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Publisher's Summary

Fatal Flight brings vividly to life the year of operation of R.101, the last great British airship - a luxury liner three and a half times the length of a 747 jet, with a spacious lounge, a dining room that seated 50, glass-walled promenade decks, and a smoking room. The British expected R.101 to spearhead a fleet of imperial airships that would dominate the skies as British naval ships, a century earlier, had ruled the seas. The dream ended when, on its demonstration flight to India, R.101 crashed in France, tragically killing nearly all aboard. Combining meticulous research with superb storytelling, Fatal Flight guides us from the moment the great airship emerged from its giant shed - nearly the largest building in the British Empire - to soar on its first flight, to its last fateful voyage. The full story behind R.101 shows that, although it was a failure, it was nevertheless a supremely imaginative human creation. The technical achievement of creating R.101 reveals the beauty, majesty, and, of course, the sorrow of the human experience.
The narrative follows First Officer Noel Atherstone and his crew from the ship's first test flight in 1929 to its fiery crash on October 5, 1930. It reveals in graphic detail the heroic actions of Atherstone as he battled tremendous obstacles. He fought political pressures to hurry the ship into the air, fended off Britain's most feted airship pilot, who used his influence to take command of the ship and nearly crashed it, and, a scant two months before departing for India, guided the rebuilding of the ship to correct its faulty design. Set against the backdrop of the British Empire at the height of its power in the early 20th century, Fatal Flight portrays an extraordinary age in technology, fueled by humankind's obsession with flight.
©2017 William S. Hammack (P)2017 William S. Hammack
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By TG on 09-02-17

A great story of the people more than the airship

I really appreciate the time spent developing the characters behind the story. thus was much more interesting than talking about just the ship itself. and oh, what characters!

I would have liked to hear a little more about the fatal flight itself - it seemed to come rather quickly in the book.

The ending explains a few things, and contains one very ironic item I did not know.

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3 out of 5 stars
By Aner on 08-22-17

Probably better in a visual media

My opinion - don't get it audio form.
The book, I felt, was meandering. It jumps from the main story to anecdotes and side stories far to often.
This was compounded by the fact that pacing of the read was way to fast! It felt breathless, just an onslaught of information.
But worst of all was the imperial measurments. I expected more from Bill Hammack. Maybe, if this book was more story/drama oriented book, but this is loaded with technical data. I know this is a general audiance book, and I know it was written in America, and I know 1930s Britain used well... imperial measurments, but it felt wrong and anachronistic to not include metric.

So get this book in hard form, make your self a nice cup of tea, and read it as it should.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By S. Barker on 10-17-17

Great book. Detailed and vivid. Will listen again!

Fascinating story, with good narration, even if some pronunciations are weird (American reader). Brings the story to life in a mattrr of fact way thats easy to follow. Will be listening again.

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