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The Hastings was the last piston engine troop transport to serve with the Royal Air Force. Chris Hobsons new book charts the varied history of this well-loved aircraft from its introduction into service in 1948 to its eventual retirement in 1977. Rushed into service to take part in the Berlin Airlift, the Hastings equipped 11 RAF transport squadrons and served in both the tactical and long-range strategic role. It dropped paratroops during the Suez invasion of 1956 and flew the eastbound passenger trunk route from the UK to the Far East. The Hastings was also used in several other roles. In 1950 it replaced the Halifaxes of RAF Coastal Command in the long-range meteorological reconnaissance role. Flying in often very challenging conditions the Hastings of 202 Squadron provided vital weather information to the Meteorological Office until its disbandment in 1964. The Hastings was also used for a variety of roles by Signals Command and the experimental establishments and the T.5 model was used to train V Bomber navigator-radars until 1977. Often overlooked are the four Hastings used by the Royal New Zealand Air Force which flew all over the world on transport duties from 1952 to 1965 including regular services to the UK and to the Pacific islands. There are full individual aircraft histories of all 152 Hastings. In addition there are notes on colour schemes and markings, as well as detailed information on RAF units and Hastings accidents. Filled with evocative photos, many in print for the first time, three view general arrangement and colour drawings, this is a real treat for those interested in this period.
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