The Seaplane Years by Tim Mason
Hikoki Publications at Manchester U.K. has published a range of 16 very interesting books on various historical aviation subjects. Latest title released is ‘The Seaplane Years’ written by retired R.A.F. pilot Tim Mason. In this book the history of the Marine & Armament Experimental over the years 1920-1924 and the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment over 1924-1956 is amply described.
The book starts with a short history of the experimental Naval Air Stations at Grain, Felixstowe and Helensburgh. Maps of the sites and a short overview of the organisations are also given. In two additional very large chapters, all flying boats and seaplanes that were tested at the experimental Naval Air Stations are described, including many, many very nice and mostly very rare photographs. Special care has been taken to preserve the nice chamois-tinted colours of the old pre-war black-and-white photographs.. In general the photographs selected are of a very high quality and the poorer quality shots are just included because of their rarity.
Mason gives no extensive technical descriptions of the seaplanes tested, but instead an overview of the actual test results.
As such it gives an unique insight of the flying and handling properties of a number of well-known, but also of much lesser known seaplane types.
Additional details are given in a number of Appendices including information on some captured German types like the Arado Ar-196, Heinkel He-115 and the big Blohm un Voss BV-222 flying boat. The name is misspelled as Bloem und Voss, but at least it has been misspelled consequently!
I really would have liked to see a picture of the Short Mercury seaplane in R.A.F. markings, but apparently this was not available!
Altogether it is a highly interesting story with lots of new and unpublished data in an easy to read style.
The book contains not less than 314 photographs and 29 colour profiles in 240 pages.
If you have a particular interest in British seaplanes, this book is an absolute must; nothing so far has been published so extensively on this subject as far as I am aware and the book is highly recommended!! Direct buy here!!
Title: The Seaplane Years
Author: Tim Mason
Book details: Hardcover A4 size on glossy paper with 240 pages.
Publisher: Hikoki Publications, 1a Ringway Trading Estate, Shadowmoss Rd., Manchester M22 5LH, Great Britain
With special thanks to Chris Tordoff from Crecy Publishing Ltd., U.K. for providing a free review copy.
Another forthcoming Hikoki title as announced in this book is ‘The Secret Years’, also by Tim Mason with an overview of flight testing at Boscombe Down over the period 1939-1945. It would be a very nice supplement on this book on naval aircraft testing and we are really looking forward to a review copy!!