A Flying Life: An Enthusiast’s Photographic Record of British Aviation in the 1930s consists of photographs taken by E. J. Riding, the author’s father, who spent his working life in the aviation industry. He was apprenticed to A. V. Roe & Company and employed as an aircraft engineer up to the outbreak of war. During the war, Riding became an AID inspector and was seconded to Fairey Aviation, London Aircraft Production, and the de Havilland Aircraft Company, where he signed out Halifax bombers and Mosquitoes as airworthy and ready for test flying. Sadly, Riding was killed in a flying accident in 1950. During his short life, he gained a lasting reputation as an engineer, professional photographer, draughtsman, and aero modeller. Riding began taking photographs of aircraft in 1931, aged fifteen. Fortunately, he kept copious notes recording the locations and dates of when and where the aircraft were photographed. More importantly, he noted aircraft colour schemes – details rarely recorded by the press at the time. The range of aircraft types photographed by Riding includes Tiger Moths, RAF fighters, ultralights, and airliners. Together they give an extensive cross-section of flying in Britain up to the outbreak of the Second World War. The photographs are of excellent quality and taken from a variety of angles – they are not all of the sterile bog-standard side view. Many depict aircraft being stripped for maintenance and servicing, while others show aircraft dumped or having crashed. Although approached in a generally light-hearted manner, A Flying Life features in-depth and informative captions.
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Softback, 256 pages