This title conjures up thoughts and images of UFOs, Aliens and possibly the ‘X Files’, thanks to the multitude of films, television programs and cheap paperbacks dealing with extra terrestrial beings, space travel and conspiracy theories. Leaving all that aside for the moment, this new Midland Counties book by Bill Rose covers the incredible number of circular winged projects that led ultimately to the term ‘flying saucer’.
In a similar vein to the Midland range of ‘Secret Projects’, this is yet another gem. Starting with very early designs, progressing through Luftwaffe wartime projects and on into the 1950s and up until today, it recounts the various attempts to uncover new aeronautical techniques and technology. But, it can be a bit heavy going at times. The number of aircraft covered is firstly quite amazing; and then the files which authors/historians/researchers like Bill Rose and Tony Buttler seem to have uncovered, is truly staggering. I thought I had a good knowledge of aircraft but there were a number here that were entirely new to me and I suspect will be to a number of readers.
To say I thought this book a ‘gem’ is quite an understatement. Sure, it looks at many of the controversial and more than likely untrue tales purported to be factual – the secret Nazi Antarctic base for one – and a number of unexplained sightings going back to the famous 1947 Kenneth Arnold sighting. Bill Rose offers suggestions towards some solutions wherever possible but where none plausible exists, he leaves it to the reader.
But the actual circular wing aircraft types abound and cover Luftwaffe and US military types along with earlier and later developments amongst which are the amazing Avro Canada projects and the Russian Tumenecotrans Bella-1. Is it all fanciful or is it fair dinkum? The answer is yes to both. It’s as fanciful as helicopters in the 1930s and as fair dinkum as helicopters today. It’s all in the perspective.
I think that it’s an intriguing book for any aviation enthusiast and released at a very competitive price. It is available from Hyland’s Bookshop in Melbourne (www.hylandsbookshop.com.au or 03 9654 7448) for about $50. My recommendation – well if you have any of the ‘Secret Projects’ on your shelf, especially the more modern and advanced titles, then this is a very worthy companion and I’d be very easily tempted to buy it.
Many thanks to Ms Orietta Colussi at DLS Australia Pty Ltd for the review copy.
Review by John Baxter