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Flying and Preserving Historic Aircraft (Hardback)

The Memoirs of David Ogilvy OBE, Vice-President of the Historic Aircraft Association

Aviation > Pilots Military P&S History > By Century > 20th Century

By David Frederick Ogilvy
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 264
ISBN: 9781399044448
Published: 20th September 2023


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David Ogilvy spent more than a full working life in aviation. As a schoolboy he was sent out with a bugle and binoculars to blow a warning if a V1 flying bomb appeared. Soon after this, he joined the Royal Air Force and served for six years as a pilot, flying types ranging from the Tiger Moth to the Mosquito and Meteor. As a civilian he spent fourteen years involved in pilot training and became Chief Instructor of the Air Schools group, with responsibility for three establishments. He was a keen display and racing pilot and competed in many events, flying several historic types.

At an early age David realised the need for owners and operators of flyable pre-war machines to have a representative organisation to look after their concerns and interests, so, in 1951, when 22 and still serving in the RAF, he was a co-founder of the Vintage Aeroplane Club. He was also a founding member, and until his death in July 2023 a Vice President, of the Historic Aircraft Association.

In 1966 David was appointed general manager of the famous Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden. During this time, he brought in several historic aircraft, including initiating the retrieval of a 1935 Hawker Hind from Afghanistan. He flew many of the Collection’s remarkable aeroplanes, organising and participating in the displays.

As well as outlining his remarkable career, the main focus of this book is on David Ogilvy's descriptions of many of the historic aircraft he helped rescue and preserve and what it was like to be at their controls. It therefore provides a unique compendium of the flying characteristics of a range of historic aircraft, for one or two of which, he unashamedly admitted, he was possibly the last man alive to have flown.

Away from the cockpit, David was associated with many organisations, including being a founder member of the UK Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, serving for 45 years in the roles of editor, Executive Chairman and President. He was also President of today's Vintage Aircraft Club and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. David was awarded the OBE ‘for services to aviation’ in 1996.

The author’s name will already be familiar to anyone with an interest in Historic aeroplanes for this ex-RAF pilot was General Manager of the Shuttleworth Collection, a co-founder of the Vintage Aeroplane Club, and Vice President of the Historic Aircraft Association.

Unfortunately David passed away in July 2023 and so this book forms, not just a memoir, but a memorial, and so early chapters are largely autobiographical. Throughout the remainder he deals mostly with the aeroplanes with which he was personally involved, describing what each was like to fly, and detailing the complicated process by which the Shuttleworth Collection’s Hawker Hind was recovered from Afghanistan and restored to flying condition.

Only one of the many aeroplanes covered is a WW1 type, the Bristol F2b’ Fighter’ which also features as one of the book’s 40 or so illustrations and David paints a ‘warts and all’ of the machine’s features and failings.

Other aircraft described include types as varied as the Avro Mk 4 triplane replica, the Avro Anson, Gloster Meteor, various De Havilland moths and rival designs from other manufacturers, the Miles M57 Aerovan, and the DH Mosquito. So don’t let the lack of direct WW1 content put you off reading this fascinating book which reads almost as though David is present and talking directly to the reader.

Great War Aviation

"A fine tribute to one of historic aviation's great figures." 4 Stars

Aeroplane - December 2024

“…even armchair flyers will be intrigued by Ogilvy’s hands-on impressions of anything from the 1910 triplane…to early jets.”

Read the full review here


"The author describes this book as an “aerobiography”, which is appropriate, as he combines an account of his life in aviation with first-hand type-by-type descriptions of his personal experience flying an interesting variety of aircraft"

The Aviation Historian - Issue 47

"A book many SVAS members have been waiting for, and it doesn't disappoint. A must for all Shuttleworth aficionados."

Prop-Swing, Journal of the Shuttleworth Veteran Aeroplane Society - Winter 2023

About David Frederick Ogilvy

Having joined the Royal Air Force shortly after the Second World War, DAVID OGILVY served as a pilot for six years, flying types ranging from the Tiger Moth to the Mosquito and Meteor, while also co-founding the Vintage Aeroplane Club. There then followed a remarkable career in civil aviation, particularly in terms of historic aircraft. Away from the cockpit, David has been associated with many organisations, serving for more than twenty-five years on both the National Air Traffic Management Advisory Committee and the General Aviation Safety Council. Until his death in July 2023 David was also President of today’s Vintage Aircraft Club and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. David was awarded the OBE ‘for services to aviation’ in 1996.

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