"Royal Navy and Maritime Book Reviews" Provided by Rob Jerrard

Crowood Press Limited Book Reviewed in 2009


Painting Boats and Coastal Scenery
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: Robert Brindley
ISBN: 978 1 84797 119 7
Publishers:
Price: £18.99
Publication Date: July 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

Boats and coastal scenery have always inspired artists. This book celebrates that inspiration and explains many aspects of painting the coast, from creeks and tidal rivers to bustling beach scenes, boats and harbours, with a strong emphasis on capturing light, mood and atmosphere. Using watercolour, oil and pastel, it looks in detail at the painting process and encourages both novice and experienced artists alike to venture forth to capture the drama and beauty of the coast and sea.
 
Topics covered:· Step-by-step demonstrations· Importance of light and how to create harmony, tone and colour· Emphasis on drawing, sketching and plein-air painting· Instruction on painting water and skies, as well as coastal scenes· Advice on painting trips in Britain and abroad.
 

The Author
 
Robert Brindley is a member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. His main inspiration is the challenge of capturing light and atmosphere in a modern impressionistic style. He paints mainly landscape and coastal scenery around his home in North Yorkshire and on painting trips around Britain and abroad. Robert's work has featured in many books and publications, and he teaches regularly.


Blackburn Buccaneer
20 colour and 180 black & white photos
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Kev Darling
ISBN: 978 1 86126 871 6
Publishers: Crowood
Price: £29.95
Publication Date: Sept 2006
 

Publisher's Title Information

The Blackburn Buccaneer was designed in the 1950s in answer to a Royal Navy requirement for a carrier-based bomber capable of carrying a nuclear payload within an enclosed weapons bay. The new aircraft incorporated a number of innovations, including boundary layer control to improve handling at low level and high speed, and rotating bomb doors, which reduced the airflow disruption that would be caused by a normal set of doors. It also featured a dividing rear fuselage, which acted as an air brake.
 
It was not until the Gyron Junior engine of the original production S.1 was replaced in subsequent airframes by the Rolls-Royce Spey that the Buccaneer proved what an excellent aircraft it was. The Spey-powered S.2 was used to great effect by the Royal Navy from ship and from land, but the Navy's reduced need of aircraft of this type led to the Buccaneers being passed to the Royal Air Force, which had started to receive the type in lieu of the cancelled TSR2 and F-111. Buccaneers also served with the South African Air Force, seeing extensive combat use.
 
At the peak, six RAF squadrons and an operational conversion unit flew the Buccaneer, though this was drastically cut in the wake of a fatal crash in 1980, which necessitated significant re-engineering of the entire fleet. The Buccaneer force then consisted of two squadrons and an OCU, and many of the aircraft were made capable of carrying the Sea Eagle anti-shipping missile. But when the type finally went to war it was not in an anti-shipping role, but as a laser target marker during Operation Desert Storm - the liberation of Kuwait. Having completed its wartime service the Buccaneer was finally retired, its role having been taken over entirely by the Panavia Tornado.
 
This book by aviation historian and onetime Buccaneer engineer Key Darling will tell you everything you need to know about this popular and long-lived aeroplane.
 
When the contract to develop and manufacture the Buccaneer naval strike aircraft was given to Blackburn, most observers were quite surprised as the company had been at its peak during the inter-war period, since when De Havilland, Fairey and Hawker had come to dominate the market for carrier-borne aircraft. Post-war, Blackburn had tried to provide the Fleet Air Arm with a strike fighter in the same class as the Douglas Skyraider, the Blackburn Firebrand. Unlike its American counterpart, however, the Firebrand was something of a failure and quickly disappeared from the scene.
 

Introduction
 
When Blackburn began to design the Buccaneer, their greatest problem was sourcing a jet engine that could both provide sufficient power and fit into the airframe. The DH Gyron Junior engine was chosen but, while it was capable of powering the Buccaneer, the margins were tight and the engine showed a tendency to fail at awkward moments. This meant that the first production run was limited. It was the appearance of the Rolls-Royce Spey engine that really saved the design, as this slightly larger engine gave more thrust and was far more reliable. Both versions served with the Fleet Air Arm although the Gyron-powered Buccaneer S.1 was quickly relegated to the training role when the Spey-powered S.2 became available.
 
Although it was obvious that Blackburn, and later Hawker Siddeley, had a winner on their hands, overseas sales were hampered by the complete lack of knowledge and professionalism exhibited by British officials. The end result was that only one overseas contract was completed, with South Africa; even this was surrounded by controversy as it coincided with increasing distaste for South Africa policy of apartheid that nearly scuppered the deal. However, part of the contract was the Simonstown Agreement that allowed the Royal Navy into South African harbours, so the deal went through. In South African service the Buccaneerswere flown hard during the 'border wars', the aircraft being eventually grounded when keeping them airworthy became economically unviable.
 
Politics also affected the Buccaneer, at least indirectly. During the early 1960s the BAC TSR2 was developed as the replacement aircraft for the Canberra. However, this excellent aircraft was cancelled and its intended replacement, the General Dynamics F-111 swing-wing attack aircraft, soon fell to the Treasury axe as well. The Canberra replacement was then split between the McDonnell F-4 Phantom and the Buccaneer, which dismayed the Royal Air Force somewhat. The Phantoms delivered to the RAF powered by Spey engines similar to those in the Buccaneer - proved to be the slowest and most fuel-hungry versions of that aircraft ever constructed. The Buccaneer was not initially accepted by the RAF, although this changed as time wore on and RAF crews pushed their new mounts to their ultimate limits.
 
All this excitement came to a shuddering halt when the inner wing structure failed on a Buccaneer manoeuvring at low level across the Nevada desert in early 1980. The entire fleet was grounded while in-depth investigations were carried out. Initially it was expected that older aircraft acquired second-hand from the Fleet Air Arm would be the ones to have suffered the most, though it turned out that some of the newer machines were also badly affected. The aircraft committed to NATO were the priority, so four aircraft for the strike QRA were quickly cleared. For the remainder it was decided, where possible, to combine two aircraft to create one machine for further service. The main engineering work consisted of removing the inner wing sections from one aircraft and grafting them onto another with a greater remaining fatigue life. Not all the Buccaneers needed a replacement inner wing transplant, some just needing the cracks blending out. Many happy hours were spent at St Athan grinding out each crack through access holes in the external skins, using dental drills, burrs and a grinding paste.
 
Eventually the remaining Buccaneers returned to service, although by this time the Panavia Tornado was beginning to replace that part of the RAF designed in the 1950s. The result was the disappearance of the RAFG-based Buccaneer squadrons, but the RAF was reluctant to dispense with the remaining Buccaneers, so the remaining aircraft were concentrated at Lossiemouth where their role changed from nuclear strike to anti-shipping operations. The Martel missile was replaced by the much improved Sea Eagle which was based on its predecessor. Allied to the weapons upgrade was an improvement in the Buccaneer's avionics under the ASR 1012 programme. Ironically, when the Buccaneer finally saw combat with the RAF during the Gulf War, it was back in the bomber role.
 
Having been let go by the RAF, the final few Buccaneers remained in use with trials organizations, although they too finally retired in 1994. Fortunately for enthusiasts, a couple of Buccaneers found their way to South Africa where they continue to fly as part of the Thunder City fleet -long may they continue to do so! Just as this manuscript was being completed it was announced that XX885/G-HHAA, operated by Hawker Hunter Aviation, has been given provisional approval to fly.
 
As with any such undertaking, a book of this kind requires the help of others, therefore I would like to thank Trevor Smith, Martyn Chorlton, the staff at BAES Heritage and the Blackburn Archive, plus all of those at Crowood who have turned my efforts into the book you now hold.
 
Key Darling Wales, 2005
 

The Author
 
Key Darling spent more than twenty years in the Royal Air Force, engineering aircraft ranging in size from the Tiger Moth to the Tristar. Medically discharged after the first Gulf War, he strengthened his writing career, which had begun in 1986. Since then he has authored numerous magazine articles and more than twenty books and monographs. This is his fifth book for The Crowood Press, following Hawker Typhoon, Tempest and Sea Fury Concorde, De Havilland Comet and Avro Vulcan.