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Howard Pixton – Test Pilot and Pioneer Aviator (Paperback)

The Biography of the first British Schneider Trophy Winner

Aviation Military > Biographies WWI > By Year > 1914

By Stella Pixton
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526796899
Published: 10th March 2021



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This book is a truly remarkable account that captures the atmosphere, thrills and danger of the pioneering days of aviation. Howard Pixton was flying for A V Roe at Brooklands in 1910 when S F Cody at Laffans Plain tried to persuade him to join him. But in 1911 he test flew A V Roes tractor biplane, the forerunner of the 504. By now acknowledged as the first professional test pilot, he left A V to join Bristols and for two years demonstrated new models to dignitaries across Europe.

In 1913 he joined Tommy Sopwith and in 1914 he became the first Briton in a British plane to win an international race, the coveted Schneider Trophy. This gave Britain air supremacy and Howard was feted as the finest pilot in the World. Sopwiths Tabloid aircraft developed into the Pup, and then into the Camel. Throughout The Great War Pixton test flew many of the rapid evolving designs.

For a biography of an early aviation pioneer of the top rank, this book cannot be bettered.

More from the sword: Forthcoming WWI related titles from Pen and Sword

Cher Ami from the International Plastic Modellers Society

It's a great story, very well told.

For any aviation history enthusiast, particularly those interested in the early days, this book is a must read.


The pioneering days of aviation are often overlooked so it is good to see this book (written by Pixton's daughter) shed light on man's first attempts at flight and the birth of the constant quest for aerial speed.

Air Classics

This is a very valuable account, beautifully produced by the publisher and illustrated with a fine photoplate section that includes never before published images. A great tale.


It is likely that many aviation enthusiasts will be unfamiliar with the name Howard Pixton and those that have may not know of the full scope of his achievements. This excellent book, 'ghosted' in the first person by his daughter, Stella, goes a long way in rectifying that gap in our knowledge. I enjoyed it thoroughly, not just because of the historical insights which it gave into the golden age of aviation before the First World War but also because it is a very good and entertaining read.
It is impossible to read this book and not come away full of admiration for Howard Pixton and his contemporaries. The text is enhanced by a splendid collection of photographs and an absorbing appendix of documents. Highly recommended.

Flying in Ireland

Stella Pixton is the author of that great man and was born in the 1930s. She has 'ghosted' this account of her father's life until the end of WWI and the narrative is written in the first person. It is not made clear whether the source material was written or oral, but he detail is amazing. Every stage in Pixton's early career is covered and the pages are littered with the names of famous early aviators and anecdotes about them.
Required reading for anyone wishing to learn about the pioneering days of British aviation in the years before the Great War

Cross & Cockade International
 Stella Pixton

About Stella Pixton

Stella Pixton is Howard's daughter and she draws on family papers to tell the story of her Fathers life as a man and aviator. She runs a popular business on the Isle of Man where she is well known as a colourful character.

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