Over a 32-year military flying career that spanned a period when the Royal Air Force regularly replaced its fighter/bombers, author Ian Hall had seven front-line flying tours on five different types.
His story starts in Bahrain flying the Hunter in the early 1970s, just before the massive contraction that saw the RAF withdraw from the Middle and Far East. This is followed by a home-based tour on a ground-attack Phantom squadron. But as the Phantom is about to be transferred to air defense duties, Hall is posted back to the Hunter on the staff of the tactical weapons unit.
This tour, as a qualified weapons instructor, is cut short by a return to the front line on the Jaguar, which he flies in the strike/attack role in Germany.
Following an exchange with the Royal Norwegian Air Force during which he enjoys flying the F-5A Freedom Fighter, Hall returns to the Jaguar as a flight commander, then converts to the Tornado and commands a squadron.
All these flying tours provide a rich source of material for incisive, amusing and, sometimes, reflective observations from the cockpit, according to the publisher.
As do his periods on the ground, from which he recalls impressions of various other types in which he flew as a guest: Lightning, Harrier, F-14 Tomcat, F-16, and so on.
He also relates observations of his varied experiences with the army, the navy and foreign air forces, and these are interspersed with musings on the political interface and on friends lost in accidents.
Later, Hall surprised himself by switching to civil aviation, and the book touches upon his 12-year experience of a fast jet pilot who became a turboprop captain.
In the book, he reflects on a great life of flying, as well as takes a brief look at the things that keep a retired pilot amused.
The hardback 192-page book sells for $39.95.