Carrier Pilot

Narrated by: Chris MacDonnell
Length: 12 hrs and 47 mins
Categories: History, Military
4.5 out of 5 stars (210 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In 1942, Norman Hanson learned to fly the Royal Navy's newest fighter: the US-built Chance Vought Corsair. Fast, rugged, and demanding to fly, it was an intimidating machine. But in the hands of its young Fleet Air Arm pilots, it also proved to be a lethal weapon.

Posted to the South Pacific aboard HMS Illustrious, Hanson and his squadron took the fight to the Japanese. Facing a desperate and determined enemy, Kamikaze attacks, and the ever-present dangers of flying off a pitching carrier deck, death was never far away.

Brought to life in vivid, visceral detail, Carrier Pilot is one of the finest aviators' memoirs of the war; an awe-inspiring, thrilling, sometimes terrifying, account of war in the air.

©2016 Norman Hanson (P)2017 Tantor

What listeners say about Carrier Pilot

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Absorbing

This memoir is about a pilot aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. Hanson was a squadron commander. Hanson tells about his time in boot camp and in pilot training. He then describes life on the carrier, HMS Illustrious. Hanson describes in detail the actions he fought on HMS Illustrious in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Lieutenant Commander Normal Hanson was born in 1914 in the village of Keighley, Yorkshire. He served in the Royal Navy from 1941 to 1946. He fought in the Pacific and took part in the Palembary refineries attack and in the Sakishima Islands.

The book is well written and almost reads like a novel. The book was originally published in 1979. It is one of the few memoires about the British Navy in the Pacific.

The book is almost thirteen hours. Chris MacDonnell does a good job narrating the story. MacDonnell is an English actor and audiobook narrator. He grew up in the acting world as both his parents worked for British film director David Lean.

9 people found this helpful

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Interesting account of little covered piece of WW2

At least here in the US, we don't hear much about the British navy in the Pacific in WW2, and even less about British naval pilots. Hanson does a nice job of recounting his experiences as one of those pilots. There was a lot to learn here, especially for aviation buffs as the author covers his flight training in Florida, his time serving in Egypt and, eventually, his work flying Corsairs from carriers in the Pacific. He mourns the close friends he lost but also, at times, gives very detailed accounts of things like the experience of flying a corsair and the experience of escaping one that had crashed and was sinking. He also, at times, demonstrates a wonderfully dry sense of humor.

I definitely recommend this book if you're interested in military aviation, WW2 naval aviation, Corsairs, or the experience of being a British naval pilot.

7 people found this helpful

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Gr8 pick

Really enjoyed this book! A very interesting and informative story about a carrier pilot. If you're not familiar with a British accent it can be difficult to understand but it also makes it feel authentic

3 people found this helpful

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surprising info

it gets better as you go. you learn the character of the men and it provides insight never heard before

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Carrier Pilot

I'm a former Navy pilot and loved the book. it brought back a lot of wonderful memories, especially times in the El Cortez bar!!

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Most highly recommended.

A great book. Very detailed book about an area of WW2 that is often overlooked. The British carrier pilots contributions to the war effort in the Southeastern Pacific area.

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Good Book

interesting to learn what they went through. A good book, and well-written. writer gives you good

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Awesome!

awesome story and one of the best narrations I have heard on audible. really worth it.

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British Corsair in the Pacific?

Nicely humorous account of a deadly serious business, wonderfully read. So long ago, but nothing has really changed.

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beautifully written and narrated

I've read a lot of books on Naval Aviation and enjoyed all of them, but this was the best. and the narrator was superb!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stephen Howlett
  • 11-25-17

A new perspective on a rarely mentioned group of men

This book is a telling of the appalling losses of men and machine even before actual combat. The bravery of these men deserves far more recognition than they get. Very interesting book on the life of a man becoming a carrier pilot and the loss of most of his friends and for a change we get the British under a kamikaze attack.

3 people found this helpful

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  • TonyG
  • 10-22-17

One man's war

For those of us who have never fought in war it is almost inconceivable to understand how people experienced death, humour, dislocation, comradeship, without any of the "safe space" nonsense that afflicts the West today. These were brave men, and listening to Hanson's story is uplifting. Chris Macdonnell reads it well with clarity and empathy.

3 people found this helpful

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  • D. Williams
  • 04-09-18

Not so well read

Not the most action but a good story none the less. Poorly narrated though with pronunciation changing from correct to incorrect and then sometimes back again

1 person found this helpful

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  • deltavee
  • 03-06-18

One of the best of the genre

There are many stories of the experience of war but this one is exceptional. The performance perfectly captures the author’s intent and delivers an understated but moving reading. Audible at its best.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Blue Streak
  • 03-24-20

Flying from Carriers... a dangerous business.

Even without a war, flying from carriers has always been a dangerous business. With a war as well, and WW2 against the Imperial Japanese at that , this book brings home the sustained courage,and high level of skill required to fly Corsairs in the Pacific against a cruel and ferocious enemy.Norman Hanson was so lucky to survive. The descriptions of flying the Corsair,a complex,unforgiving but remarkable aircraft are gems of authorship.It would give a lot of today's snowflakes something to ponder, especially when it covers the loss of friends. A wonderful book

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-23-20

Well recommended

A great book. Even if you have not served in the Royal Navy you will enjoy the poignant dry wit that pervades the service even when times are difficult.

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  • Runabout 66
  • 12-16-18

Thought provoking tale

A reminder of the heroism of all those who served in the forces during the world war 2. I found the naration a little strange at first but got used to the stile quickly. The story is well told and engaging with the right amount of humour to take the edge off the underlying threat of death faced by all.

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  • Jonathan
  • 10-10-18

A Story of British Understatement, Courage and Brotherly Love.

A married man, slightly older than his peers, wants to be an aircraft mechanic. He’s streamlined into Pilot training, sent to America to train for Aircraft Carriers and passes test after test. He makes many friends from every nationality in the Allied Forces. He also loses many in training and combat.

A narrative of humour in the face of fear; anxiety, courage, empathy, and above all brotherly love for his friends.

Beautifully narrated.

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  • julian
  • 04-04-18

One of the best Second World War books ever

So much technical detail also day-to-day life of Navy pilots
Storyteller fantastic great

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-22-19

One of my favorite Audibles.

Quite funny in parts. Can easily be listened to at 1.25 X the speed. Interesting stories about the Royal Navy in the Pacific, and training in the U.S.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Geoff Alford
  • 04-03-19

A real look at the day to day

I loved this book. Not for the war story, not for the technical stuff, but as a look into the day to day life of Fleet Air Arm aircrew and sailors I’m WW2. It wasn’t over the top, had hilarious quips and eminent sadness at the same time. Very very enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-27-19

Get to the point

This book is badly narrated, through a boring story.
15 chapters of who drank what, what they had for dinner and who they shagged.
2 chapters would have covered it.
Totally disappointing yarn.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-13-19

A sad proud story.

Having read and listened to a number of books on the bpf this was the most ‘present’ at the fight. The lulls and peaks in the action, and the almost random nature of who was lost and who came through, make it a story that has of course to be heavily touched by sadness. But the pride with which Hansen narrates, suitably tempered with humour, empathy and dignity make it a fine book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-07-18

good

good listen read by a gay sounding pom .a bit off putting
but good yarn well worth buying

2 people found this helpful