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The Irish Air Corps Celebrates 100 Years of Flight,

published by the Irish Air Corps,

A4, 112 pages, softback or hardback, 310 photographs B&W and colour,

ISBN-0-9546669-0-9.

Available from: The Air Corps Bookshop, Baldonnel, Dublin 22.

 

This is a beautifully produced volume, arranged in chronological order. It gives not only a pictorial history of the Air Corps (IAC) but also of the important events in aviation history which have taken place at Baldonnel Aerodrome.

 

The Air Corps has a rich photo archive going back to 1922 and its first aircraft, the Martinsyde Type A Mk.1 "The Big Fella". Moreover, many past and present members of the IAC are enthusiastic and talented photographers. Therefore the production team has been able to select from a vast range of images, many of which have not been published before - showing aircraft, personalities and locations through the years.

 

A number of the photographs really stand out - the six Avro 631s in cruciform formation over a steamer arriving at Dun Laoghaire in 1932 bearing the Papal Legate and the USAF C-124 Globemasters dominating the ramp at Baldonnel in the early 1960s, where they had called to uplift Irish troops proceeding to the Congo on UN service are very striking. The graceful lines of the Fouga Magister are well-captured in a high speed, low level run past the control tower, which may be contrasted with a later "Top Gun" pose of the award winning Silver Swallows aerobatic display team. The montage of cockpit shots from 1928 to the present day is a most interesting feature. There are also many really beautiful studies of formations above the Irish countryside.

 

The pictures are linked by succinct but informative captions. At the end of the book there are eleven pages of colour plates of rank markings, insignia and line drawings of 30 major aircraft types. A full list of serial numbers and delivery dates is also included.

 

Taken as a whole, this book gives an excellent flavour of an air arm which takes a great pride in its history and in its professionalism. All proceeds from sales will go to three worthy causes - CAMP (an IAC charity which helps disabled persons participate in adventure activities), the Defence Forces Liberia Assistance Fund and the Air Corps Museum Fund.