2 out of 4 stars
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Long Distance Flyer, G-EBFO is written by Kenneth T. Ward and delivers a true account of the first person to fly from England to Australia and back in the De Havilland D.H. 50J biplane. Kenneth T. Ward is the nephew of one of the flight engineers present for the majority of the journey and spent over 10 years collecting research for this piece. He served in the Royal Airforce and specialized in aircraft instruments. His military background provided the necessary knowledge needed to really nail the technical descriptions present in this book. He now runs his own business marketing bathroom accessories and is surrounded by a loving wife, four children, and a whole lot of grandchildren.
Long Distance Flyer, G-EBFO is a nonfiction piece that details the story of a pilot named Alan Cobham who made it his life’s mission to advance long-distance air travel. Cobham set out to be the first person to fly the De Havilland D.H. 50J biplane from Britain to Australia. He spent roughly a year making travel preparations, giving speeches, and recruiting sponsors. In order to fund the trip, sponsored support was crucial. On June 30, 1926, Alan Cobham and his first flight engineer, Arthur Elliott, took off from Britain in the registered, amphibious aircraft, G-EBFO, also known as FO. Everything that could have gone wrong, did. Severe weather conditions were grossly underestimated, and no one anticipated the death of Arthur Elliott. Arthur Ward was recruited as Elliott’s replacement. Cobham and Ward completed the journey in about three months after enduring 26,000 miles of unforeseeable complications.
Kenneth T. Ward provides a ton of insight into the technical details and sheer luck that rendered this journey successful. He delivers a detailed description of the mechanical components of FO and includes historical photographs for visual amplification. Even the most technically challenged individuals should be able to grasp the content. I had no concept of the sacrifices these men made in order to advance travel. Families were left behind, emergency landings were made over unfamiliar bodies of water, unpredictable weather patterns caused mechanical malfunctions, and their lives were constantly in jeopardy. Many times, Cobham and Ward had to wing it and hope for the best.
I love how the author provides blurbs of information about the foreign territories that were encountered on the journey. The layovers are accompanied by historical tidbits and scenic imagery that provide the reader with cultural insight. Considering the technical nature of this book, this method really allows for a more humanized, reading experience. Based on content, I really enjoyed this story.
There are a shocking number of grammatical, mechanical, and punctuation errors present in the writing. Unfortunately, it’s loaded with sentence fragments, dangling modifiers, incorrectly used words, and capitalization errors. Run-on sentences fill entire pages, and the time of day appears in at least three different formats. I really struggled with rating Long distance flyer, G-EBFO. I enjoyed the unique insight the author was able to contribute to this story, and it definitely has the potential to attract a large array of readers;however, I cannot recommend this book to others because the editing is seriously lacking. I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars.
Long Distance Flyer, G-EBFO. ISBN 978-1-78222-456-3
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