The Royal Air Force at Home, The History of RAF Air Displays From 1920, Ian Smith Watson

The Royal Air Force at Home, The History of RAF Air Displays From 1920, Ian Smith Watson

If I'm being honest this book is aimed at a specialist audience that I'm not a member of - the air show enthusiast - making it a little hard for me to judge its success. The accounts of the air shows themselves are interspersed with examinations of the internal policies of the RAF towards the shows, the political and financial backdrops to events, and the impact of the constant decline in the size of the RAF establishment, both in the number of shows each year and the number of aircraft available to take part in them.

The second part of the book looks each type of aircraft that featured at air shows, who operated them and when they appeared. This part of the book takes up about as much space as the accounts of the air shows, and is surprisingly interesting (at least it surprised me!). The final (and largest) section of the book is rather drier - a series of massive appendices listing the aircraft that took part in every RAF air show in eight selected years. This really is a work of reference, and very much for the plane spotter.

Overall this is well written and clearly very well researched book that should be of great value to anyone with an interest in air shows.

Chapters
1 - Hendon, Pageantry in the Air
2 - War and Peace
3 - Battle of Britain 'At Home' Day
4 - A Good Reason for an Air Display?
5 - Days of Thunder
6 - Organising the 'At Home'
7 - Something Special
8 - Less is More?
9 - End of an Era
10 - Aircraft 'At Home'

Author: Ian Smith Watson
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 343
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation
Year: 2010


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