A New Book About Flying.
“Into the Blue”. By Captain Norman Macmillan, M.C., ; Duckworth : 8s. 6d.
MANY of us, to whom the ” Rumpety,” the “Oneand-Half Strutter,” the “Sop. Pup” and “Sop. Camel” mean something more than mere names have waited, and waited a long time, for a book like ” Into the Blue.” Quite a number of books about war-time flying have appeared during the past few years but none, one ventures to say, has had the real atmosphere of those days which, to quote the author of “Into the Blue,” were
a good and bad time rolled into one. . . . a great and glorious adventure.”
Captain Macmillan, who is now test pilot for the Fairey Aviation Co., takes us through the whole of his career in the R.F.C. and R.A.F. from the time he transferred from the infantry in 1916 up to 1921. And the atmosphere is there. One reads of that abbreviated and hectic course at the ground school where one learned or tried to learn the intricacies of the rigging of the B.E.2.c., the theory of flight and a hundred and one other subjects ; one reads and remembers. One reads of the author’s first solo on a Farman Longhorn and his words echo the feelings of thousands
. . . .
“I flew around, unconscious of anything save the joy of flying, of controlling the live apparatus that bore me along on outstretched wings. . . . Suddenly I felt acutely alone. I wanted to get back to them (his friends on the ground), to feel the friendliness of their presence. . . . ‘ Remember ?
Then comes the sterner work when he joined his squadron overseas (No. 45), where the hangars were of the Bessoneau portable type, the quarters, Nissen huts and the machines the Sopwith one-and-half strutters. New pilots in those days, he reminds us, were received “with interest and kindliness but without enthusiasm.”
Into the Blue” is a great book, full of realism but written with restraint, which every air-minded person should read.