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Whistling Death

Whistling Death is the true story, by the test pilot, of the rush to produce the F4U Corsair, the Navy fighter that brought America air superiority over the Japanese Zero in World War II. Here is the crash program - complete with crash landings - powered by the dedicated men and women of the home front who designed and built this revolutionary, tide-turning airplane. Boone T. Guyton, an experimental test pilot at Chance Vought during and after World War II, flew 105 types of aircraft in 45 years as a pilot.
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Test pilots have varied jobs: production, testing for faults in manufacture; engineering, to get data on the performance of airframe and engine; and experimental, to see if the plane flies and how far to take its performance. Of the latter it has been said, ``hours of boredom interspersed by moments of sheer terror.'' Guyton was the test pilot (all three types) for the Vought Corsair. Entertainingly he relates how that plane became the success it was. There is technical data galore, but this is readably done. World War II was fought on American soil, too, by the author and his well-described comrades (including Charles Lindbergh), who tamed the raw power of the innovative F4U and made it ready to fight in the Pacific. Aviation readers yearn for stories just like this, and they are too rare in coming. General readers can skip the numbers and be entertained, too.-- Mel D. Lane, Sacramento, Cal.

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