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Jan 21

“Propellerhead” by Antony Woodward, reviewed by Mark Attwood

By Mark Attwood | Flying

This book is all about a young man who starts learning to fly purely because he thinks it will help him pull the girls.

What follows is a wonderfully entertaining biography of London Ad Agency copywriter Antony Woodward’s adventures as he moves from novice to fully-qualified Thruster owner.

You don’t have to have been through the trials and tribulations of learning to fly yourself to appreciate this witty tome, although if you have you will certainly be nodding a lot and laughing out loud as you read.

Woodward is a truly gifted writer, managing to weave the plot of his life with high comedy and drama, whilst also managing to give you a historical tour of the wartime airfields of East Anglia.

The story of his bizarre partners in the ownership of the Thruster are very amusing, as is his wooing of the beautiful but elusive “Lift Girl” at work. I particularly enjoyed his retelling of the journey from Salsingham in Norfolk to Barton Aerodrome in Manchester for the start of a round Britain race, especially how his great “airmanship” wound up the locals.

Two chapters that will really wow anyone are the description of his very-lucky-to-survive crash followed by the simply beautiful description of how he fell back in love with flying. I had to re-read it many times, it was that good.

This book has been compared by more illustrious reviewers to the works of Nick Hornby, mainly because of the way he adheres to the passion he develops for flying in a similar way to the way music is used as a coathanger for the story in Hornby’s High Fidelity.

Bottom line: if you like a good read and love flying, this is a must-have for your shelves: