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Pioneers to Partners - British Aircraft Since 1945

Pioneers to PartnersWe at Foyles are delighted to bring you more information about our very own Christopher Foyle's book, Pioneers to Partners, a history of British aircraft from 1945.

Since the Second World War Britain has been at the forefront of the revolution in the aeronautics industry. Charting the history of flight in the past 60 years through detailed accounts of every British aircraft produced in the period, Christopher's remarkable book sheds new light on the fascinating story of British aviation. His book provides details, in chronological order, of every British-built aircraft since 1945, as well as those products of international programmes where British industry has made a major contribution. Not forgotten are the smaller companies and individuals, with appendices giving brief details of home-builts, gliders and even airships.

Christopher has loved aircraft, particularly British ones, since he was 8. He learned to fly, on gliders, when he was 15, and has been flying ever since. As well as being our chairman at Foyles, he is also the founder and chairman of the Air Foyle Group of aviation companies. Having been chairman of the Air League, he is now its deputy president. Wearing yet another of his hats, he has also expressed his ongoing love affair with words through Foyle's Philavery and Foyle's Further Philavery.

The Foreword, which has been written by Marshal of the Royal Air Force, HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT, is reproduced here:


Before the arrival of the electronic age, aviation was probably the last flowering of the industrial revolution. Stimulated by two world wars, the British aviation industry attracted a remarkable generation of pioneering designers and constructors. They followed in the footsteps of the great British engineers and manufacturers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The first generation of civil airliners came into service between the wars before immense strides were made in the performance of British military aircraft of all kinds during the second world war. There followed a period of intense development of both military and civil aircraft until the escalating costs of research and development, and the sheer complexities of design and manufacture dictated, first, greater integration of the British aviation industry and then ever wider international partnerships.

This book tells the story of the evolution of the British aviation industry from the immense contribution of the individual pioneers to the invaluable work of the designers and manufacturers of the highly specialised components of contemporary civil and military aircraft. The authors of this book have attempted to illustrate the progress of British aircraft construction since 1945, including the smaller end of the market, where resourceful individuals have made particular contributions. The result is a reminder to everyone of the great pool of engineering and scientific talent which this country possesses.

I was fortunate enough to live through this period, and to have had an unusual opportunity to get to know many of the leaders, and also to fly many of their products. I hope this book will be a reminder of one of the great ages of British engineering initiative, and, hopefully, an inspiration for future engineers.

Click here for listings and information about key Airships and Dirigibles, Home-built Aircraft and Replicas, and Gliders and Sailplanes.

View some sample pages here.

Read an exclusive interview with Christopher Foyle

Pioneers to Partners available editions

Pioneers to Partners: British ...
Christopher Foyle; Leo Marriott

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