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‘No Echo in the Sky’ is a delightfully written book where Harald Penrose draws on personal experiences from his long and distinguished career. Harald Penrose was chief test pilot at Westland Aircraft Ltd from 1931 to 1953 and his flying experience spanned man carrying kites before the First World War, to early jet fighters and helicopters. With lyrical prose matching that of Laurie Lee he provides pen sketches of almost unsurpassed beauty.
In describing his early flying in the few days after his first solo flight he writes: ‘Flight succeeded flight, and assurance grew, and my climbs reached higher. Rising in great circles, the sun would throw the shadow of my head alternately on each lower wing, and cast on the drum-tight fabric of their surface the silhouette of struts and wires. As the world of green sank into remoteness, a universe of space, brilliant with light, became my long-dreamed heritage. This sense of breathless discovery was like opening a book of wisdom written in a strange, entrancing language of sunlit, cloud-patterned hills, and valleys that seemed to be imbued with the mystery of life as though some languorous spirit dwelt in their folds.’
Perhaps the most dramatic chapter in the book is ‘Winged Pegasus’ where he describes the altitude test in a two-seater Houston-Westland. The aim of the test was to ascertain if it could reach the height to fly over Mount Everest. The test took place over the south coast of England on a sunny December day in 1932. His aircraft reached the amazing height of 37,000―more than seven miles high―where to his horror he ran out of fuel and the engine came to a stop . . . ‘But whilst I thought and hoped and wondered, the engine note insidiously changed and the pulse of life that vibrated throughout the machine became uncertain. It was happening. The engine was stopping. Five seconds later the power faded and vanished. Only the slipstream strove to spin the broad wooden propeller against the compression of the lifeless engine. Presently that, too, gave up the struggle and the propeller stopped altogether.’
From his first flight to the experience of flying a jet―the Gloster Meteor―Penrose’s well-chosen passages will be a delight to any aviation enthusiast.
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Harald Penrose was chief test pilot at Westland Aircraft Ltd from 1931 to 1953, a naval architect, and an aviation author. His flying experience spanned man carrying kites before the First World War, to early jet fighters and helicopters. He designed, built and flew his own glider in the 1930s, designed 36 boats and yachts, and wrote many books describing his flying career and the history of British aviation.
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Book Description Arno, NY, 1972. hardcover. Reprint. New hardcover (issued without Dust Jacket). Originally published in 1958. Penrose was chief test pilot for Westland Aircraft from 1931 to 1953 and also authored numerous books on british aviation. Seller Inventory # 148614
Book Description Arno Press, New York, 1972. HARDCOVER. Condition: VERY GOOD. 1972. Arno Press, New York. Hardcover. Book-VG+ spine ends a little knocked. First thus. Royal blue covers with silver gilt titles and 4 silver gilt historic aeroplane motif illustrations on front. Book- VG+, spine ends a little bumped. 134pp + a list of the other volumes in the series. In the Arno Press collection "LITERATURE AND HISTORY OF AVIATION", with James Gilbert as Advisory Editor. Harald Penrose was one of the British aviation industry's most respected test pilots. For 22 years he was chief test pilot at Westland Aircraft. Seller Inventory # 1609925
Book Description Ayer Co Pub, 1971. Condition: Good. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP93781814