Black Arrow Blue Diamond (Hardback)
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Brian Mercer is one of the most outstanding post-war RAF fighter pilots and in this eminently readable autobiography he recaptures life as it was in the days of transition from flying piston-powered aircraft to jet power. His flying and leadership skills resulted in a long association with what was then considered as the finest aerobatic display team in the world - Treble One Squardron’s ‘Black Arrows’. Flying the elegant black Hawker Hunters in large formation displays was no easy task and the author explains in great detail how their legendary precision was achieved, revealing many exciting incidents en route. When Treble One’s Hunters were replaced with the supersonic Lightining fighter, it soon became clear that these superfast aircraft were not suited to close-up display flying. Brian was then asked to form a new RAF display team and continue with Hunters. This was to become the No. 92 Squadron’s Blue Diamonds’, who inherited the star role. Faced with the fact that future promotion within the RAF would move him from cockpit to desk, Brian elected to join then then fledgling airline, Cathay Pacific. His story continues with many exciting incidents flying from the company’s home base at Kai Tak in Hong Kong.
The arrow, essentially a specialized spear, is among the most ancient human inventions and can be found in cultures throughout the world. The need to launch a projectile farther and with greater accuracy than is possible with the human arm gave rise to a variety of solutions. Spearthrowers which extend the length of the user’s arm and therefore transfer greater power to the projectile were developed far back in prehistory, and both the American Indian atlatl and the Australian woomera are examples of this technology. Blowpipes, too, are recorded in various cultures and represent another ancient…By Hugh Soar
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