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November 2005 edition

World Encyclopaedia of Aircraft Manufacturers: From the Pioneers to the Present Day

By Airframer’s David Wright

Price: £40

First published in 1993, the World Encyclopaedia of Aircraft Manufacturers: From the Pioneers to the Present Day has been revised and will be reissued in a second edition this month. It comprises 530 pages of alphabetical entries, listing 4,321 companies.

The author/compiler, Bill Gunston, acknowledges that his task was made easier by the existence of the absolutely definitive and invaluable Jane’s All the World's Aircraft series, with which this volume must not be in any way compared. While Jane's provides voluminous detail about current manufacturing, this encyclopaedia offers a sketch of all players throughout the entire history of aircraft building.

Some entries are no more than half a dozen words, while others provide details of subsidiary companies and aircraft models produced. In each case the nationality of the company is indicated. There are over 1,000 black-and-white photographs of a fairly random selection of aircraft.

Many of the entries provide the basic information one might need; the dates when the manufacturer was active, its ultimate fate, and an idea of the category of aircraft produced. In some cases there is more detail, but in others the book raises more questions than it provides answers. For example, I find that Quaissard flew a high-wing single seater in 1983; but I am left wondering what happened. Was it ever produced, and does the company exist in any form now?

Those seeking comprehensive aircraft data, contact information, financial data, or any other type of market intelligence, will find that this book is not the answer. However, for the historian this book will provide an excellent first resort, and so will easily repay the modest cover price. Indeed, for anybody with an active interest in aircraft manufacturing it is an interesting volume through which to flick in an idle moment. I know that I, for one, will enjoy browsing through it regularly.

Readers are eligible for a 10% discount (£36.00) with free p&p to UK residents only. For all other p&p costs, readers should call customer services on: +44 (0) 1963 442 030. Or write to: Haynes Publishing, Sparkford, Nr Yeovil, Somerset. BA22 7JJ. To get a 10% discount, please quote campaign code: AM.

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