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Post Info TOPIC: Stingray's Review: "Helicopters" (20th Century Weapons), Charles Messenger, 1985


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Date: Apr 12, 2012
Stingray's Review: "Helicopters" (20th Century Weapons), Charles Messenger, 1985

I rent this one a lot from my local library, since it is the only generally helicopter-centered book they have. To start off the review, this is the summary regarding the "20th Century Weapons" book series, as seen in the back of the publication:


This series of books describes the development of the 20th Century armaments industry.

Featuring the most modern weapons, and always including personnel involvement, each book looks at today's examples from all over the world. 

The books include photographs and illustrations and end with a concise history, tracing the technological development and theaters of operation of each subject.


First of all, I find it quite refreshing finding a book (from the 80's!) for beginners on the subject that includes international developments, not just our own work!

It is filled with wonderful rare and historical photographs of all kinds of rotorcraft, even in-depth illustrations on how military rotorcraft operate in the battlefield, and how their special equipment work.

However, it has many flaws with the information! Allow me to list it, as that's how nitpicky I am:

  • Manufacturer/Designation/Name mix-ups: I HATE these kind of mistakes! For example; "Hughes 500-MD" should be "Hughes-MDD Model 500", and "Apache AH-64" should be "AH-64 Apache". These are childish mistakes that really get under my skin. It reminds me of when I was 12 and I use to call the Mi-24V 'Hind-E' the "Hind-E Mi-24".
  • A photo on Page 18 is labelled as the "Italian Agusta 109 attack helicopter", when it is in fact the prototype A.129 "Mangusta"! Now here is the odd part: in the back of the book you'll find a history about the world's helicopters. There you will find a photo of the real A.109, with proper label, PLUS a mention of the A.129 with proper description of the aircraft. Good lord, does the author not pay attention to his own research?
  • An illustration later in the book shows a crew maintaining an AH-1, but they label it as an "AH-1X". I'm sorry, but that's your typical AH-1F.
  • The historical section says the very first attack helicopters started from the AH-1. I really wish they would mention the "Vanderpool's Fools" and armed UH-1 aircraft, because those were very important steps to get actual attack helicopters, and really not fair to just not include them and lead people to believe it ALL started with the Cobra!
  • First flight mistakes: There are a few of them, notably; Mil Mi-8 - first flight of V-8 prototype was June 24th, 1961, not 1960. Mil Mi-24 - first flight of V-24 prototype was September 19th, 1969, not 1970. That was actually the year when it began state acceptance trials. Mil Mi-14 - first flight of V-14 prototype was September 1967, not 1972.

Overall, I find this book a wonderful reference mostly for the photographs. As far as the actual information? You might want to do some double-checking in another book or the internet.

Out of 5 stars, I give it a 3-and-a-half. Not bad, but mostly for beginners to the world of rotorcraft.


lllll   As of 2019 I have transitioned; My name is now Rei. Please don't deadname or misgender me, thank you. <3   lllll

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