaying on an ebook reader - but a more visual book or magazine probably wouldn't work.

In terms of copy protection, DRM schemes are generally annoying and likely to cause issues for the less computer-savvy users, while the geeky ones will likely think twice about buying something that is tied to their computer or phone or tablet or ebook device. Something that embeds an invisible tracking ID and which allows the offending pirate to be "named and shamed" is probably enough to deter casual piracy. A sufficiently niche product is unlikely to attract the attention of professional hackers.

Apple iStore - Kindle Store - yep, those guys eat your profits.
So you're not enjoying your job as British Ambassador to New Zealand?

New Zealand's great, its just the location which sucks. If we could relocate it somewhere off the coast of Spain it'd be perfect.
Ebook readers are great for text-heavy-books, as Paul wrote, annoying are those still not really solved legal
problems. I don't want any publisher to have the possibility to delete stuff from my reader/computer, I've
already paid for ! Ok, not too often a problen and of course solvable with some kind of backup, but there's
still too much thinking needed about problems, I don't have with paper books.
We have a Sony T2 ebook reader, but something for reading mags with lots of photos probably will be bought,
IF I'll get all those mags easily as high-quality pdf-files. It's becoming more and more difficult to store or those
piles of paper ..
iPad user here. I like the epubs since I can carry a lot with me when travelling for no added bulk/weight + many of the additional features of epubs are quite convenient. I also have cut down on my storage requirements and find that i am more likely to refer to...magazines especially. I do find it frustrating though that some of the magazines now in electronic format (e.g. Aeroplane Monthly) are actually less convenient to read then the old paper version. For example, if there is a centrefold picture, make it able to be viewed as one image, not two halves! :(
BTW, the magazine itself looks most intersting. I'll probably take a subscription asap.
Pasoleati said:
I'll never pay a dime for an ePublication. I really hate them.

Any particular reason? Are you a publisher? Where do you buy the needles for your wind-up gramophone?

Site not working for me either. Chris, I have several reasons. First, I am a bibliophile and the very idea of an ePublication is blasphemic to me. Second, I don't want to invest large sums of money to something that can be wiped out by an EMP. I have several books from the 1930s, and they are still in very good shape. Third, I dislike reading text on screen. It gives me sore eyes, aching back (I have never encountered a really convenient computer workstation) and blown nerves. Fourth, to be really feasible from PoV, the screen of the reader should be at least A3 in size to view large images in their entirety. And tell me how convenient that would be. Fifth, I want my reading device completely operable without any power, mains or battery.

PS. I do enjoy CDs or DVDs, but even those are physical storage formats.
I am also a bibliophile, proud owner of a 1819 edition of Burns' poetical works, a couple of old atlases etc so I too love the smell of foxed books in the morning. Plus I'm married to a librarian, who doesn't work at home. I tested four ebook readers for her when they first appeared and pronounced them as rubbish.

I resisted the eBook reader, said that I'd never have one until I could drop it in the bath with little more than a "Bollocks!" rather than "AAAAAAARGH! My hundred quid eBook reader is f..........!"

However, two things swung me. I spend half my time in remote locations and much of my restricted baggage weight (12kg on a chopper) was books. The other was that, I also get eyestrain from reading screens and found (while playing with a bloke's Kindle offshore) that the epaper doesn't give eyestrain. So I bought one and my back is much better now. Unfortunately, we're not allowed to use Kindles on the choppers so still carry one book-book for that.

I agree that the technology for looking at image-heavy material is limited, but for novels, image-light and short-form stuff, articles and particularly reference material, the eBook is very good, particularly if it is searchable.

Power? I've been in some fairly remote places, most recently the Zambian bush where everything was solar-powered. No problem charging the Kindle, but it didn't need charging anyway as it lasts for weeks.

And lastly. There is a thread on this very forum on books we'd like see produced. They won't be produced unless the wishlisters do it themselves. Ebooks are probably the best way to produce them.

I suspect Caxton had the same trouble. "Oh, dunno about this printing, guv. I'll stick to the illuminated script."

I forgot EMP. In that scenario, I think I'll have more to worry about than my Kindle, but at least my wife's Quad amp and my Leica M2 will be fine.

I have a Kindle and an iPad2. I wish more of the publications I read were in iPad friendly format, as they would be much easier to take with on vacation orwhen traveling, etc.
What does mean "...Open DNS is barfing on that URL at the moment..."?
Aye, well, ummm, you can't beat a nice book, but epubs allow us to do things that paper can't.

All the moans about how long a book takes to appear? Printing and shipping account for two months at least when you print in China (I print locally in Washington and even that takes a week at least, but supports the local economy by keeping Geordies in a job)

Books we'd like to see? Go electric and do it yourself at minimal outlay, plus you won't be tied to the rule of eights.

Scott has a good set up, a quality product and reacts to the market rapidly, which is another benefit of epubs.

Ytpos? These can be sorted out in no time, rather than wait for a reprint. And if you buy electronically an understanding epublisher will no doubt allow existing buyers to get the refreshed version.

Big drawings? Again Scott has shown the way, these being available. Bigger versions of my drawings are available for the asking (it's me doing the asking, so be prepared)

There is yet to be an Ed Reardon's "Small Boy's Big Ebook of Aeroplanes in Colour", so eBooks probably lend themselves to niches.

So, what's not to like?

Lack of security - can be copied and pirated with relative ease. This is my primary gripe.

Susceptible to EMP unlike paper which is highly susceptible to flash and blast.

So, what I'm saying is that if the SPF book wishlist (niche subjects with big drawings in a short timescale with no typos) is to be realised, ebooks are the way forward. Embrace them.

And of course, you'll need to pay for them.

Site works for now and I just ordered the first issue!

As for epubs, they have zero advantages for me and all the shortcomings I don't need.
I have issues 1 and 2 and the issue 3 should be out tomorrow. So far, easily the best of current commercial aviation magazines in English I know of. Would be perfect if all the pages were fully justified (some pages are unfortunately ragged right).
Issue 3 includes an article by Erik Simonson on the CF-105 based on his just released book "Project Terminated".

About the current issue

Against a background of growing readership, great reviews and terrific feedback on Issues 1 and 2, we believe TAH3 is the best one yet. People like our compact format and the fact that each issue is more like a book than a magazine – but most of all they value our content: satisfying articles and high-quality illustrations.

Issue 3 of The Aviation Historian ranges from the pre-First World War period to the space age. The cover story re-examines the cancellation of the Avro Canada Arrow interceptor (on the face of it a familiar story which, like the BAC TSR.2, makes many enthusiasts hot under the collar) from the standpoint of political decision-making.

Elsewhere in TAH3 Philip Jarrett opens a definitive two-part history of the progenitors of the S.E.5 fighter; David Stringer charts the creation of the USA's feeder-airline network in the years after World War Two; and Jon Pote makes further remarkable revelations about the activities of Air America, "the CIA's secret airline", in Laos (he speaks from experience – he was there at the time).

A major feature by Jim Winchester describes how the US Navy suffered a slight embarrassment when a nuclear-armed A-4 Skyhawk rolled backwards off the deck of a carrier and sank in 2,700 fathoms of water 90 miles off Japan; and Vladimir Kotelnikov describes how captured German technology sparked Soviet jet-aircraft development.

On the lighter side – in terms of all-up weight but not in depth – we look at the forgotten history of the Cessna Skyhook, the light-aircraft maker's attempt to break into the helicopter market. We also offer a glimpse of "the glider with built-in thermals": the Arsenal Emouchet Escopette, powered rather improbably (and very noisily) by six wing-mounted pulsejet engines.

Heading off, like the Escopette, in a determinedly contrary direction, we have eschewed the Dambusters 70th anniversary – not through any lack of respect for what will always be an extraordinary story, but because the mainstream magazines have already been retelling it – in favour of a brief but startling first-hand account of trials of another bouncing bomb: being on the receiving end of a Highball attack.

And we haven't even begun to talk about Hawker factory memories; or spacesuit development; or a P-38 Lightning used for photo-survey work in Argentina; or an Estonian Nieuport 17...
Issue 4 is out now! Ordered my copy a few moments ago.

and in Issue 11,the Folland/Mayo Composite Aircraft Co. Ltd high-speed long-range bomber
project for Spec. P27/32.
Now you've made me jealous. Mine has to go across the Atlantic and back again so it hasn't arrived yet! I see from the site that the new issue also features Stelio Frati's first official design, the Movo F.M.1 Passero, which looked like a motorglider but was actually a pretty fast little lightplane, 94 mph top speed and 80 mph cruise on just 20 hp.
hesham said:
and in Issue 11,the Folland/Mayo Composite Aircraft Co. Ltd high-speed long-range bomber
project for Spec. P27/32.

No, this was a private venture concept unrelated to any Air Ministry specification
The Aviation Historian

The current issue could be of interest :
Tony Buttler has an article about the Armstrong Whitworth’s AW.58 supersonic research projects
And I have myself a story about Antoine Padoue Filippi, a guy who thought he had found something better than the usual prop : the Aile Cyrnos. He went on to begin building helicopter / VTOL machines using this Cyrnos wing but he was more successfull with sleds and cars (propelled by Cyrnos wings of course). This Filippi story corrects some of the mistakes and loose threads I had left in the Air Magazine article I wrote 10 years ago...and I am also confident that in English it will have a much larger readership than the French original.
This should be the first of a series "les Hommes Magnifiques" about French pioneer / designers whose ambitions went beyond the technology of the time (my own title was "Those Magnificent Men in their (not)Flying Machines"...)
I understand the next installement will be Damblanc and his Alérion.

I am very glad that the Papin-Rouilly story published last year was successfull enough to give Nick Stroud, the editor of TAH, the will to trust me to write this series about weird pioneer machines.
forumwide search gives this thread:

superb magazine but ı have been somewhat surprised by an account . Expecting the intended readership to be above a certain level , ı won't mince words . That an USN pilot wanted an all-out attack on N.Vietnam in 1965 and that caused problems with his superiors , to the extent of getting him killed by conspiracy is overwhelmingly stupid . (No , don't rush.) That's what everyone on that ship would feel . And Uncle Sam would give you a new nuke , if the one you had was bad . What if ? Well , the thriller to be written MUST involve the Russian offer to Washington for an united pre-emptive attack before China got nuclear . One test in 1964 , 3 in '65 with one involving thermonuclear elements in a 300kt package , the hydrogen bomb in 66(?) and the Cultural Revolution so that the "accidental" explosion to get a bigwig inspection of the facilities will start a full blown Communist Chinese Civil War , with Taiwan as the saviour . Must also involve A-12s , maybe 60-6929 . For this ı had to dig up for whatever books ı had on the laptop and check Steve Pace's . Just add Stockdale's resolution not to talk , which everyone says to be a thing about how he didn't see anything during the Tonkin Gulf incident and there you are .

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