A BEAUTIFUL AIR to air portfolio from a twenty year period of photography, Gordon Bain’s latest book covers an unusual mixture of aircraft types which vary from the Pilatus PC 7 and Swiss Air Force machines over the Alps, through modern aerobatic aircraft such as the Zlin Z50L and Extra 300, to studies of the Aviamilano Nibbio and Ruschmeyer R 90.

Thankfully there aren’t many Spitfires, Mustangs and Sea Furys included warbirds have been done to death in books of this type before but there are quite a few ‘Harvard’ types, as well as Bearcat, Wildcat, Hellcat and P 47. The most beautiful warbird double page picture in the book is of a B 17G above lightly broken cloud, but it is run a close second by a B 24 Liberator/B-17 formation.

There are many other aircraft types, including the cover image of a DH Rapide, such as RAF Canberras, Victor tankers, English Electric Lightnings (including a magnificent silhouette shot) and an F 4G Phantom. Civilian airliners appear in the form of Viscount, Trislander, Shorts 3 60 and the last airworthy DH 106 Comet, retired from Boscombe Down in 1997.

I particularly liked the original and replica U.S. aeroplanes from the 1920’s and ’30s, many of which I have only seen before in black and white. As it says on the dust jacket, ‘Gordon’s first love is veteran and vintage aircraft.’ I wish the whole book was full of these golden age American machines. As it is, the author has managed to bring a new dimension to the subject with his medium format aerial camera.

Silvered Wings is worth buying for a couple of moody Piper J 3 Cub pictures, shot in the UK. There is also a super shot of a Canadian DH60M Moth floatplane with the sky and sea so inky blue that you could dip your pen into them. This is the sort of book I buy for a friend and then not want to give away. Mike Vines.