"Scotland's Wings: Triumph and Tragedy in the Skies" by Robert Jeffrey is a fascinating book about the history of flight in Scotland. It's a book we thoroughly enjoyed reading and one we'd highly recommend to anyone with an interest in aviation or in Scotland. It's also, rather perplexingly, a book it's very hard to categorise. Robert Jeffrey comes over as a highly knowledgeable aviation enthusiast with a flair for communicating his enthusiasm in a way that is very compelling. Although the book is about the history of flight in Scotland, it's not really a history of flight in itself. The closest we can come to a description is that it's a highly entertaining guided wander through its subject, taking in many of the most interesting adventures, incidents, places and personalities to have emerged.
You get another view of what lies between the covers from the publisher's blurb, which in part reads: "... in the great industrial cities and remote islands across the country, men and women risked their reputations, resources and lives to advance experiments in flight. Before airliners crossed the Atlantic Ocean and bombers secretly flew into the NATO airbase at Machrihanish, pioneers of aviation worked in the unlikely surroundings of Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow among other places. Their humble flying craft, made with wood and canvas, would become the luxurious jet-engined aircraft of today. Including the first flight over Everest, the construction of the most northerly airship station in mainland Britain and the experience of civilians and pilots during the Clydebank Blitz of 1941, Scotland's Wings is a glimpse into the dramatic and sometimes controversial adventures within Scottish aeronautics. In Scotland's Wings, Robert Jeffrey tells a fascinating history, highlighting innovators whose ideas heralded the modern age of transport and revealing how the airfields of previous years will once again be used to progress into a daring new age of travel."
Individual chapters have themes, but the author is prone to heading off at fascinating tangents that can lead you just about anywhere and anywhen. One chapter starts out looking at early autogyro development in Scotland before a segue sees the reader immersed in the detailed procedures of North Sea oil helicopter operations. It's the journey that matters rather than the destination and the journey you make in reading this book is entertaining and at times surprising.