Helicopters of the Third Reich
by Steve Coates
with Jean-Christopher Carbonel
Published by Classic Publications
reviewed by Steve Jantscher
I love books, well made, well written, illustrated. I like all good books, and that is why I'll be buying this book, Helicopters of the Third Reich by Steve Coates. Now I don't have any special place in my heart for those funny looking things called early helicopters. And I know all the jokes about their blades making the thing fly because they beat the air into submission. No, I like this book because it is a continuing production from a high quality aviation book company specializing (so far) in aircraft of the Third Reich and World War Two air to air combat.
This book, number ten, is the ninth volume produced by Classic Publications in their series on German aviation (Luftwaffe) during WWII. The missing volume number 9 is the second part of the Me-163 entry, as yet unpublished. All these books may be considered as the most up to date and definitive work on their subject. If for no other reason than to purchase a book that presents the best about a subject, that may soon be out of print, an enthusiast should grab this book soon.
I remember reading some time ago about the famous German aviatrix Hanna Reitsch who flew an early helicopter inside some hall before the war. That was all I knew of foreign helicopter development. My father in law, who grew up in Connecticut, told me of watching Igor Sikorsky pilot his early helicopters over the city and beaches. So I was no helicopter expert when I came to this book for the first time. It is a very fascinating subject, and like many other areas of German aviation study, shows to advantage their unrivaled lead in helicopter technology. It is interesting that like the delayed development of the jet engine due to immature material science, many of the problems of early helicopter development are caused by things simply breaking. Materials were just not strong enough to do what was asked of them. This book shows the early attempts and studies these pioneers made. It is with out a doubt the single best source on the subject that has ever been written, and is ever likely to be written. Filled with hundreds of black and white pictures, with some color shots and side profiles, this is nothing if not exhaustive. Every major aircraft is also shown in detailed line drawings. A hard cover with 224 pages, it measures 12x9.25 inches.
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