Fleet Air Arm Boys Volume 1 or 2 Author Steve BondRegular price £25.00 Sale price £19.95 Save 20%
Volume 1: Air Defence Fighter Aircraft Since 1945...True Tales from Royal Navy Aircrew, Maintainers & Handlers.
Volume 2: Strike, Anti Submarine, Early warning and Support Aircraft since 1945...True tales from Royal Navy men and women air and ground crew.
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Here is a recent review which captures the essence of the FAA Boys series:
Fleet Air Arm Boys Vol Two – Review for FAAOA January 2022
Steve Bond’s latest in a line of four books about the FAA is ‘Fleet Air Arm Boys Volume Two – Strike, Anti-Submarine, Early Warning and Support Aircraft Since 1945. True tales from Royal Navy Men and Women Air and Ground Crew’ (Grub Street Publishing, 2021).
Most other ‘narrative’ books about the FAA deal with either one aircraft type, or one individual’s life and experiences, which is where Steve’s books differ. The feeling is more of being in a bar, listening to stories from a whole range of individuals (dits, or ‘lantern-swinging’), spanning the period from 1945 to the present day. Some are short, some longer, but all give a tantalising sense of what it means and feels like to serve in the Fleet Air Arm – and what set’s it apart from other forms of aviation.
Mixed-in with excellent details about maintaining, handling, operating and flying the many and various aircraft (fixed-wing again in this volume, rotary to follow in Vol 3), are stories of life onboard and ashore. Light-hearted and mischievous tales mix with descriptions of tense action, and sometimes tragedy, but all combine to give a sense of the remarkable nature of Naval Aviation, and the people who conduct it.
For readers who have not served in aircraft carriers, especially in the era of catapults and arrestor gear (cats and traps), several sections of the book give a true sense of the awesome – and fearsome – nature of such operations. The stories describe what it was like to live and work in sometimes scarcely believable conditions, prior to the over-arching ‘Health and Safety’ culture of today. Yet despite the hardships and difficulties, operations were conducted at a high-tempo and sortie-rate, with (mainly!) good humour, and great camaraderie. The book highlights just how busy the Fleet Air Arm was in the post-war and Cold War eras, continuing on in to modern times.
Although many of the narratives, especially the shorter ones, leave one with a sense of wanting to know much more about a particular aircraft or situation, and for the narrator to continue the dit, this is part of the great appeal of this series of books. Quite obviously the stories come from real individuals, and this draws-in the reader, giving a true taste of life in the FAA. No doubt this will encourage many to spend time reading other material specific to an era, aircraft type, or operation that has tweaked their interest in these volumes.
As with many books which bring the reader up to the modern day, there is only a short section on the most modern aircraft. This is always down to the difficulty of the author obtaining sufficient material prior to the publishing date. It is understood that Volume Four will address the shortfall, with more Harrier GR7/9 entries, as well as the F35.
Overall, Fleet Air Arm Boys Volume Two is a great canter through the previous 75 years of FAA fixed-wing strike, anti-submarine, early warning and support aircraft operations, told through the voice of those who were there, and who experienced so much of what it means to be a part of the Fleet Air Arm family. At a time when fixed-wing Naval Aviation is coming to the forefront of the RN once again, and catching the interest of the public, Steve Bond’s books do a superb job of highlighting the true nature, and strengths, of the Fleet Air Arm.
The signatories in Volume 2 representing the Fleet Air Arm include:
Warrant Officer Keith Abnett. Artificer. 766 NAS Sea Vixen RNAS Yeovilton, 700P Phantom Intensive Flying Trials Unit RNAS Yeovilton, 892 NAS Phantom & Sea Harrier. Served on five carriers inc. HMS Ark Royal & HMS Illustrious: HRH Prince Charles' Chief 'Tiff' - Wessex training on 'Dragon Flight'.
Wing Commander Robert Crane Observer. 893 NAS Sea Vixen, HMS Hermes, Phantom Navigator with the RAF, US Navy F-4J’s at Oceana, and Tornado F.3
Commander John Ford. Pilot. Flying training with the US Navy; 802 NAS Sea Hawk HMS Albion inc. Suez campaign; 800 NAS Scimitar HMS Ark Royal inc. aerobatic team; Aden campaign; Commander (Air) HMS Ark Royal
Flt Lt Brian Grant. Pilot. RAF 151 and 29 Sqns Javelin. Exchange service with the FAA, 766 and 890 NAS Sea Vixen HMS Ark Royal. Hunter, Sea Vixen, Canberra and Hawk FRADU 1970-1994, and 1995-1997.
Leading Wren Bev McDermott Radio Operator. RNAS Yeovilton Communication Centre, also HMS Drake and HMS Daedalus.
Petty Officer Terry McDonald Radio & Radar Technician. Lossiemouth, Hunter, Sea Vampire, Sea Venom, Sea Hawk; 899 NAS Sea Vixen HMS Eagle; 848 NAS Whirlwind HMS Bulwark
Lt Kim Sharman. Pilot. Two tours 899 NAS Sea Vixen, made last launch and landing of the type on HMS Eagle 1972. Martel missile trials 'C' Sqn A&AEE. 750 NAS Sea Prince.
Lieutenant Commander Digby Stephenson Observer. 824 NAS Sea King; 800 NAS HMS Eagle and 809 NAS HMS Ark Royal Buccaneer; A-6 Intruder instructor with US Navy squadron VA42
Leading Airman John Stevens Aircraft handler. 1962-71 served on HMS Ark Royal, HMS Hermes and HMS Eagle.
Vice Admiral Sir Jonathan Tod KCB CBE. Pilot. Two tours 800 NAS Scimitar HMS Ark Royal; Sea Venom 750 NAS Hal Far; 738 NAS & 800 NAS HMS Eagle, 801 NAS HMS Hermes, 803 NAS Buccaneer; Officer in Command HMS Illustrious; Deputy C-in-C Fleet
Steve Bond - Author
Please note that not all of the listed signatories were able to be present throughout the signing sessions We have endeavoured to capture as many as possible for each book.
Steve Bond has spent nearly 50 years in aviation. He served in the Royal Air Force as an aircraft propulsion technician and was part of the Eurofighter Typhoon project team. He later joined City University London where he developed and ran the world’s first MSc Air Safety Management (ASM) programme, lecturing on the subject all over the world. He has a PhD in ASM, is a chartered engineer, and a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. Now a full-time author he was recently elected Freeman of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots in recognition of his contribution to aviation.
The Royal Navy has always been a good source of stories (or dits as they are known in RN/FAA parlance). The maritime environment, worldwide locations, complicated equipment operated in a small space or in harsh weather, great characters within a strongly bonded team and centuries old naval tradition all add up to a recipe for some cracking tales. Author Steve Bond has gathered dits from across the generations of veterans and current serving Royal Navy and Fleet Air Arm. These books are terrific reads for anyone interested in British sea based aviation.
We also have a number of copies of Volume 1 signed by FAA Aircrew and Engineers.
Lt Cdr Paul Chaplin - Pilot - Sea Vixen and Phantom
Lt Adrian Tuite - Observer - Gannet, Sea Vixen and Phantom
Lt Kim Sharman - Pilot - Sea Vixen
Cdr Tim Gedge AFC- Pilot - Sea Vixen, Phantom, Sea Harrier
Cdre Duncan Reid MBE FRaeS BA RN - Air Engineering Officer, Task Force Chief Aircraft Engineer
15.2 x 22.9 cm