The Horten Ho 9 / Ho 229 Technical History
by David Myhra
a Schiffer Military History Book
a review by Steve Jantscher
The Horton Ho 9 / Ho 229 Technical history is a new book released by Schiffer Military History company which covers in exquisite detail the technical side of one of the most revolutionary and ahead of its time aircraft designs. As a boy, I had a book on the air war during WWII which showed a wingless Ho 229. I remember thinking how cool that looked. Later, a few years ago I purchased the DML Ho 229 flying wing fighter, and that really sparked my interest in the design.
The Horton brothers, like Dr. Alexander Lippisch and Jack Northrop were early advocates of flying wing design aircraft. Jack Northrup's designs eventually led to the B-2 Spirit bomber, the Lippisch designs were directly used to make the Me-163 and Convair eventually used his research to aid in the design of the F-102, F-106, B-58 and other delta wing designs. The Horton brothers main experience in designing all wing aircraft centered around gliders, but the real excitement came with the introduction of powered aircraft. Their story is told in this book in a unique two step approach. A large part of the first half of the book is a series of long and detailed interviews with company and Luftwaffe personnel that were intimately involved with these aircraft. These interviews are quite interesting as the author asks the type of questions I as an aviation buff would ask. The subject of the interviews answer in a conversational style, often adding more parenthetical information and stories than the interviewer may have originally hoped for. The technical aspects of this book are the heart of the subject matter, and the questions always return to these matters.
The second half of this book has numerous chapters that detail different purely technical aspects of the design, construction and flight experiences of the various Horton flying wing aircraft. Throughout the book are hundreds of good quality black and white photographs and drawings that support the text. I especially found interesting the discussion of the "New York Bomber" that the Hortons were asked to design.
This is a standard large format hard cover book of 280 pages, printed on high quality glossy paper. The fly leaf indicates that this is a companion volume to the author's previous book Horton Ho IX Retrospective, which unfortunately I have not seen. from reading this book, the self-described Horton biographer knows his subject. This is a must have book for anyone who enjoys histories of cutting edge aircraft design. It is fun reading about the trials and tribulations these men faced in following their dream of a successful flying wing.
I have had mixed results with some Schiffer Military books. They often require more editorial control than is shown, and I've found some that plainly were rushed, and not worth the money. They can be very hit-and-miss quality and value wise. With that history, and understanding, I think I can safely say that this book is one of their "good ones". If you like pioneering aviation efforts, be it the X-15 or the Wright brothers, this book will appeal to you. If combat flying is your cup of tea, this may not appeal to you. Me, I think I'll pick this one up.
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