Air-to-Air Review in New Zealand Fighter Pilots Association Journal No. 39 September 2004

Reviewed by Bryan Cox - former RNZAF Corsair pilot and Secretary of the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Association

"Published by Adventure Air in 2003.  A hard cover book of 436 pages, it is liberally illustrated with over 230 black and white photos including every RNZAF fighter pilot who was successful in the Pacific during the hectic days between 6th May 1943 and 13th February 1944, during which period RNZAF P-40s shot down 99 Japanese aircraft.  It is the most comprehensive book ever written on this fascinating subject as it includes biographical information, and personal post-combat reports by every single pilot involved in that exciting and crucial campaign.  Copies are available direct from the author by writing to Adventure Air, P.O.Box 240, Lyttelton.  Price $84.95 plus $5 P & P.

"The author is a multi-talented aviator who holds current Commercial Licences for aeroplanes and balloons and has soloed on helicopters.  He soled on gliders before powered aircraft and currently holds official NZ balloon records for altitude, endurance and distance, and recently completed his 1000th hour on balloons.  In addition to his aviation interests, Chris has also taken eight trips to the Antarctic as the DSIR Information Officer.

"When I first picked up his book, first impression was that it would become very repetitious, so expected to probably rather skim through it, but once into reading it I found it difficult to put down, and finished up reading it from cover to cover.  On lending it to my old No. 4 OTU mate Ivan Walker in Tauranga, who served in Nos. 24 and 26 Squadrons on Corsairs, he had exactly the same experience - of commencing a more cursory approach but soon changing to fully enjoy every page.  For both of us ex-Corsair pilots who trained on P-40s at Ohakea, we read with great interest the exploits and achievements of many of our Squadron Commanders at OTU, and a few at ATS Woodbourne on Harvards.

"To try and compare it with the many epic and classic biographies and autobiographies already gracing our bookshelves would not be appropriate, as it fits into a category of its own - in between them and the uniquely indispensable publications FOR YOUR TOMORROW by Errol Martyn, and BY SUCH DEEDS by Group Captain Colin Hanson.

"AIR-TO-AIR succeeds in illustrating and revealing that the combat experiences of our brave young Pacific P-40 pilots equaled or surpassed those in any other theatre of WW2 - including the Battle of Britain."


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