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Scooter: The Douglas A4D Skyhawk Story by Tommy Thomason

overscan

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Scooter: The Douglas A4D Skyhawk Story

Pub. Date: February 2011
Publisher: Specialty Press
Format: Hardcover, 276pp
ISBN-13: 9781580071581
ISBN: 1580071589
 

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AeroFranz

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Nice! I trust Tommy will give us some teaser-glimpses of the contents in due time... ;)
 

Tailspin Turtle

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Huh - hadn't seen the latest iteration. The final cover will probably include the Skyhawk Association badge. (n.b. Skyhawk Association members will get a prepublication discount.) As for illustrations and information, it was difficult to come up with anything new since the A-4 has been covered so well, so many times. I was able to provide some details and a bit of fresh information on design decisions, development problems, and product improvements (e.g. the actual reason for the canted in-flight refueling boom, among other things), so I'm satisfied that it is worth buying for those of you who know what kind of book I write (it's short on first-hand "there I was" stories and doesn't have any markings profiles). A few illustrations:
 

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F-14D

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There may be a bit of a problem here. Both of those ISBNs, depending on where you check, either resolve to "Scooter", or to "Boeing 777 - Airliner Tech Vol. 2" by Jim Upton

Amazon, for example has two different pages for the 777 book, one for the 10 digit and one for the 13 digit ISBN. Interestingly, the 10 digit page also shows a picture of Tommy! The 777 book also shows up on another page with different ISBN numbers which you get to by searching for it by name. Conversely, it's somehow on Tommy's Amazon author page. BTW, Amazon Canada does resolve to "Scooter"

I'd think this was just an Amazon problem, except that there are a number of stores where these ISBNs resolve to the 777 book. Maybe these numbers were originally intended for the 777 book, then it got changed, and they're now being reassigned?
 

Tailspin Turtle

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F-14D said:
There may be a bit of a problem here. Both of those ISBNs, depending on where you check, either resolve to "Scooter", or to "Boeing 777 - Airliner Tech Vol. 2" by Jim Upton

Amazon, for example has two different pages for the 777 book, one for the 10 digit and one for the 13 digit ISBN. Interestingly, the 10 digit page also shows a picture of Tommy! The 777 book also shows up on another page with different ISBN numbers which you get to by searching for it by name. Conversely, it's somehow on Tommy's Amazon author page. BTW, Amazon Canada does resolve to "Scooter"

I'd think this was just an Amazon problem, except that there are a number of stores where these ISBNs resolve to the 777 book. Maybe these numbers were originally intended for the 777 book, then it got changed, and they're now being reassigned?
I've informed Specialty Press of the problem.
 

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Anyone has read this other title on the Scooter?

http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/?product_id=619

Saw a lot of good reviews but don't know if it covered A-4K Kahu from New Zealand or the A-4SU Super Skyhawk from Singapore.
 

fightingirish

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amsci99,
according to Google Books, that book "Douglas A-4 Skyhawk" mentions the A-4K and A-4SU.

But IMHO, we should keep this topic only first to promote and later then to discuss Tommy Thomasons' book "Scooter! - The Douglas A4D Skyhawk Story".
 

Tailspin Turtle

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I appreciate having a dedicated topic, but the breadth or depth of the other Skyhawk books should be recognized and compared and contrasted to mine, which is a bit different than the best of the rest in focus and coverage.* As I said in the preface to my Skyhawk book, the ones by Brad Elward http://www.amazon.com/McDonnell-Douglas-Skyhawk-Crowood-Aviation/dp/1861263406/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1284139127&sr=1-1 and Jim Winchester http://www.amazon.com/DOUGLAS-4-SKYHAWK-Close-Support-Fighter/dp/1844150852/ref=pd_sim_b_2 are terrific: "Just matching them in quality and content was ... hard work."

Further, If you want coverage of the Skyhawk in Vietnam, buy Peter Mersky's book http://www.amazon.com/Marine-Skyhawk-Vietnam-1963-1973-Aircraft/dp/1846031818/ref=pd_sim_b_3, or the Israeli Skyhawks and usage, buy Shlomo Aloni's http://www.amazon.com/Israeli-Skyhawk-Units-Combat-Aircraft/dp/1846034302/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1284139127&sr=1-3-fkmr0. These two books also have illustrations by Jim Laurier.

Steve Ginter's series on the A-4 (as well as just about every one of his titles) is particularly valuable to the modeler and those who want to know which squadrons used which types.

*I have an aeronautic engineering degree and am a pilot, and worked as a flight test engineer and aerospace program manager. That background strongly influences the content of my books. I'm very grateful to Specialty Press and Steve Ginter for their indulgence of what interests me about aircraft projects and naval aviation history.
 

F-14D

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Tailspin Turtle said:
F-14D said:
There may be a bit of a problem here. Both of those ISBNs, depending on where you check, either resolve to "Scooter", or to "Boeing 777 - Airliner Tech Vol. 2" by Jim Upton

Amazon, for example has two different pages for the 777 book, one for the 10 digit and one for the 13 digit ISBN. Interestingly, the 10 digit page also shows a picture of Tommy! The 777 book also shows up on another page with different ISBN numbers which you get to by searching for it by name. Conversely, it's somehow on Tommy's Amazon author page. BTW, Amazon Canada does resolve to "Scooter"

I'd think this was just an Amazon problem, except that there are a number of stores where these ISBNs resolve to the 777 book. Maybe these numbers were originally intended for the 777 book, then it got changed, and they're now being reassigned?
I've informed Specialty Press of the problem.
The problem seems to have been resolved. Whew!
 

Tailspin Turtle

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Now announced on forthcoming books on the Specialty Press web site:

http://www.specialtypress.com/vstore/showdetl.cfm?DID=8&User_ID=2984499&st=632&st2=81099&st3=39453&Product_ID=2276&CATID=1

Barnes & Noble has it as well but Amazon, which usually is cheapest, not yet.
 

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My only contact with the A-4 was a program at Grumman to upgrade A-4Cs, taken out of the desert, for Malaysia. The variant was designated A-4PTM (Peculiar To Malaysia). The upgrade involved adding an A-4F-style avionics hump and other updates. When they got the first airplane into the building in Bethpage, I was told that a couple of live scorpions fell out! I did not see them, but the airplane did smell rather nasty.

Looking at the '50s-vintage drawings, I realized how far we had come. Whereas newer aluminum aircraft typically utilized chem-milling to take weight out in the pockets between substructure components, with thicker lands along the substructure, the A-4 skins were the thickness of the pockets, and waffle-shaped doublers were spotwelded to the skins along the substructure to provide the added thickness! Because the double-thickness in the areas of the fastener attachments precluded the use of countersinking (lest knife-edge conditions occur), the skins were dimpled where flush-head fasteners were needed. Very quaint.....

I hope that some of this is in the new book.....
 

Tailspin Turtle

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gatoraptor said:
My only contact with the A-4 was a program at Grumman to upgrade A-4Cs, taken out of the desert, for Malaysia. The variant was designated A-4PTM (Peculiar To Malaysia). The upgrade involved adding an A-4F-style avionics hump and other updates. When they got the first airplane into the building in Bethpage, I was told that a couple of live scorpions fell out! I did not see them, but the airplane did smell rather nasty.

Looking at the '50s-vintage drawings, I realized how far we had come. Whereas newer aluminum aircraft typically utilized chem-milling to take weight out in the pockets between substructure components, with thicker lands along the substructure, the A-4 skins were the thickness of the pockets, and waffle-shaped doublers were spotwelded to the skins along the substructure to provide the added thickness! Because the double-thickness in the areas of the fastener attachments precluded the use of countersinking (lest knife-edge conditions occur), the skins were dimpled where flush-head fasteners were needed. Very quaint.....

I hope that some of this is in the new book.....
I regret that I didn't mention that particular detail about the wing structure (because I wasn't aware of it; wish I had been) but I did find out that PTM really stood for Persekutan Tanah Melayu (Federation of Malaysia). Another interesting fact was that the six PTM two-seaters were created by Grumman from existing single seaters.
 

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Tommy,

Any word on how the shut down of Speciality Press (see here: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,11543.0.html) will affect your book?

Regards,

Greg
 

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GTX said:
Tommy,

Any word on how the shut down of Speciality Press (see here: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,11543.0.html) will affect your book?

Regards,

Greg
"Missed it by that much..." Scooter! was the farthest along of the five books cancelled. It was ready for print, within days of going to China. My understanding is that it is being shopped to other publishers.
 

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Tailspin Turtle said:
GTX said:
Tommy,

Any word on how the shut down of Speciality Press (see here: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,11543.0.html) will affect your book?

Regards,

Greg
"Missed it by that much..." Scooter! was the farthest along of the five books cancelled. It was ready for print, within days of going to China. My understanding is that it is being shopped to other publishers.
\

I'm sure that you won't have any problem finding a new publishing house? Incidentally, are literary agents prevalent in this niche market?
 

Tailspin Turtle

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TinWing said:
Tailspin Turtle said:
GTX said:
Tommy,

Any word on how the shut down of Speciality Press (see here: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,11543.0.html) will affect your book?

Regards,

Greg
"Missed it by that much..." Scooter! was the farthest along of the five books cancelled. It was ready for print, within days of going to China. My understanding is that it is being shopped to other publishers.
\

I'm sure that you won't have any problem finding a new publishing house? Incidentally, are literary agents prevalent in this niche market?
I don't have one - I'm sure it wouldn't be worth his or her while. I know that Robert Dorr had one for Hell Hawks, but that's a different type of aviation book.
 

gatoraptor

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TinWing said:
Tailspin Turtle said:
GTX said:
Tommy,

Any word on how the shut down of Speciality Press (see here: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,11543.0.html) will affect your book?

Regards,

Greg
"Missed it by that much..." Scooter! was the farthest along of the five books cancelled. It was ready for print, within days of going to China. My understanding is that it is being shopped to other publishers.
\

I'm sure that you won't have any problem finding a new publishing house? Incidentally, are literary agents prevalent in this niche market?
Of all of the new books orphaned by Specialty Press' decision, I think that this one, more than any of the others, has an obvious choice for a new publisher: Naval Institute Press!
 

Tailspin Turtle

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gatoraptor said:
TinWing said:
Tailspin Turtle said:
GTX said:
Tommy,

Any word on how the shut down of Speciality Press (see here: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,11543.0.html) will affect your book?

Regards,

Greg
"Missed it by that much..." Scooter! was the farthest along of the five books cancelled. It was ready for print, within days of going to China. My understanding is that it is being shopped to other publishers.
\

I'm sure that you won't have any problem finding a new publishing house? Incidentally, are literary agents prevalent in this niche market?
Of all of the new books orphaned by Specialty Press' decision, I think that this one, more than any of the others, has an obvious choice for a new publisher: Naval Institute Press!
I've already asked Specialty to offer it to the Institute if that wasn't already their intention.
 

Tailspin Turtle

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I received an email from Crécy Publishing today. The status and plan:

"We have received discs from Specialty containing the material for the book and we have almost completed the cataloguing and checking of the contents of the discs and confirming how far the editing and design process has been completed. Once we have this information and have confirmed compatibility with our design software, we will be in a position to place the books in our publication and marketing schedule."

As far as I know, Scooter was ready to print except possibly for a final production step, adding page numbers to the index.
 

AL

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Tommy, Amazon UK is now showing a June release from Crecy.
 

F-14D

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AL said:
Tommy, Amazon UK is now showing a June release from Crecy.
OK Tommy, what's Amazon USA got against you?

They're showing a June 1 release date for "Scooter: The Douglas A4D Skyhawk Story"
by--Erik Simonsen
 

Tailspin Turtle

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F-14D said:
AL said:
Tommy, Amazon UK is now showing a June release from Crecy.
OK Tommy, what's Amazon USA got against you?

They're showing a June 1 release date for "Scooter: The Douglas A4D Skyhawk Story"
by--Erik Simonsen
I'm getting used to database weirdness on my behalf. For the second year in a row, apparently in conjunction with my annual temporary relocation to Texas and the forwarding of my mail, a Post Office computer appears to have randomly selected one of my magazine subscriptions and directed the magazine publisher to change my permanent mailing address to one that doesn't have anything to do with me. The Post Office admits that it has happened but claims that it's not possible.
 

bercr

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Hi Tommy, I saw that your book will be published by Crecy, but do you know if the book will look just like a Specialty Press one, I mean with beautiful and sharp reproduction of the black and white photos, and will have the same layout with big photos, not 2 inches X 2 inches wan and soft photos...

Thank you very much
 

Tailspin Turtle

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bercr said:
Hi Tommy, I saw that your book will be published by Crecy, but do you know if the book will look just like a Specialty Press one, I mean with beautiful and sharp reproduction of the black and white photos, and will have the same layout with big photos, not 2 inches X 2 inches wan and soft photos...

Thank you very much
I reviewed and approved the Crecy layout a couple of weeks ago so I can say with confidence that it is just like my other books from Specialty Press. However, I don't know whether it will be printed on the same paper stock, which might affect the reproduction quality. According to Amazon, it will be available in mid to late September.
 

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Chris Gibson's recent book was very nicely done and matched the standards of Speciality Press, IMHO.
 

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overscan said:
Chris Gibson's recent book was very nicely done and matched the standards of Speciality Press, IMHO.
Vulcan's Hammer ? The publisher is Hikoki Publications. Will Tommy's book be published by Hikoki or Crecy ?
 

Tailspin Turtle

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Thanks for that. There have been a couple of changes since that version: Crecy agreed to reinstate the exclamation point and add the A-4 Skyhawk Association badge. I subsequently asked them to add "Foreword by Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, USN (Ret.) but only if they thought it wouldn't make the cover too busy.
 

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F-14D

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Amazon US is now posting a Sept. 14 availability date, and they say my order will be in my hot little hands Sept. 16.
 

Tailspin Turtle

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You know more than I do. All I know is, it was ready to go to the printers a month or so ago. I made some last-minute changes and corrections. It looked good to me.

Usually, the printer airships a few copies hot off the press and the author gets one, which I haven't seen yet. The rest are put in a container and come over by ship a few weeks later. However, the container doesn't go until it's full or close to full so it could be a month.
 

F-14D

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Just checked, they're still saying I'll have it Sept. 16.
 

Tailspin Turtle

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Good news - I just got my advance copy in the mail today so the printing is done and the boat should be leaving soon with the print run, if it hasn't already. That supports mid-September availability from Amazon if nothing goes sideways or under.

I'm very pleased to report that the reproduction quality is the equal of my other books that were done by Specialty Press.
 

F-14D

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Well, I was looking forward to my copy today, but didn't get it. Checked with Amazon, and in the last day or so they've put up a note that I have to approve by Oct. 15 an extension on when it might come. They no longer have a delivery date, and show it as "out of stock".

(cue "Dragnet" theme)
 

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Thanks for the update. I had an invite to be at Tailhook in the Skyhawk Association booth and sign books. I suggested that to Specialty, who wanted to do it. I never heard back and I suspect that the problem is that the books are on a slow boat or maybe even still waiting for the container to fill up.
 

F-14D

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Tailspin Turtle said:
Thanks for the update. I had an invite to be at Tailhook in the Skyhawk Association booth and sign books. I suggested that to Specialty, who wanted to do it. I never heard back and I suspect that the problem is that the books are on a slow boat or maybe even still waiting for the container to fill up.
So, you're saying it's on...(wait for it) ♫a slow boat from China♫?
 

Tailspin Turtle

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F-14D said:
Tailspin Turtle said:
Thanks for the update. I had an invite to be at Tailhook in the Skyhawk Association booth and sign books. I suggested that to Specialty, who wanted to do it. I never heard back and I suspect that the problem is that the books are on a slow boat or maybe even still waiting for the container to fill up.
So, you're saying it's on...(wait for it) ♫a slow boat from China♫?
I was hoping somebody would get it... (the allusion and soon, the book)
 

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I thought authors were supposed to get several copies. Note to self - if I become a publisher, hold a dozen or so back in an airmail box for just such an occasion.
 

Tailspin Turtle

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pathology_doc said:
I thought authors were supposed to get several copies. Note to self - if I become a publisher, hold a dozen or so back in an airmail box for just such an occasion.

The author generally does get several copies. Eventually. My experience is that the publisher has some small number of books from the print run sent to him by air mail. One of those goes to the author. Books being heavy and expensive to ship, the reminder are sent by the cheapest possible mode, in this case in a container on a ship coming from China. And the container may not leave until it's full of books if the shipping cost is for a container rather than by weight...
 
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