Two Up – Vintage Aircraft Club Review

Below is the review of Ron and Jim Smith’s book Two Up which will appear in the Vintage Aircraft Club magazine.


Ron and Jim Smith on the cover of their book Two Up

This is the first time I have ever reviewed a book electronically but in no way did it detract from the quality of the book.

This is a collection of stories from the Smith brothers, Jim and Ron, of whom Ron, will be familiar to VAC members, with his support and literary contributions to the light aviation world. Covering their lives from early air cadet days through to flying into Oshkosh in Concorde the range of types and stories should appeal to anyone interested in flying.

This book was an absolute pleasure to read and is lavishly illustrated with photos throughout, in colour, black and white, and often in full page photo collections.

The style is easy to read and again is another of those books that is so well written with the anecdotes in segments that you can pick it up and put it down at will (or as requested to by partners/ kids/ pets,) although the temptation to read all the way through in one shot is a hard one to deny yourself.
There is flying in everything from hot air balloons, gliders, motor gliders, homebuilts, helicopters, light aircraft, P-3 Orion and as previously mentioned Concorde. The warmth of the friendship of the aviation community comes across so well in this book that you sometimes wonder why the world cannot be a more pleasant place overall! Covering tales from the UK, America, Germany, Belgium and Russia, there is a nice mix too, from mentioning the hazards of flying, scary moments, pleasurable ones and sublimely magical “this is what it is all about” ones.

The planning by Ron and Colin Dodds and their competing in the Dawn to Dusk competition goes back to an era where light aviation was not subject to so many stringent rules as to where you can and cannot fly. The aircraft being used in the completion, a de Havilland Hornet Moth. The competition being inaugurated by the Duke of Edinburgh who provided the trophy. Ron’s certificate signed by the Prince nicely rounding off the chapter.

For me hearing the Westland WG-30 being called the Wardrobe was a new one to me. Why a wardrobe? Because not only were all Westland helicopters names with a “W” name, not only did it look like one but “like a wardrobe, when it was full, you couldn’t move it very far.” The brothers’ love of flying exudes from the pages of this book throughout regardless of what it was in.

The pictures, which are well reproduced, as mentioned before, are numerous and include some personal ones, including the balloon certificate altered from flight to crash!

Verdict? Get it on your shelf!
Highly recommended.

Gary Loveday