Flight On Frail Wings

 

 

Flight On Frail Wings

by Arthur Ord-Hume

being a second volume of a personal account of building and flying your own aeroplane in Post-War England and including tales of various adventures involving flying machines of various types.

A wholly new story, this book relates the trials and tribulations leading up to the re-birth of commercial aviation in the immediate post-war years and looks at the mistakes made through ignorance and misunderstanding.

Additionally, the author's story of amateur aviation concentrates on the years from 1958 and relates experiences crop-spraying using De Havilland Tiger Moths. The big sister of the Luton Minor was the Luton Major, all records of which were burned in the war. But the author's admiration for this long-lost pre-war design led to an ambitious and long-term programme of resurrection carried out in his home at Sandown on the Isle of Wight (and, mysteriously, involving a Meccano set!). Re-designed using only old photographs and an ancient three-view drawing, the production of working drawings was a labour of love rewarded by the first flight of the 'new' Luton LA6a Major. He relates how he also made engineering drawings for the Luton LA4a Minor, tells of flight-testing remote-control helicopters, flying Freddie Laker's 'job-lot' Percival Prentice aeroplanes, ferrying Auster air- craft to far-off places, flying strange aircraft such as the Hirtenberg, the Zaunkoenig, the Messerschmitt Me.109, the Hillson Praga, Slingsby Motor Tutor, an embarrassing time with a Mosquito in Sweden, the story of the Minicab and its re-design for the British amateur aircraft constructor, and a host of other activities including a horrendous crash from which he was lucky to escape with his life.

Throughout the whole story, the author's love affair with the single-seater Luton Minor ultra-light aeroplane continues as examples built to his drawings keep cropping up. And the author finds himself in the unofficial position of official test-pilot.

From light aircraft to airliners and, ultimately, to the thrill of watching the launch of a space-mission rocket - these events and more are related together with an insight into the contemporary aviation scene plus frequent excursions back to the pioneering days of the private flying movement.