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R.E.P. type F in Royal Serbian Air Force


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R.E.P. type F in Royal Serbian Air Force

Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK

 

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Dragan Ž. Šaler, Aleksandar M. Ognjević
ISBN: 978-83-66148-53-6

 

Early aviation is a fascinating subject, so I was very pleased to see this new book from Kagero in the 'Famous Planes' series. It covers the R.E.P type F, a machine that I had not previosly heard of. The 'R.E.P.' come from the French designer/manufacturers initials, Robert Esnault-Pelterie. As well as aeroplanes he designed and built his own aero engines, and there was nothing suitable when he began his experiments in the early 1900s. He developed the 'semi radial engine' which only had the upper half of a normal radial engine, which apparently solved problems of lubricating the lower cylinders. These are described and illustrated in the book, and were something I was completely unaware of. Even more interesting is the double row 7 cylinder semi radial, which looks very strange with the two upper halves of a radial one behind the other in a 4 - 3 arrangement.   

 

His aircraft designs were just as innovative and he built several monoplanes, improving each successive design as experience was gained. In the period 1910 to 1912 the French Army received a total of thirty five R.E.P machines, and were able to equip two Escadrilles. They were excellent flying machines, and very highly thought of by those that flew them.

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In October 1912 a few days after the start of the first Balkan war between Serbia and Turkey, a sealed boxcar was discovered at a railway station at Toponica in Serbia. The train was traveling from Paris to Istanbul in Turkey, so as they were at war, the Serbian authorities opened the boxcar. Inside was an R.E.P. type F with spares, and it is this aircraft that now forms a large part of the story that book tells. Assembled and flown by Serbia (using foreign pilots due to a lack of trained Serbian airmen), the Type F went on to have several adventures and proved itself to be a sturdy and useful machine.  

 

As well as the narrative, the book contains a wealth of period photographs, 2D and 3D drawings, detailed technical drawings of engines and construction views, and markings worn during its service, mostly in colour.

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Should you be tempted to scratch build a model, the are three view plans in 1:72, 1:48, and a separate A3 sheet in 1:32 scale. There is so much detail in this book that a scratch build model is certainly viable. Who will be first to post one in 'Ready for Inspection' on this forum?

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Conclusion.
This is certainly a niche interest book, aimed squarely at those of us with an interest in early aviation. The fascination of this period is that these guys were pioneering and working out what worked, and what didn't. If you can put yourself in their shoes while reading, then it becomes quite an absorbing story. I had never heard of the R.E.P. series of aeroplanes, and was interested to read that Britain purchased twelve of them. Vickers even produced them under licence, flying the first one from Joyce Green (near Dartford) in 1911.

In Kageros style the A4 sized book is printed in English on the left side and Polish on the right side of each page, with seventy two pages between the softback covers
The authors must have seen production of this book as a labour of love, as it surely would have taken much effort to seek and discover the detailed information and accompanying photographs. It therefore contains a wealth of original material, and if early aviation is in your sphere of interest, this book should be high on your list of purchases for 2020.


Highly Recommended

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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