X-planes of Europe: Secret Research Aircraft from the Golden Age 1947-1967

overscan (PaulMM)

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Well, Amazon have revealed Tony Buttler's next project...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/X-planes-Europe-Research-Aircraft-1947-1967/dp/1580071597/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281957019&sr=1-6

Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Specialty Pr Pub & Wholesalers (15 Feb 2011)
Language English
ISBN-10: 1580071597
ISBN-13: 978-1580071598
 

AeroFranz

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Neat. Tony chose a good topic. There is potential for seldom if ever published material there. :)
 

edwest2

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Secret Research from the Golden Age 1947-1967. Scheduled for February 2011 from Specialty Press.





Usual disclaimer,
Ed
 

Sundog

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So will this cover most of the secret projects from Europe, excepting what was already published in the British Hypersonics book? I guess what I'm asking is it won't cover what was already released, since we have that anyway, right? I'll definitely be looking forward to a lot of the French high speed work.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Having seen the interest generated by Specialty's 'The X-Planes of Europe', I thought I had better supply some additional information.

My input was to write about the British research types that we wanted to include, plus a couple of German V/STOL (VJ 101 and VAK 191), one Swedish (Saab 210) and one Swiss (the Arbalete). We have included types that broke new ground in some way - AW.52 (flying wing), SR.A./1 (boat fighter), etc, but not those that were essentially prototypes or demo aircraft for future service aeroplanes (so aircraft such as the P.1052/P.1081 for example were not included).
I have tried to introduce as much new info as I could find. For example the Hunting H.126 chapter includes drawings of the Hunting JFR.12 design that led to it and also the Avro 746 study.

A really important element of the book, however, will be coverage of plenty of French types in English language when so little has been available in the past. The research and writing has been done by a French chap who I have not met, with editing by Mike Machat.

With Specialty's excellent production standards this should be a nice package. In fact, if you want a good marker for the quality of Specialty's editing and production, go and compare their new book on the Grumman Panther/Cougar against Schiffer's new title on the Vought F7U Cutlass. The very expensive Cutlass book is really rather poor.

Just to keep you posted on my output, I have just handed over to Ian Allan a colour photo album for British Military Aircraft 1945-1970. All real aeroplanes of course, but there are some very rare subjects in it which I hope will appeal to the modeller.
On the projects side Aviation News has been publishing pieces every month since about April - Westland Jet aircraft projects for example, and another providing some background to the weapon system concept.
I hope at least some members will find these of interest.

American Secret Projects: Bombers by the way should currently be at the printers.

Many thanks once again to everyone for their support.
Very best wishes,
Tony
 

gatoraptor

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Here's a first look at the cover art; I'm sure that a larger version will be forthcoming fairly soon:
 

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fudge

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Hi

I received a notification today from Amazon that my pre-order for this book was cancelled as it was now unlikely to be released which is a great shame, does anyone know if another publisher will take up the baton on this one please?

Alan
 

AL

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Now shown for Oct release by Hikoki Publications.
 

gatoraptor

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And here's the revised cover art as of now:
 

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Firebee

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SAAB 210 gets a cover shot on the new version. Great! Also, as per the subtitle it seems to cover an additional 10 year span.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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I spoke to Tony when I was in England recently - the book is being expanded in scope, due to the change in publisher, which is why its been delayed. Should be an even better book when it arrives!
 

Stargazer2006

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Can't wait to see this one released. It will be nice to have a comprehensive book on "X" planes other than the U.S. and German types, which seems to be all that the publishers have been willing (able?) to put out until now...
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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The book is complete, now being redesigned. It *may* be done in time for Scale Modelworld 2011 at Telford.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Hi All.
Just to let you know that I understand the 'X-Planes of Europe' should be going to the printers early next week, so I hope it will be available (in the UK at least) say by the end of April. I have just put the index together - the design job looks pretty good I think. This is a Hikoki title and so will be in the same format at Chris' marvellous 'Vulcan's Hammer'.

From Tony.
 

gatoraptor

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A better image of the new cover design, courtesy of Crecy's website:
 

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sferrin

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Any idea why he's not going with the same cover format as the rest of the Secret Projects series? :eek:
 

gatoraptor

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sferrin said:
Any idea why he's not going with the same cover format as the rest of the Secret Projects series? :eek:

It's not part of that series. Those were Midland books from Ian Allan; this one is a Hikoki book from Crecy.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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From Tony Buttler:

Just to let you know that I understand the bulk of 'X-Planes of Europe' arrived in the UK last week, so individual deliveries should not be long arriving now. I am really pleased with the design and production.
 

foiling

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If I understand correctly, amazon.co.uk has stock of this book; as I received a note on 28th May stating that the book should arrive at my home in South Africa by 20th June. That suggests that it has been posted.
 

leeds

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Received my copy on wednesday,just flicked through it, and I'm very pleased with the photo content, and the large amount of French projects.I am not an expert on x planes, but was surprised by the lack of any Italian projects. Overall though I am very happy with the book. :)
 

Hobbes

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Yep, mine has arrived as well. Initial impression is good, haven't had time for a proper look yet.
 

uk 75

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Waterstones in Oxford has a copy and I browsed through it. As has been said already it is a high quality tome. At 34 quid it was a bit outside my interest range which is more in the paper projects than those that actually flew.

As an example, I am very interested in the 60s vstol NATO Air Force proposals. This book has some interesting material on the Mirage III vstol and the German VJ 101 and VAK 191 but much of this is already available in other sources like old magazine articles and other books. It is a sign of the times that a few sides on various Internet sites provide me more info and pics than any book on my pet niche subjects.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Ralph, if you are expecting a book on unbuilt projects then you will probably be disappointed - this is a book about experimental research aircraft and Tony was pretty clear about that from the beginning. If that's not your thing, you don't have to buy it. It may not be your cup of tea exactly, but its a really good book on its own merits, from one of the last remaining traditional publishers putting out the kind of books we like on this forum, and I think that deserves support, not criticism.
 

CJGibson

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Well, that's a disappointing post UK75, I expected you to be more supportive of such books. There's a thread on this forum about books we'd like to see produced - X-planes of Europe reflected that sentiment, Tony and Jean-Louis responded and, along with Crecy (ok, I'm biased), should be congratulated for doing so.

It's in Waterstones in Newcastle as well. However, next to it is the "Big Boys Book of Aeroplanes in Colour by Ed Reardon" and that's the future if books such as X-planes of Europe don't receive our support.

So, you can't have it both ways. Not everyone has an archive of mag articles like you and I.

Out of interest, how much of the material in P.1216 and the Admiralty and AEW was on the internet? If its more than 50% I'll be reaching for my favourite malt and my Webley.

Chris
 

uk 75

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Overscan, Chris

First of all, I am sorry that I did not know the background to this book and I was only commenting with "first impressions" from my selfish view as an old buffer in this subject.

I do have some comments on your replies.

I think you will agree that I have always tried to buy books on subjects of interest to me as soon as possible and then comment to their authors on this site, usually in a positive and supportive manner.

Chris, if you had produced a 30 Pound book called "British AEW and ASW aircraft the Golden Years 1949 to 1967" and filled it with pictures of actual aircraft like the Gannet, Shackleton and Nimrod that are already plentiful in a range of sources, then yes I would not have bought your book and would have rued the absence of the wonderful things you included in your Folio (I am pedantic and use the term "book" in this thread to refer to a big hardback like the Euro X Planes book), which I rushed to buy and treasure more than an old Webley.

I have looked again at my complaint and think that what I object to is books with titles like "Post War British Airliners" or "Xplanes of Europe" that surround some interesting new material with a lot of other stuff which is readily available either in existing books or online. This X planes book is a series of magazine articles bound together much like old editions of "Air Enthusiast". It is a high quality book but one which I suspect will be available in the second hand market fairly quickly as purchasers take a closer look and realise like me that a lot of it is stuff they already have.

And yes, as the "customer" rather than the "supplier" of course I would have rushed out to buy a Folio called Unbuilt European Projects or better still Unbuilt French projects of the 60s or German projects of the 60s. But then as I am used to being told in Britain "Sorry sir there is no demand for it".
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Fair enough Ralph, you are entitled to your opinion. I think for many readers, the "old stuff" you mention may be new to them too. Don't forget not every potential purchaser has an attic full of old aircraft mags and books.


Anyone else bought the book? What did you think?
 

Barrington Bond

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Me!
Bought from Amazon for a tenner less after I browsed through part of it at a library.
Good quality photo reproduction with little bleed through from the opposite page - good thick paper quality.
Good mix of actual built and some alternative drawings and diagrams.
Haven't actually read it yet but there was one amusing anecdote I spotted when flicking through.
Annoying points - a few pages hadn't been cut properly and were stuck at the top.
The two page Flight cutaways I would have preferred to be on one page as you miss the detail in the middle.
One I can't quite put my finger on but I didn't like how the colour profiles were presented on the page...
Had a sore left wrist the next day from browsing it on the sofa the previous night...

...and yes I probably have all the aforementioned "old" mags in the attic, living room, shed, garage and still at my parents ;D

Regards,
Barry
 

CJGibson

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UK75, you have indeed been supportive of authors on this forum, for which you certainly have my thanks, and that is why I found your post so disappointing.

Yes, I've bought X-Planes and what it gives me is access to information on the many projects that French companies have worked on since 1945. I've been looking for a book on Fench aircraft, in English, for years and despite having quite a few books on these, in French (such as Cuny), my grasp of the language (school-boy French, topped up by working on a rig in the Congo, that has raised a few eye-brows on trips to La Republique) isn't good enough to allow full-access to the information inn these books. My "Robert" doesn't contain words like "stratoreacteur".

So X-planes of Europe gives me the info on French research aircraft that I want, in English. It has, oddly enough, led to a couple of "Oh, it's a SCYTHE!" moments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sl3IW-pPMyU

Air Enthusiast articles? Nope. Not long enough, and that's where the Project Tech Profile was pitched. Anyway, many of us mourn the passing of Air Enthusiast as it provided in-depth coverage of historic subjects by writers who did the research and produced a bit more than the 1500 words/10 pics on the F-35 that are the norm in the current mags.

So, even if X-planes is a series of Air Enthusiast articles, I certainly don't see that as a bad thing.

In summary..

X-planes contains a lot of info that is new to me, even on British aircraft, specifically the BAC.222 planform, the Shorts PR type and, as for that Bristol Type 188 carrier-borne interceptor, well, who'd've thought. The availablity of information on French types, in English, has been patchy, but X-planes addresses that and clarifies many of the questions I had from reading books in French.

I agree with Barry on the cutaways across the page, but that's a publisher decision, not the writers'. Same goes for the colour profiles, never been a fan of these anyway.

I disagree that existing material covers these sufficiently already. One thing I've learned from spending too much time in archives is that much of what was published during the Gunstonian Epoch was party-line stuff. Tony and Jean-Louis' book updates this information, places it in its proper context and, as a single-volume reference, is a valuable resource. That's why I bought it.

Chris
 

Jemiba

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I already have quite a lot of material about most of the aircraft covered in "X-planes of Europe", nevertheless,
there still are enough new pictures and, not the least, new insights and opinions to make a worthwhile. And, as
Chris wrote, it's a lot easier for me, too, to read it in English...
For someone, who has all issues of Air Enthusiast, Le Fana and the like on the attic, or at least easy access to, those
books probably aren't exactly, what he's looking for. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people, apart from all shelf
and boxes, there are always gaps.
And maybe in a certain way I have become quite modest in the meantime. Still remember the excitement, when I got
the Cuny books, or "Project cancelled". where there was an eye-opener at least on every second page. But we have
seen so much more in all those years, sensational findings (in the field we are especially interested in) have become
rare and happily saluted events.
 

uk 75

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I am grateful for the info you have given me on the French part of this book, and I will take a closer look at it.

However, I really hate the drawings. These aircraft existed and in the 21st Century a decent three view artwork should be possible.

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1972/1972%20-%200824.html?search=VAK 191 cutaway

I am not sure if this link works but Flight managed it back in the 60s 70s

UK 75
 
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