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Friend John Baxter reviews a wide range of books that may
interest Members of the Friends
Flying Wings and Radical Things
Northrop’s Secret Aerospace Projects & Concepts
Ok, many of you know my penchant for those aircraft deemed ‘secret
projects’ or more precisely the aircraft that usually didn’t proceed
beyond either a sketch, or brief plans, or technical drawings, model
or maybe just a prototype – anything that was considered however
briefly but never made it into service. I’ve seen and reviewed a lot of
books on these aircraft over the years but this one is a stand out!
This has WOW factor! I mean it. The many concepts and real
aircraft types within this book by Tony Chong (Northrop Grumman
Aerospace Systems, Sector Historian) cover a fifty-five year span
and the range is phenomenal. It’s published by Specialty Press, is
hard back with laminated covers and dustjacket. It’s all printed on
quality stock so all photos, drawings and text are sharp, crisp and
Usually when you first think of Northrop, it’s the flying wings that
come to mind. So that’s a good starting point, but this goes much
further. Fighters, interceptors, bombers, close air support and
attack aircraft, VTOL, STOL, trainers, cargo and airliner flying
wings, missiles, space craft and so it goes. Even Advanced Energy
Manoeuvrability Fighters, and of all things, the Truck-Airplane-Boat
(TAB) on pages 174 and 5.
It contains 75 colour and 400 b&w photos and drawings within the
240 pages so that’s profusely illustrated in any one’s language.
There are only seven chapters (only?) but there’s extensive endnotes
concluding each and they also make great reading. A short Epilogue
brings us up to date with Northrop Grumman Corporation and briefly
mentions it’s winning the B-21 long-range strike bomber program
– that’s yet another tale. The appendices are in tabular format and
provide much statistical data and it concludes with a glossary and a
very, very extensive bibliography.
Let’s be clear, it is not a history of Northrop Grumman. It’s a small
peek at what this company has achieved and where imaginative
minds and aeronautical engineers can take us. Is it any good? Yes!
Would I recommend it? Yes. I’ll admit my enthusiasm for the ‘what
ifs’ might make me slightly biased, but this is more than bias. This
publication is very, very good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s eye-
This is a great book for any aviation and military enthusiast at a
competitive price. I luckily received an early copy but it will be
available from Hyland’s Bookshop in Melbourne hylandsbookshop@
gmail.com or 03 9654 7448 for about $80.
Once again, very many thanks to Ms Orietta Colussi of DLS Australia
for the review copy.
French Secret Projects
1 – Post War Fighters
274 pages, 67 colour photos, 15 colour illustrations, 112 black and
white photos, 65 black and white illustrations, 191 black and white
three-views. That’s the illustrative content of ‘French Secret Projects
1 – Post War Fighters’. Ok, so it’s got a lot of pictures, is that enough?
In many cases the answer to that is a simple ‘yes’. But there’s nothing
simple about this book. It’s right up there among the better books in
the ‘Secret Projects’ series as far as I’m concerned and that alone is
not a simple thing to say. If you’ve read my reviews on these books
before, then you know I’m a fan. But it’s no good just saying a book
is good. There has to be supporting evidence. And this has it in vast
There’s a certain amount of Luftwaffe 1946 elements in the early
years and for good reason, but there’s a much greater amount of
French ingenuity and cold hard thought gone into resurrecting a
shattered aviation industry post war and author Jean-Christophe
Carbonel has achieved something extremely beneficial to we amateur
aviation historians, aviation enthusiasts and those simply looking for a
book that’s readable, informative and even educational in the aviation
sphere. He’s done it so well that it ticks each of those boxes.
All the statistics, bar one, are at the start of this review. That other
is the staggering number of projects recorded within and I didn’t
Aerogram March 2017
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