Are you feeling the need for speed? Here's a compilation of 10 aviation books from recent military conflicts for you to listen to on your drive to work. Spend that time getting up to speed on recent conflicts from a birds eye perspective to further your knowledge in the art of war.
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST DECORATED COMBAT PILOTS
By Dan Hampton
151 combat missions
21 hard kills on surface-to-air-missile sites.
Four Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valour.
One Purple Heart.
Sure to rank as one of the greatest aviation memoirs ever written, Viper Pilot is an Air Force legend's thrilling eyewitness account of modern air warfare.
From 1986 to 2006, Lt. Col. Dan Hampton was a leading member of the Wild Weasels, the elite Air Force fighter squadrons whose mission is recognized as the most dangerous job in modern air combat. Weasels are the first planes sent into a war zone, flying deep behind enemy lines purposely seeking to draw fire from surface-to-air missiles and artillery. They must skilfully evade being shot down - and then return to destroy the threats, thereby making the skies safe for everyone else to follow. Today these vital missions are more hazardous than direct air-to-air engagement with enemy aircraft. Hampton's record number of strikes on high-value targets make him the most lethal F-16 Wild Weasel pilot in American history. This is his remarkable story.
Taught to fly at an early age by his father, Hampton logged twenty years and 608 combat hours in the world's most iconic fighter jet: the F-16 "Fighting Falcon", or "Viper" as its pilots call it. Hampton spearheaded the 2003 invasion of Iraq, leading the first flight of fighters over the border en route to strike Baghdad. In the war that followed, he engaged in a series of brilliantly executed missions that earned him three Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor; he notably saved a U.S. Marine unit from certain death by taking out the surrounding enemy forces near Nasiriyah. Two years earlier, on 9/11, Hampton's father was inside the Pentagon when it was attacked; with his dad's fate unknown, Hampton was scrambled into American skies and given the unprecedented orders to shoot down any unidentified aircraft. Hampton also flew critical missions in the first Gulf War, served on the Air Combat Command staff during the Kosovo War, and was injured in the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist attack.
With manned missions rapidly giving way to remote-controlled UAV drones, Viper Pilot may be the last memoir by a true hero of the skies. Gripping and irreverently humorous, it is an unforgettable look into the closed world of fighter pilots and modern air combat.
HOGS IN THE SAND
A GULF WAR A-10 PILOT'S COMBAT JOURNAL
By Buck Wyndham
"I am awed by my destructive power. With a small squeeze of the gun trigger under my right index finger, I can rip the turret off a thirty-ton battle tank and throw it 200 feet across the desert, while the rest of the tank burns in an explosion of white-hot, burning phosphorescence. But the cold, morbid reality of it does not exist from where I sit and watch it happen. There's no dramatic chord. No deafening explosion. No screams suddenly stifled. The soundtrack of a pilot's war is mostly silent."
The mighty, iconic A-10 Warthog was first thrust into battle in Operation Desert Storm. The men who took it through walls of flak and surface-to-air missiles to help defeat the world's fourth-largest army were as untested as their airplanes, so they relied on personal determination and the amazing A-10 to accomplish their missions, despite the odds.
Hogs in the Sand is the epic and deeply personal year-long journey of one of those pilots as he fights an increasingly terrifying war, all the while attempting to win over a woman and keep control of his internal demons. For anyone who has admired the Warthog, seen it in action, or called upon it to be their salvation, this story will fulfill a desire to virtually strap into the cockpit, while gaining unprecedented understanding of the mind of a modern combat pilot.
BRITAIN'S LEGENDARY JUMP JET AND THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE FALKLANDS WAR
By Rowland White
When the Falkland Islands were invaded by Argentina in April 1982, Britain’s immediate response was to send a task force. But behind the pomp and bravado of its departure, a sober reality lurked. A mere 20 Sea Harriers operating from two aircraft carriers would take on the might of the Argentine air force, some 200 planes strong. The MOD estimated that within four days and against such formidable air power, half the harriers would likely be lost.
To reinforce that meagre force, and in just three weeks, the Navy formed, trained and equipped a brand new squadron from scratch. Not since the Second World War had so much been expected of such a small band of pilots. Their home would be a container ship converted into a makeshift carrier. 809 Naval Air Squadron was born.
Other covert operations mounted by MI6 and the SAS in Latin America would provide vital intelligence to protect the task force from attack, but in the vanguard of the conflict it would be the Sea Harriers of the 809 whose heroics in the South Atlantic which would become legendary.
With characteristic insider knowledge and in thrilling detail, Rowland White tells the story of those amazing exploits - the dogfights, the 23 kills, the deadly Exocet attacks, the ejections - demonstrating just why the Harrier is mentioned in the same breath as the Spitfire, the Lancaster, and the Vulcan and is destined to join them in the ranks of our most celebrated aeronautical achievements.
THE THRILLING ACCOUNT OF THE TYPHOON FGR4s IN THE WAR AGAINST ISIS, FROM THE RAF WING COMMANDER WHO LED THEM INTO COMBAT
By Mike Sutton
The thrilling account of the Typhoon FGR4s in the war against ISIS, from the RAF Wing commander who led them into combat.
The Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 is the most advanced multi-role combat aircraft in the world. Capable of flying at nearly twice the speed of sound and powering to a height of more than 10 miles in less time than it takes to boil a kettle, a single Typhoon can also deliver a heavy bomb load with such lethal precision that a whole squadron of Lancasters could not have guaranteed the same result.
Taking command of the RAF's premier Typhoon squadron represented the pinnacle of Mike Sutton's career as fighter pilot. Until the day he was told he would be leading 1 (Fighter) Squadron into battle against a bloody and brutal enemy hell-bent on establishing a permanent stronghold across Syria and Iraq and spreading terror across the free world.
Their mission was to help stop them in their tracks.
In proving the Typhoon in combat, they would be flying in some of the world's most treacherous skies, where ground fire, anti-aircraft artillery and the latest surface-to-air missiles posed a constant danger. The threat of getting shot down behind enemy lines was a fact of life.
Typhoon is the first inside account of the RAF's long war against ISIS; a campaign in which any mistake could have devastating consequences. The loss of innocent lives resulting from their fight against the enemy was simply not an option. 1 Squadron fought with distinction over the trenches of the First World War, in the Battle of Britain and during the Falklands War. Over an intense, extraordinarily demanding deployment against a brutal enemy, this gripping and dramatic story of modern conflict sees them in action once again.
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
By John Nichol
Former Tornado Navigator John Nichol tells the incredible story of the RAF Tornado force during the First Gulf War in 1991; the excitement and the danger, the fear and the losses. It is an extraordinary account of courage and fortitude.
We were doing about 620 miles-per-hour, 200 feet above the desert, in total darkness. Everything was running on rails as we approached the target. Then all hell broke loose. I remember the missile being fired at us; I broke left and shouted, “Chaff!”
All I could see was a flame, like a very large firework, coming towards me. Then there was a huge white flash. I remember an enormous wind and then I was knocked unconscious. My last thoughts were that I was going to die.’
In 1990, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion and occupation of neighbouring Kuwait, setting in motion a chain of events that had unimaginable political, military and personal repercussions, which still reverberate around the globe today.
This is the story of the aircrew at the heart of Operation Desert Storm, almost none of whom had any prior experience of armed combat. It is the story of the Tornado’s missions, of those who did not return - and of the families who watched and waited as one of the most complex conflicts in recent history unfolded live on television. It is a story of untold fear and suffering, and astounding courage in the face of hitherto unimaginable adversity.
THE SECRET CONTEST TO INVENT INVISIBLE AIRCRAFT
By Peter Westwick
On a moonless night in January 1991, a dozen US aircraft appeared in the skies over Baghdad. To the Iraqi air defenses, the planes seemed to come from nowhere. Each aircraft was more than 60 feet in length and with a wingspan of 40 feet, yet its radar footprint was the size of a ball bearing. Here was the first extensive combat application of Stealth technology. And it was devastating.
Radar has been in use since the 1930s and was essential to the Allies in World War II, when American investment in radar exceeded that in the Manhattan Project. The atom bomb ended the war, conventional wisdom has it, but radar won it. That experience also raised a question: could a plane be developed that was invisible to radar? That question, and the seemingly impossible feat of physics and engineering behind it, took on increasing urgency during the Cold War.
Combining nail-biting narrative, incisive explanation of the science and technology involved, and indelible portraits of unforgettable characters, immerses readers in the story of an innovation with revolutionary implications for modern warfare.
AN OFFICER, NOT A GENTLEMAN
THE INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEY OF A PIONEERING FEMALE FIGHTER PILOT
By Mandy Hickson
'Mandy, break right...’ Jacko’s urgent scream shatters my bubble of bliss like a balloon exploding. My right hand slams the stick across and we tip over sideways, like a hard right turn on a roller coaster. I tense my stomach muscles to accept the punch in the guts from the g-suit, which clamps my legs tight to force the blood to my brain and stop me from blacking out.
‘Missile launch, five o’clock...’ says the strained voice of my nav into my headset. I am not daydreaming anymore.
Flying a multi-million pound fighter jet in hostile territory is not an everyday career, and it comes with a high degree of pressure and responsibility. It’s a dream job that takes years of ambition, training and commitment, but for Mandy Hickson, it was a dream that became reality. Find out about Mandy’s incredible journey to become one of the UK’s first female, fast-jet pilots and how she overcame many obstacles to develop the skills to succeed in such a demanding career.
MY LIFE IN WAR, PEACE, AND THE COCKPIT OF THE NAVY'S MOST LETHAL AIRCRAFT, THE F/A 18 SUPER HORNET
By Caroline Johnson
Caroline Johnson was an unlikely aviator candidate. A tall blonde debutante from Colorado, she could have just as easily gone into fashion or filmmaking, and yet she went on to become an F/A-18 Super Hornet Weapons System Operator. She was one of the first women to fly a combat mission over Iraq since 2011, and she was the first woman to drop bombs on ISIS.
Jet Girl tells the remarkable story of the women fighting at the forefront in a military system that allows them to reach the highest peaks and yet is in many respects still a fraternity. Johnson offers an insider’s view on the fascinating, thrilling, dangerous, and, at times, glamorous world of being a naval aviator.
This is a coming-of age story about a young college-aged girl who draws strength from a tight-knit group of friends, called the Jet Girls, and struggles with all the ordinary problems of life: love, work, catty housewives, father figures, make-up, wardrobe, not to mention being put into harm’s way daily with terrorist groups such as ISIS and world powers such as Russia and Iran.
Some of the most memorable parts of the audiobook are about real life in training, in the air and in combat - how do you deal with having to pee in a cockpit the size of a bumper car going 900 miles an hour?
Not just a memoir, this audiobook also aims to change the conversation and to inspire and attract the next generation of men and women who are tempted to explore a life of adventure and service.
THE NUMEBR ONE BEST SELLER
By Rowland White
When Argentine forces invaded the Falklands in the early hours of 2 April 1982, Britain's military chiefs were faced with a real-life Mission Impossible. Its opening shot, they decided, would be Operation Black Buck: to strike a body blow at the occupying army and make them realise that nothing was safe - not even Buenos Aires....
The idea was simple: to destroy the vital landing strip at Port Stanley. The reality was more complicated. The only aircraft that could possibly do the job was three months from being scrapped, and the distance it had to travel was 4,000 miles beyond its maximum range. It would take 15 Victor tankers and 17 separate in-flight refuellings to get one Avro Vulcan B2 over the target and give its crew any chance of coming back alive.
Yet less than a month later, a formation of elderly British jets was launched from a remote island airbase to carry out the longest-range air attack in history. At the tip of the spear was a single aircraft, six men, and 21 thousand-pound bombs, facing a hornet's nest of modern weaponry: the radar-guided guns and missiles of the Argentine defences. There would be no second chances.
It was the end of an era - the last time the RAF flew heavy bombers into combat before they were replaced by their digital, fly-by-wire, laser-guided successors. There were many who believed it couldn't be done.
Drawing on extensive interviews with the combatants, Falklands residents and British High Command, and with unprecedented access to contemporary military records, Rowland White takes us, for the first time, to the beating heart of the legendary raid. Vulcan 607 is a story of ingenuity, courage and sheer bloody-mindedness that's destined to become a classic.
LESSONS FROM THE COCKPIT
By Mark Hasara
From a veteran air-refueling expert who flew missions for over two decades during the Cold War, Afghan War, and Iraq War comes a thrilling eyewitness account of modern warfare, with inspirational stories and moral lessons for people on the battlefield, in boardrooms, and in their everyday lives.
Get a glimpse of life in the pilot's seat and experience modern air warfare directly from a true American hero. Lt. Col Mark Hasara - who has 24 years of experience in flying missions around the world - provides keen and eye-opening insights on success and failure and emphasizes the importance of always being willing to learn.
He provides 12 essential lessons based on his wartime experience from his missions during the Cold War, Gulf War, and Iraq War. With a foreword by number one New York Times best-selling author and radio host Rush Limbaugh, this is a military memoir not to be missed.
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