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Dan F

Aviation Reading and FSX

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Fellow pilots,

 

I just wanted to throw some material out for suggestion as it seems most pilots share some similar interests. In down-time between classes I have been able to read some very good books on historical aviation that have caused me to spend $$$ on FSX add-ons but also to break up the monotony of my simming. Most of my reads are related to wartime aviation development and flight but to be quite honest it makes for amazing reading considering what these individuals faced and how they survived to "tell the tale". These books help me see FSX in a whole new light because the sim and its add-ons allow me to "touch" the machines I could never even get close to in real life...much less pilot them.

 

My list:

"I Could Never Be So Lucky Again"

An autobiography by Gen. Jimmy Doolittle. Amazing and it really tells a quite enthralling tale about where modern aviation started in the US and where it went during and after WWII. Also, some insights into historical events from the lips of the man himself. If you don't want to fly a B-25 after this I am not sure you are a pilot!

 

"Flying the SR-71 Blackbird"

This book is written by a former "Habu" Col. Richard H. Graham and describes in detail the history and operational details of the SR-71 and it's brethren. This book was so immersive that I went on a couple's getaway with the wife and I simply could not put it down! I pulled my old Alphasim (now Virtavia) SR-71 out of the hangar and just flew her all over the world! The wife was upset...but my SR-71 was happy! This will teach you to fly this bird and to respect just how AMAZING it is that it even exists.

 

"Fighter Pilot"

A posthumously written and published autobiography of USAF Brig. General Robin "Olds" Olds. This man was a true aviator and basically lived the lives of 10 men in one! To have flown even 1 of the aircraft he did throughout his USAF career would have been an accomplishment...but to start on the P-38 and end up having stick time in even our modern "teen-series" fighters is AMAZING. He is best known as the mastermind behind "Operation Bolo" during Vietnam and I admit after this book I am hankering for a very good F-4D for FSX...but I can't tell if one exists. The existing ones are OK...but nothing like the product Milviz puts out... so if it takes me sending the Milviz team each a copy of this book to get one... just let me know where to mail them! After this my Alphasim (now Virtavia) F-105 will get some work... Also, I am thinking I will get Weapon X and go "up North" and make some MiG-21's go down in flames. Shame we do not have a sharp F-4. Anyone out there know of a good MiG-21?

 

"Red Eagles"

A history of the United States's acquisition and "exploitation" of MiG fighter aircraft. Simply amazing book, tons of details, great stories (even about Area 51) and lots of intimate details about the MiG-17, MiG-21, MiG-23, T-38, and F-5E. I think Milviz will be getting some of my business REALLY soon...like after I post this. Also a good history of how Red Flag and US Aggressor squadrons came into existence. The F-5 and T-38 flew very similar to MiG's of the time and they played a key role in training USAF pilots to fly against MiG pilots.

 

"Untouchables"

Written by Brian Shul a "Habu". This is a beautiful book with tons of pictures and some great stories about the Habu (SR-71). You really feel like you are in that cockpit and after you finish if you load up the Virtavia SR-71 and go on an op...well it makes EVERY $$$ you spend on FSX worth it. Its a short read but when I really want to love that bird I give it a read...especially when he talks about delivering Khadafi some sonic booms.

 

That is all for now and if anyone knows of an F-4 or MiG-21 and some good Vietnam scenery please feel free to post and let me know. These books resulted in dollars spent and hours of FSX fun and I hope there are some other books you fellow pilots can recommend.


Daniel Fernandez

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I could recommend you hundreds of books LOL, but I'll stick to a few on the subjects which might appeal to you...

 

Thud Ridge - Jack Broughton's autobiographical account of flying the F-105 over Vietnam from bases in Thailand, dodging SAMs and MiGs to strike targets deep in the North. Like many Vietnam War biographies, this is a bitter tale, with that bitterness apparent in Broughton's writing, but in equal measure, it is also a brutally honest stance with much to merit that approach. It is full of really interesting information about the actual flying of missions, with some great narrative passages of the arduous dangers encountered on the long missions flown by the F-105. Not an easy book to read, but one which will certainly educate anyone interested in the details.

 

A Lonely Kind of War - Marshall Harrison's autobiographical tale of his combat tours when flying the OV-10 Bronco as a Forward Air Controller over Vietnam. This is a truly outstanding book, Harrison is an engaging writer who manages to tell the tale of his brave and skillful exploits in a modest yet thrilling and amusing way. His description of a wide range of endeavours in one of the most dangerous, yet least glamourous of Air Force pilot jobs, is astonishingly vivid, including a great narrative of every combat pilot's nightmare - ejecting over enemy terrain and having to evade capture. Probably one of the best pieces of writing ever to have come out of the Vietnam War, and one which everyone who is interested in aeroplanes will enjoy immensely.

 

Chickenhawk - Robert Mason's autobiographical recounting of his time as a UH-1D Huey pilot in Vietnam, flying troops into and out of battle and roughing it on makeshift bases. This book has been described by as 'the best book to have come out of Vietnam' by many people, and I would not disagree with that. Good descriptions of flying helicopters, from the struggle to learn to fly them, to becoming a real expert on the things, with excellent descriptions of operational flying and the daily traumas of being in the thick of flying where the enemy's bullets were also doing plenty of flying.

 

Fate is the Hunter - Ernest K Gann's autobiographical account of beginning as a ham-fisted fledgling airline pilot on DC-2s and DC-3s, continuing through his mastery of those aircraft and on to his exploits in piloting WW2 transport aircraft. There is no question that this is certainly the best book about flying ever written; one where the prose is equal to the drama in every way. A prolific author of many aviation tales, Gann's writing ability is peerless, and it is this which makes his descriptions of flying in dangerous situations some real edge of the seat stuff. There are some real gems in this book, for example, you won't ever read a better description of the uneasiness one feels as one approaches a massive thunderstorm, which will certainly ring true with you if you have ever been in that situation. If I were to recommend just one book about the magical allure of flying, it would certainly be Fate is the Hunter.

 

Yeager - Chuck Yeager's autobiography, which is every bit as thrilling and exciting as you would expect it to be, and it is remarkably frank too. Covers from when he was a child growing up in abject poverty in a shack, through his remarkable exploits in WW2 on Mustangs with Clarence 'Bud' Anderson in their legendary P-51s - Glamourous Glennis and Old Crow - on through busting the sound barrier and the testing of a captured MiG-15, up to his involvement with further work as a test pilot, including his famous scrape with the F-104 and his love of the F-5/F-20. It is a real pleasure to read about this remarkable man who came from such humble beginnings, yet made it all the way up to being a General.

 

Wing Leader - J E 'Johnnie' Johnson's WW2 autobiography, which amongst many other things, contains some of the best descriptions of air combat ever written. If you want to know what it was like to be in a dogfight over France in WW2, then this is the book to read, as it will really put you there in its frank, edge of the seat descriptions of flying a Spitfire against bf109s and Fw-190s. Can't recommend this one highly enough, it is a fantastic read, Johnson's modest tone matches the modesty of his recounting the tale of undoubted skills as a fighter pilot. Covers the entire period of his involvement in WW2, from the tail end of the Battle of Britain, through to escorting bombers into Europe, and then as a pilot moving forward with the advance on Berlin. It also offers a remarkable insight into the charismatic leadership of Douglas Bader, with whom Johnson does not always agree. Bader wrote a forward to many editions of this book which you can find.

 

King of Air Fighters - Ira Jones' biography of his friend, Edward Mannock, with whom he flew in WW1. This is quite a hard book to find, although worth the effort of doing so. It was written after WW1 and of course after Mannock was killed, but in a period where anti-German sentiment was strong in Britain with WW2 on the way, and that shows in Jones' writing. But if you can tolerate its anti-German sentiments, it is well worth reading, as it is a brilliant insight into Edward Mannock's dazzling charisma and generous no-nonsense personality. It features many of Mannock's letters home to his friends, which offer an intruiging look into the wit and intelligence of a man who was perhaps the most inspirational fighter pilot ever.

 

And on the subject of simulated F-4s and MiG-21s...

 

What you probably ought to check out for flight simming Vietnam with MiG 21s and F-4s, is the combat flight sim Wings Over Vietnam, by developer Third Wire. There are a number of add-ons for it, including photorealistic terrain, with notably from FSX developer RAZBAM, lots of add-on aircraft available too, including an excellent A-1 Skyraider, which I can certainly recommend.

 

Al


Alan Bradbury

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Chock,

 

Thanks for that. Looking into WOV...but I will admit to a level of "sim-snobbing" after having acclimated to the quality of certain FSX add-ons.


Daniel Fernandez

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Yeah, WOV is not up there with the likes of DCS by any stretch, but is is kind of entertaining if you like the Vietnam era and want a combat sim set in that period. A better Vietnam era flight sim in terms of realistic flight modeling, is 1C's Whirlwind of Vietnam, which is not fixed wing stuff, but involves flying UH-1C Huey gunships, that one even has VRS and the infamous 'Huey tuck' simulated on the chopper, which is something that even FSX can't do, so its a really convincing flight sim of a Huey. Shame it only has 12 missions in the entire game, but if you've seen the movie or read the book We Were Soldiers, you will certainly recognise the first couple of missions it has.

 

Al


Alan Bradbury

Check out my youtube flight sim videos: Here

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Im reading "Skygods: The Fall of Pan-Am" on my kindle right now...very good read


Tramps like us, baby we were born to run......

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Good reccomendation Al.

Yeah Chickenhawk is brilliant.My uncle gave it to me to read.He is a Vietnam veteran.

Awesome read!!


DIMITRI

gametab-dcs-p-51d-mustang.jpgcrawling_bug.gif

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The Big Show by Pierre Clostermann (or Le Grand Cirque if you prefer to read the French original). Clostermann was a French pilot who flew for the RAF during WW2, and I found this a really great read.

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My personal favorite is by ' Mark Berent ' , he logged 4,350 hrs flying time , with over 1,000 hrs in

combat during his 3 tours of Vietnam.

 

His book is actually 5 books (ea about 300 pages) , they run in chronological order,

titles are:-

Rolling Thunder

Steel Tiger

Phantom leader

Eagle station

Storm flight

 

With his background , he really puts you in the cockpit strapped in to an ejector seat and living

in that theatre of operations.

 

A truely awesome read .

 

Cheers

Karol

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Two more:

 

Title: Combat ready .

the making of a fighter pilot.

Author: David Mason.

ISBN: 0 7475 0259 5

 

Title: Phantom from the Cockpit.

flying the legend.

Author: Peter Caygill.

ISBN: 1 84415 225 1

 

Cheers

Karol

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(1) "Stick and Rudder" by Wolfgang Langewiesche

The classic 1944 theory and practice of flight for the layman -- still a great read

 

(2) "Week-end Pilot" by Frank Smith

A fun story by an ordinary guy learning to fly a Cessna 140

 

(3) "Flights of Fancy" by Frank Smith

Follow-on of his adventures after upgrading to a Piper Comanche

 

(4) "Confessions of a Pilot" by Gene Seibel

Another learning-to-fly story in a Piper Tri-Pacer

 

(5) "Forever Flying" by Bob Hoover

Autobiography of the legendary test and stunt pilot

 

(6) "The Blond Knight of Germany" by Toliver and Constable

Biography of Erich Hartmann, the highest-scoring fighter pilot of WWII (352 confirmed kills)

 

(7) "The Few" by Alex Kershaw

American fighter pilots who flew for the RAF before Pearl Harbor

 

John

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First Light, by Geoffrey Wellum

 

Biography of a Spitfire pilot in WW2. Absolutely delightful!

 

One review on Amazon:

 

"You'd think that after 50 years, all the worthwhile first-person there-I-was accounts of flying Spitfires in the Battle of Britain would have been published. You'd be wrong.

 

This is an exceptionally well written book that gently yet almost instantly transports you to England, 1939. You'll go through RAF flight training, and then be behind a V12 Merlin over Kent in the middle of the Battle of Britain. There are hundreds of such true tales - and I've read most of them - but this is clearly one of the best.

 

'Boy' Wellum not only takes us inside the cockpit, but inside the emotions of a young man at war, and inside an amazing time and place in world history. If you are a pilot looking for what it was like to fly the Tiger Moth, Harvard, then at 168 hours climb into a Spitfire, this is the book for you. And if you are interested in a literate immersion into The Few, this is the book for you."

Just an excellent book.

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Chickenhawk - Robert Mason's autobiographical recounting of his time as a UH-1D Huey pilot in Vietnam, flying troops into and out of battle and roughing it on makeshift bases. This book has been described by as 'the best book to have come out of Vietnam' by many people, and I would not disagree with that. Good descriptions of flying helicopters, from the struggle to learn to fly them, to becoming a real expert on the things, with excellent descriptions of operational flying and the daily traumas of being in the thick of flying where the enemy's bullets were also doing plenty of flying.

 

Yeager - Chuck Yeager's autobiography, which is every bit as thrilling and exciting as you would expect it to be, and it is remarkably frank too. Covers from when he was a child growing up in abject poverty in a shack, through his remarkable exploits in WW2 on Mustangs with Clarence 'Bud' Anderson in their legendary P-51s - Glamourous Glennis and Old Crow - on through busting the sound barrier and the testing of a captured MiG-15, up to his involvement with further work as a test pilot, including his famous scrape with the F-104 and his love of the F-5/F-20. It is a real pleasure to read about this remarkable man who came from such humble beginnings, yet made it all the way up to being a General.

 

 

I read Chickenhawk back in the early 90's and agree that it was a great book. When I got it at the library I was kind of hesitant to read it due mainly to the fact that I wasn't that interested in a Vietman war story, but after the first chapter I couldn't put it down.

 

Yeager was also a great read. Living not that far from Edwards at the time I was very interested in the test flight facility and of course had to read Yeager. Like Chickenhawk, once I started Yeager, I couldn't out it down and finished in a matter of days. I also read the follow up book called Press On, but it wasn't as gripping as his first book.

 

Another few good books that haven't been mentioned are:

 

We Seven: By the Astronauts Themselves - written by the Mercury astronauts and recounts their flying adventures leading up to their involvement in the Mercury program. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1580330.We_Seven

 

Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journey - written by Michael Collins. Talkes about his experience growing up, going thru military training, becoming a test pilot and later an astronaut. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/612456.Carrying_the_Fire


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+1 on "Stick and Rudder"

I've been reading it for some time and it is really a great book.

 

Some points of it:

AOA is the most important thing of flight.

Rudder is only to mend the fault left by designer

The "glide line" concept for glide/descend path judge and control

How to land a tail dragger

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