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The Quick and the Dead

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  28 ratings  ·  3 reviews
First published in 1956, but still relevant and thought-provoking today, this book is an absolute revelation on test flying with the British aircraft organizations and manufacturers in the 1950s. Written from the pilot s viewpoint, with refreshing candor and honesty which allegedly cost him his job at the Daily Express this account details what really went on behind the sc ...more
Hardcover, 201 pages
Published February 19th 2013 by Grub Street (first published May 1st 2012)
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Robert Hepple
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Quick and the Dead, first published in 1956, is an autobiographical account of WA Waterton's experiences as the chief test pilot of the Gloster Aircraft Company from 1946 to 1954. Consequently, much of the test flying described involves various marks of Meteor, in addition to the early prototypes of the Javelin, amongst others. Waterton's observations of the working practices at Gloster make interesting reading. He seems to have had an axe to grind not just over inefficiencies at Gloster, bu ...more
Dr Tim
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic!
Gareth Evans
May 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fine, focussed description of post-war test piloting with Gloster. Not only are the characteristics of the Meteor and Javelin well described, but the politics of the multi-company aircraft manufacturing industry are dealt with in some detail. Sixty years on it is tempting to think of the 1950s as a golden age of British aircraft manufacture, but Waterton's book, published in 1956, lays bare the machinations of the industry and the less-than-ideal characteristics of the planes. Clearly written th ...more
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