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WW1 RAF Practical Flying Manual 1918 | Pilot Drawings

Practical Flying 1918

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Major W. G. McMinnies R.A.F.
& Capt. E. L. Ford R.A.F.


Practical Flying is probably the best First World War flying manual. Written and illustrated by experienced R.A.F. officers, it was produced early in 1918 for the use of trainee R.F.C., R.A.F. and R.N.A.S. pilots. Superbly illustrated with numerous diagrams, drawings and maps, this book is a fascinating insight into the practicalities of military flying during WW1. Covering everything from how to spin the prop, and how to perform 'stunts' like an Immelman turn or a 'falling-leaf' descent, to aerial fighting and the action to take after the inevitable crash that all WW1 flyers experienced at some time or other. This book tells you virtually everything you would need to know to fly a world war one aircraft. It also includes a number of very interesting advertisments for aircraft manufacturers and flying equipment suppliers.

The book originally belonged to Herbert Stonham, a WW1 R.A.F. officer, and is signed by him on the front endpaper. It comes with two excellent original drawings which he produced at the time. One is of a German A.E.G. C1 biplane, the other is entitled 'Low Flying, Night Observation' and shows a German two-seater biplane on a night mission. These are a very rare survival and It is exceptionally fortunate that these loosely inserted drawings have remained with the book for almost 100 years.

Herbert Edward Stonham (1900-1967): In July 1918, just after Practical Flying was published, Herbert E. Stonham was listed as an RAF officer. His name also appears in lists of RFC officers and aircrew, so it seems that he had joined the Royal Flying Corps before April 1918. It is likely that in 1918 he was a trainee pilot, but more research is needed to uncover the full details of his WW1 service.


In good condition. The boards are in good condition, with general signs of age and wear and a few marks. The binding and hinges are secure. The text is in good condition with a few minor marks. There are some marks to the endpapers. The illustrations and maps are in good condition. The book is signed on the front endpaper by ‘Herbert E. Stonham’. The two original pencil drawings by Herbert Stonham are in good condition.

Published: 1918
Fully illustrated with line drawings and diagrams
Cream boards with black titling
Dimensions: 130mm x 190mm
Pages: 237 (plus numerous aviation advertisments)