Monday, April 3

Read n' Reviewed: 70 years: Commemorating Seven Decades of 355 Squadron Operations from Eagle Aviation

Eagle Aviation's "75 Years- Commemorating Operations for Three Quarters of a Century - 355 Squadron 1947-2022" is a celebration in words & wonderfully colourful & detailed images of one of Greece's most famous air units aircraft & crews. See what we thought about the book in our review...

75 Years- Commemorating Operations for Three Quarters of a Century - 355 Squadron 1947-2022
From Eagle Aviation
Written by Ioannis Lekkas
115 pages
Hardcover, Landscape A4 format
Prices: 32€ - Regular Edition (reviewed here) / 42€ - Limited Edition
Product Link
Eagle Aviation's book "70 years: Commemorating Seven Decades of 355 Squadron Operations from Eagle Aviation" is with us today for review. Setting out to do exactly what it says on the tin, this is an official anniversary Squadron book, penned by Ioannis Lekkas.

The book comes in two editions - the standard and limited edition version. The limited edition books are numbered and signed books by the flight crews of the 355th, while the standard editions is the same book, but without the signatures. We are reviewing the standard edition today...

We have read the book, so we thought we might show you a few pictures and string some words together to give you a good approximation of what is inside. 

First, the physical attributes, then the contents of the book...
The book comes in a matte-finish A4 hard cover, with glossy colour and black and white photos inside. The text is written in dual English & Greek languages. Small captions, along with some of block text accompany the mostly large format pictures.
It is clear that a lot of access has been given to the publishers for these images, you can tell this, as there are great shots of personnel here that really do add to the book. These men and women from both the present and the past add life to these aircraft some of which look like they are bleeding and breathing themselves.

We begin by looking at the 355th's past - waaay back to black and white images of the first images of the aircraft flown by the squadron. Not including all of these, but of note are the Wellington, Spitfire, A-30 Baltimore, Airspeed Oxford and notably here the Avro Anson MkI/XII. We learn just a little about these aircraft before we go into a mainstay of the squadron's early years, the C-17D Skytrain.
An aircraft synonymous with the unit's service during the Korean War, the Douglas C-47D Skytrain is featured over ten pages. Both English and Greek (but mostly Greek as we seem to be missing a few captions in English here and there). Wee see these eight aircraft in detail, we even see the order of their flight order on the way to their base in Japan in late 1960. The men of the unit are featured in great colour photos just as much as the aircraft.
Memories of not just the people, but the aircraft outside (and in) are shown in just excellent photographs. The graphical layout in the background behind the text and photos gives atmosphere, but sometimes gets in the way of the smaller text for old eyes like mine. Not that big of a deal, but I feel I need to mention it. The overall graphical and layout look of this book is pretty "schmick". We also see some photos in black and white, of camouflaged Skytrains used in the Congo crisis of 1960.
The next section of the 355th history features the wave goodbye to the Nord Noratlas, and hello to the Dornier D028 in 1983 (retired in 2010 after assuming several duties & a spotless record). Then with the retirement of the C-47D's a transition to the ubiquitous CL-215's for firefighting, some search & rescue and transport duties. 
This is where the book really finds it's colours, with the read, black and yellow aircraft really packing a punch in large format photos.  Taking nothing away from the previous aircraft, these kites really do look amazing in these photos which cover the whole and sometimes both pages. After a short forward by the 355th's Operations Officer, we get into the Firemaster!
Pictorials with some text ae now the order for here to the end of this book. We are explained some of what is seen and how the aircraft and crew perform  their missions with these old but reliable aircraft. Stunning photos, like these of the aircraft doing it's main task, putting out fires, are pretty atmospheric, and show you how close these crews fly over the blazes.
Weathering and detail masters in the modelling world will love the reference photo in the book. the inside of the kite, engines in tear down, cockpit, and every other part of the aircraft is shown, in a casual walk around type fashion. All of the important parts modellers want to see are here for the CL-215.
Interesting in that these crews work all hours, there are photos in the early early light to the middle of the day and then the hazy twilight. The shots are taken by a photographer with a real eye for detail and for composition and use of light and drama.
I loved reading about these crews and their machines in the 355th's history. It is a subject I never would have known much about if I had not have picked this book up to read, I am really glad I did!
Adam Norenberg

This book is available in a standard and a limited edition version. The limited edition differing by adding numbered and signed books by the flight crews of the 355th. Both are available to buy directly at this link.