Book-Signing Session - 27th November 1999
As part of the Cape Records Anniversary celebration in November 1999, Alex Henshaw will be signing copies of his books The Flight of the Mew Gull and Sigh for a Merlin.
The Flight of the Mew Gull deals not only with his epic and record breaking flight from London to Cape Town and back in February 1939, but also with his early life and experiences as a young aviator growing up in the golden age of flying between the First and Second World Wars. It is not often that great doers are also great writers, but Alex Henshaw's literary style is engaging and readable, and his technical accuracy and attention to detail is impressive and rewarding to anyone with a serious interest in the issues surrounding an epic flight of this nature.
The Flight of the Mew Gull is by Alex Henshaw, and published by Airlife Publishing Ltd,101 Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9EB, England. The softcover edition was reprinted in 1998.
Sigh for a Merlin is Alex Henshaw's account of his experiences as Chief Test Pilot at Castle Bromwich, the largest factory producing Spitfires and Lancaster bombers during the war. It has been described as 'one of the best Spitfire books' by RAF News, and Henshaw brings the same immediacy to this work as he does to his other book, The Flight of the Mew Gull.
Sigh for a Merlin is written by Alex Henshaw and published by Air Data Publications Limited, Southside, Manchester Airport, Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 4LL
A softcover edition is due for release by Crécy Publishing in October 1999.
Open Cockpit Over Africa is the extraordinary story of Victor Smith's heroic attempts on the Cape-To-England record in 1932 (when he was only 19), and the England-to-Cape record in 1933. Both challenges failed, but only due to exceptional bad luck. While flying North in his self-adapted Gipsy II Moth his fuel system sprang a leak in a violent storm, forcing him to land in the North African desert. On the return trip, an unprecedented headwind for 1400 miles caused him to run out of fuel not far North of Cape Town. Although in both cases superb airmanship enabled him to continue his flight after refuelling, the records sadly remained out of reach.
It is a measure of Smith's skill as a pilot that in 7000 hours of flying over a period of 46 years and including 21 forced landings due to engine failure, he never damaged an aircraft.
Alex Henshaw wrote as follows in The Aeroplane: "Victor Smith writes in a simple, straightforward style which has the ring of truth. His is a book of adventure in an era that has long since passed, which should appeal to all ages - but more importantly, to the young aspirant aviators of today".
Open Cockpit Over Africa is written by Victor Smith and edited by Roger Williams. The Revised Edition is published by Mills Litho, Maitland, Cape (1998). Proceeds from sales of the book have been donated by the Author to the South African Air Force Association.
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