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Carrier Pilot: One of the greatest pilot's memoirs of WWII - a true aviation classic.

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  2,258 ratings  ·  78 reviews
‘It has everything a war memoir should have’ LEN DEIGHTON


In 1942 Norman Hanson learnt to fly the Royal Navy’s newest fighter: the US-built Chance Vought Corsair. Fast, rugged and demanding to fly, it was an intimidating machine. But in the hands of it

Kindle Edition, 298 pages
Published November 24th 2016 by Silvertail Books
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Start your review of Carrier Pilot: One of the greatest pilot's memoirs of WWII - a true aviation classic.
This memoir is about a pilot aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. Hanson was a squadron commander. Hanson tells about his time in boot camp and in pilot training. He then describes life on the carrier, HMS Illustrious. Hanson describes in detail the actions he fought on HMS Illustrious in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Lieutenant Commander Normal Hanson was born in 1914 in the village of Keighley, Yorkshire. He served in the Royal Navy from 1941 to 1
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent book about the overlooked British aircraft carriers in the Pacific. I would highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in carrier pilot training and life. Although about the Brits there are American connections. They flew the American F4U Corsair fighters and the author received his flight training in Pensacola and Miami. It has lots of fascinating derails about his training, carrier landings and life aboard an aircraft carrier.
Edoardo Albert
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
There’s a strange new fashion in publishing to make a book’s subtitle into an advertising blurb. Browse Amazon – particularly its Kindle pages – and you will see books with, right there on their title lines, advertising bumph such as ‘the most uplifting and romantic novel’, ‘the gripping, bestselling Richard & Judy book club thriller’, and in the case of Carrier Pilot, ‘one of the greatest pilot’s memoirs of WWII – a true aviation classic’.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not. That’s not to
not much. not very well written. flaccid style and the usual R.A.F. smugness which was endemic to so many writers of that genre and era.
Earle F. stone
Feb 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Excellent !

Totally well written. Held my attention from start to Finish! The descriptions made you feel like you were there, living ut.

Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
If I had to choose one word to describe this book it would have to be "Interesting". I have read somewhere over 50 books on WWII, but this one provided an unique perspective. Although Hanson is by no means a polished writer he is quite readable. He received some of his training in the USA, so his description in that regard are the same as almost any other pilot's with the exception of his having a surprising talent for functioning under oxygen deprivation. The "Interesting" part comes from his d ...more
D. E.
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An NH. WW II Military, British Fleet Arm, Aviation Action Adventure (CP) (OOTGPMO WW II) (ATAC)

NH. has penned a World War II, British fleet arm, military aviation action adventure,b which begins with a young British pilot going through pilot training at NAS Pensacola where he learns the basic fundamentals of flight. As he advances through training he meets and has a good time in the Pensacola area. From NAS Pensacola he goes to NAS Opka Locka for advanced training. Upon completion he enters the
Terry Pray
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very good read

I have read probably 100 books on World war II, most by historians or biographers. This one is different. Being a memoir, it is, of course, filled with details of various battles from a pilots first person perspective but also contains numerous quips that will have you rolling on the floor. Keep in mind, the author is a British pilot so it is a British sense of humor but it is so rich that I actually burst out laughing in spots. It's a very good read and I highly recommend it to
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-read
Reading this book from the perspective of try to learn the most about flight and combat flying this book was intriguing. The time spent in air school and practicing carrier operations was informative. Due to the time period involved and the group there was less combat tactics discussed then I was expecting. However it was still a fun read. Hanson did a great job writing with a driving tempo and creating vivid descriptions of his past life. A recommendation for those interested in learning about ...more
Kelly Burgin
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The story of an English Corsair carrier pilot

This is one man's report of learning to fly then training for war as a carrier based pilot in the Pacific. Detailed and personal the story moves back and forth between machines then the men,and friends,that flew them. Many did not return home. Death occurred when least expected and, at times, as expected when brave men tried to inflict more damage on the enemy. A good read.
John Landers
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This is an interesting and well written insight into the training of WWII pilots in general and British Carrier pilots in particular. I had an occasional problem with language usage differences between American and British usages. I finished the book before I realized that there was a glossary in the back of the book.
Interesting details about flying, carrier takeoffs and landings and the general risks of flying and combat.
Jeffrey  Frazier
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The title says it all.

A worthwhile Read, I enjoyed it greatly. the duty of one pilot from training to the end of the war. The Pacific war is covered in around the last half of the story but the whole of it is entertaining. Mr Hanson captures you with amazing descriptions of procedures and of experiences of both be and his comrades in arms. I found myself quite sad when I got to the end. That is the mark of a great book/store it always leaves you wanting More.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
So so account of carrier fighting during WWII.

This book focuses mostly on the training and non air combat experiences of a British flyer in the Pacific theatre of the war. I was disappointed in the little time devoted to the actual combat experiences of the pilot. I would not recommend this book to anyone looking for more action. I was forced to skim over a third of it to stay awake.
Hijacking Of
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great technically correct effort about the tribulations of flying very high powered aircraft, initially by novice aviators. The reading was slowed somewhat because of the over use of British slang and colloquialisms. For aviation buffs, in particular F-4U Corsair aircraft, it's a gem.

I am associated with two very well known aviation museums - this book has enlightened me and will provide "backstory" anecdotes about military aviation in war time.
Andrew Downing
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great read, a different view of WW2 with lesser known operations and locations. A worthy read from beginning to end

Well written, easy to understand for an American, even with a decidedly British flair. Loved his perception of America, and his honest opinion about America’s racially charged history. Only a foot note on that subject compared to the bulk of the story but worth noting. Get a taste for the treacherous, thrilling life of fighter pilot in WW2.
Tony Threlkeld
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very good memoir of a WW2 pilot, from learning to fly and all the training to become a fighter pilot. He trained to become a carrier pilot. The author described his memories more or less day by day. Very sad parts of the book where friends were killed in accidents or in actual combat with the Japanese.
Don Crumbley
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Royal Navy Corsair in WWII

Not much is known about the heroic effort of the Corsair's use in WWII by the Royal Navy, as the U. S. Marines use of the Corsair in WWII in the Pacific Theater and Korea has the most press in the U.S. Well documented and clearly lays out the danger they incurred in use of the Corsair. It is an aviation classic.
marvin shults
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great Read

A very real review of history for those of who lived during those days. Certainly a great bit of history for the younger generations. One would think that man would not even think about starting a War. Something that many Politician's
Need to learn. Great job by the Author.
sally reid
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A riveting memoir

This was a truly riveting story to read! I thought that after looking at the number of pages it would take a bit to read. It took only 3 nights!! I learned a lot and was mesmerized by the telling of his escapades, his close calls, and life on the ship. I was truly saddened by his re-telling of the loss of friends and .comrades during his flight time!!
Allan van der Heiden
The war was harsh and the author does not deny it in the nonchalant way he reports when his colleagues died. The way it’s reported seems like those deaths made no impact but there must be lots of unresolved grief if the author is this blasé about death.

Very informative about the war though. Was an interesting read.
Rick B.H. Ghost
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
A book of one carrier pilot from his first flight to his remarkable survival and memories of the RN during World War 2. Good times, the loss of friends and the farewell to his home ship. The dangers not just towards air fights but the fear of landing on the decks of carriers you are put in the seat of those pilots.
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Will read again .

Very good memoir by British carrier aviator. Had never seen one by a Brit of carrier ops in Pacific theater. Well written but kind of slow to start as "Hans" writes as much about training as he does about the war itself.
Clare Johnson, CLU, ChFC
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very good picture of the spread from the British view

I chose the rating because the book deserved it! The author lived the life and told of the experience in a way that makes you feel as if you were there.
Larry C. Smith
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting read

Interesting stories about carrier pilots and their adventure at war. Some parts a little confusing and hard to understand since it was from an Englishman's point of view. Never the less, it was an amazing book to read.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Makes it come alive

Few books can transport the reader enough to cause rapid breathing, this one did several times and then often added humor relief too. This is a must read for WW II history buffs and even more so if you are interested in aircraft!
and military insight.
James D Werhane
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Well written memoir.

Liked the story from the prospective of an English Naval aviator. Mr. Hanson te!!s his story with typical British wit and reserve. Any fan of WW II history will enjoy this book.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent Book - Worthy Companion To First Light

This was an outstanding read. Authentic, gripping and well written. As per other reviews I’m surprised it’s not held in the same esteem as Geoffrey Wellum’s “First Light”.
Doug Rawden
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great insight into British Naval aviation during the war, a change from the Battle of Britain books, as brilliant as they are. So sad reading about those that lost their lives in accidents, not that any loss of life is acceptable. Thoroughly recommended if you enjoy this genre.
chuck erdrich
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great story of training and development of a pilot. Not so great on wartime mission flying.

Great story of training and development of a British military pilot sent to U.S. to train on American aircraft. Not so great on active mission duties.
David Bauld
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A hidden gem

First came across this book over twenty years ago and had been desperate to read again. It's a classic tale of a normal person in an abnormal world.

Would recommend to anybody interested in WW2 or aviation history
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