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from the cockpit No.11



Mac McEwen


Ad Hoc Publications


S u m m a r y

Title and Author Hunter
from the cockpit No.11
by Mac McEwen
Ad Hoc Publications
ISBN: 0-946958-71-9
Media: Soft, glossy, laminated card, colour covers; A4 portrait format on 200 semi-gloss pages (24 in colour). Includes 87 colour artworks and 256 photographs.
Price: GBP19.95 net
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Excellent contributions from experienced and knowledgeable RAF personnel. Sixteen pages of colour artwork profiles. Good selection of mostly black and white photographs, but some colour included.
Disadvantages: Foreign operators of the Hunter not covered. Slight reproduction problem, in one or two of the black and white images.
Recommendation: Little to complain of overall and a worthy and informative series addition.


Reviewed by Steve Naylor

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The arrival of this book from Ad Hoc Publications, actually came as a bit of a surprise. How so? Well, to date, all of the preceding titles in this series have been about Royal Navy (Fleet Air Arm) aircraft. This latest title therefore, marks their first foray into Royal Air Force territory, albeit that due mention is also made of the GA.11, PR.11 and T.7/8 variants, used by the Royal Navy's FRADU and other units. Perhaps this is a precursor of similar offerings in the future, we will have to wait and see.

The first thing to say, is that at 200 pages, this is another relatively meaty offering from Ad Hoc. However, potential purchasers and readers should be aware that this volume only covers the Hunter's UK development and service, both at home and abroad. Hunter service history with operators in other countries, of which there were many, is not covered here, which may or may not be a problem depending on your point of view. Certainly, there is more than enough in the book as it stands to engage the reader, overseen as it is by its author, distinguished pilot, Air Commodore 'Mac' McEwen.



Following the usual 'From The Cockpit' style, the Hunter is examined from all aspects, by both pilots and maintainers. There are contributions from many experienced and knowledgeable RAF personnel, including a certain Flying Officer Mike McEvoy, well known to modellers from the pages of the scale aircraft modelling press, and now appearing on a website near you as 'The Grumpy Old Modeller'.

After a brief introduction, the book is broadly divided into eight chapters. The background to the Hunter's genesis is the subject of the first chapter ('Requirement'), followed by the familiar and suitably lengthy 'From The Cockpit' chapter, with nine contributions regarding the handling and performance of the aircraft in various situations. Aerobatics and the limits of performance, are dealt with in the chapter 'Scorching The Sky', including insights into the famous 'Treble One' squadron and that 22-hunter loop at Farnborough (by amongst others, Air Commodore Roger Topp AFC**). Flying the Hunter was not all play of course, and the deadlier aspects of its role are covered in the next chapter ('Weapons And Tactics'). Here, I particularly enjoyed Air Commodore Peter Johnson OBE's piece ('A Heady Mixture'), regarding his experience of Hunter operations from RAF Khormaksar, Aden, in 1965. Servicing and maintenance come next, in 'The Ground Crew' chapter, highlighting the problems and foibles of Hunter maintenance during operations. Bringing the main focus of the book to a close, is Commander David Hobbs MBE, the sole contributor to 'The Naval Bargain' chapter. This looks at the Royal Naval versions of the Hunter, not the first time that the Fleet Air Arm adapted an ostensibly RAF aircraft, for their own needs.

Rounding out the book are two final chapters, 'Hunter Squadrons' and 'Hunter Colours'. The former, has various tables covering those RAF and Fleet Air Arm squadrons and units, as well as UK government and civilian establishments, who operated the Hunter. The latter, and final chapter, consists of sixteen pages of colour artwork profiles by Roger Chesneau, covering Hunters of the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and British government establishments and including a four-view of the author's Hunter F. Mk 2 'WN898' of No.257 (Burma) Squadron, RAF Wattisham, in October 1956.



Up to this point, I have not mentioned photographs, but as usual, these are present in abundance and certainly measure up to the standard of other Ad Hoc titles. Whilst the majority are black and white, there are some colour ones displayed on each of four pages in both the 'From The Cockpit' and 'Hunter Squadrons' chapters, as well as some on the rear cover. The subjects of all of these images are generally excellent, giving good detail and complimenting the text very well and I suspect that many of them have not been seen before. Perhaps one slight disappointment, is that one or two of the black and white images, have suffered some kind of reproduction 'artefact' problem in the shadow detail, a shame in an otherwise flawless production.





As with all the titles in this series, there is little, if anything, to complain about in this book. Also, as before, aircraft buffs and modellers alike, will find the detail and information presented here to be invaluable and a worthy addition to their references. The curt title, does not seem to allow for a further exposition on the overseas operators of the Hunter, the omission of which from this title, might be an issue for some. That said, it would be difficult to fault what is on offer, covering as it does, the Hunter in the guise most likely to appeal to the majority of readers.

To sum up, this is a worthy addition to the series and opens up the possibility of similar RAF/RN 'crossover' subjects (the RAF Buccaneer and the Phantom spring to mind). Certainly recommended reading for those with a fondness for Hawker's superlative Hunter.

Thanks to Ad Hoc Publications for the review copy.

Thanks go to Ad Hoc Publications for the review copy.

Copies should be available to order from most good book outlets, but can also be ordered direct from;

Ad Hoc Publications
Wattisham Road
Suffolk IP14 2HX

Tel: 07776 134277 Email: sales@adhocpublications.com


Review Copyright 2009 by Steve Naylor
This Page Created on 2 September, 2009
Last updated 18 December, 2009

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