HPM015 The Speed Saga: FD-2 and BAC.221
Henry Matthews & Peter Davison: Preface by Peter Twiss 176 pages
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This book, the biggest HPM book so far, has been in the making for more than ten years, but it was decided to rush it into print in late 2005 after long-hidden stacks of exclusive documents were acquired, making it possible at last to tell the complete story of Fairey Delta 2 (FD-2) and BAC.221 in stunning detail, and in time for the 50th anniversary of the record speed flight of Peter Twiss.
Two decades of high-speed flight research are show-cased in this big book, YEAR by YEAR, from the FIRST FLIGHT of FD-2, in 1954, to its FINAL FLIGHT, as BAC.221, in 1973. The highly public absolute world speed record flight is amply covered, as are the excursions to France and Norway, but much cutting edge research by the RAE on the second FD-2 is revealed here too, from the low-altitude supersonic bang research to radar, nozzles, Red Top and wing glove research.
Read this book, see the pictures, loaned from private collections of key project players, watch the action as if you were there, at Boscombe Down, Farnborough, Bedford and then at Cazaux in France and Sola in Norway. Read the biographies of the pilots from Fairey’s Peter Twiss to BAC’s Godfrey Auty and to the RAE’s Dennis Tayler “Britain’s smallest test pilot…”
And if that’s not enough, you’ll read here the personal recollections of the project personnel, from Jack Gaston de Coninck who filmed the two first flights of WG774, to Eric Donald who tested the FD-2 under water, to Elizabeth Mann who tested the flutter simulator, to test pilot Clive Rustin whose emergency blow down system saved the BAC.221, to the incredible Peter Twiss, successfully belly-landing the aircraft with a dead engine, and full fuel load.
The icing on the cake is the flight log section of the book listing almost each of the 503 flights made by FD-2 WG774, the 429 flights by FD-2 WG777 and the 288 flights by BAC.221 WG774. You will get to know who flew what and when. You will be in the cockpit with the pilot and on the ground with the boffins and ground crew.