AirWorld's The Vickers Viscount
|$28.95 from Casemate|
|Notes:||120 pages, 130 images, softcover, ISBN 978-1-526701954|
When it was pretty obvious that WWII was going to eventually end, aircraft makers in the US, Great Britain, and France started planning for post war commercial airliners. Little did they realize that there would be a near glut of ex-military types available at inexpensive prices. This was especially true of the short and medium range aircraft as literally thousands of C-46 and C-47 aircraft were released to civilian buyers. These buyers realized that it would eminently less expensive to get a war surplus Dakota, for instance, and re-fit it as an airliner than to buy a new plane.
It also did not help when Europeans realized that the US already had a major jump start with their DC-4 and Constellation aircraft which were under development as airliners prior to the war. Indeed, the US pretty well dominated airliner sales for thirty years or so after WWII. However, it was the Europeans who came up with some rather innovative types and the Vickers Viscount was one of them.
The British had put a lot of work into developing the turboprop engine. It promised a fairly high speed with lower fuel consumption than a straight turbojet. It also promised to be considerably quieter and provide a smoother ride than a piston engine aircraft. Fortunately, Vickers was near the front of this technology and was able to combine a well constructed airframe with a fairly reliable turboprop, the Rolls-Royce Dart. Indeed the Dart was one of those turboprop success stories as it provided ample power along with fairly low operating costs. To top it off, it proved to be very reliable.
The end result of all this was the world's first turboprop airliner and the best selling British airliner of all time. The type was used by airlines the world round and even managed to make small inroads into US civil aviation. I can recall the first time I saw one when my father took a trip on one out of Lambert Field, St. Louis. These were the days when you could stroll atop the concourse buildings to watch planes. I was impressed by the lack of noise the engines made when compared to the Douglas and Lockheed piston airliners that were the norm.
In this book, the author covers the complete development history of the aircraft and the engine. He then covers the variants as well as those used by various airlines and military arms. There are some tales of more unusual flights to add some spice as well. There are a few that have survived all these years and those are covered. Finally, a selection of liveries in full color profiles as one simply cannot do an airliner book without lots of photos and color, which this book does have. In all, a great look at a plane that started the turboprop revolution in the airlines
It all makes for an excellent reference not only for the enthusiast and the modeler. It is a book I found particularly interesting and one that I can quite easily recommend to you.
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