Per Ardua - Training An RAF Phantom Crew
From Stuart Forth ... and totally unsolicited.
Per Ardua, Training An RAF Phantom Crew by Philip Keeble and David Gledhill. Fonthill Media. ISBN 978-1-78155-712-9.
I make no secret of the fact that I am a great fan of the work of both of these authors, and I was delighted to hear that they would be collaborating to produce this new book which I eagerly anticipated (although it was a long wait due to publishing hold ups).
Per ardua takes the reader on a journey from civvy street to being operational on a frontline fighter squadron. This is a journey that so many dream of making, but so few ever manage to complete. The authors are just two of the the people who managed to fulfill their ambitions to become aircrew on the mighty F-4 Phantom (which I also make no secret that I am a big fan of), Philip Keeble becoming a pilot and David Gledhill, a navigator.
The book explains the rigorous training they, and their colleagues, had to endure and overcome in a humorous and informative way. Considering the diverse training that pilots and navigators received, the book flows along nicely with both authors putting their experiences across in a way that gels the whole story together. This is very reminiscent of the coordinated way they would have had to operate together in the air as an operational crew.
Filled with many previously unpublished photos to help illustrate the text, the book goes full circle in that it describes how the authors went on to become instructors themselves, teaching the next generation of Phantom aircrew. Per Ardua finishes with a chapter describing the current RAF aircrew training which, although using vastly different equipment, hasn't changed a great deal as the end goal is still the same, i.e to produce frontline aircrew.
Was Per Ardua worth the wait? You bet it was! My only gripe is that I finished reading it too quickly and was left wanting more. Oh well, I shall eagerly await the next book produced by either, or both, of these authors.