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Posted November 30, 2002
The Great Airplane Book -- same song, 2nd verse, louder
Ever want a book that holds information on ALL of the world's airplanes, from the beginning of time? This is about the closest I've ever seen. Barnes & Noble stores are offering this huge, colorful and fascinating airplane/helicopter reference work. Every aviation enthusiast would love to have a copy. Though I've only looked it over slightly, I own (and treasure) a copy of the 1997/1999 edition. This is a very useful, nearly-all-encompassing book of summary information about most of the world's significant aircraft. However, it is NOT balanced in its coverage (with a noticeable bias towards warplanes and British aircraft), so that some important planes get superficial coverage, while trivial British warplanes are obsessed over. This company is apparently unable to learn from its mistakes. Again, the book is organized alphabetically by manufacturer (with the first several letters of the alphabet consuming most of the book, and the rest of the alphabet receiving much less coverage). Since the awful "index" (terribly needed, yet virtually unusable) has not improved, this makes finding a specifc plane a huge chore, or impossible, unless you happen to know the particular manufacturer's name under whom it is listed (many planes had multiple manufacturers, as with deHavilland, Ercoupe, Meyers, Aero Commander, American Yankee, Gulfstream and Aerostar lines, and most French lines which have changed hands repeatedly -- or as with the Raytheon Aircraft line, originating under four other names.) Again, there are whole classes of aircraft ignored: lighter-than-air, gliders (even combat gliders), classic homebuilt and kitplane designs, microlights, ultralights, etc., though those are hardly the most important to cover. Still, most major planes are readily located under their best-known manufacturer, and the information is better, and more interesting, than in most of the dry "airplane catalogs" by other British publishers. Each plane (or plane family) is covered by a photo or two of representative models, along with a half-dozen basic specifications and performance stats, and a short description of the design and its history, often with some note of the airplane's reputation or significance. Worth the price (the most I ever paid for an airplane book). Still, if you can find it, consider a copy of the 1997/1999 version instead (dark blue cover). It's a better bargain, at the same price.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.