The Sky Beyond - Sir Gordon Taylor

January 13, 2014

The Sky Beyond - Sir Gordon Taylor

The Sky Beyond

Sir Gordon Taylor

First Published:  1963

ISBN:  0-553-23949-X

Publisher:  Bantam Books

Pages: 339

The Sky Beyond - Sir Gordon Taylor

The Sky Beyond is Sir (Patrick)Gordon Taylor's sixth book andstarts with the outbreak of World War 1. He describes how he started flying with the Royal Flying Corps and relates some of his combat experiences, especially his sickening experience watching the tail gunner jump to his death, rather than burn, from the flaming  Rumpler that Taylor had shot down.  He had experienced much death and destruction before but this death seemed to have a more personal connection to it.

After the war, he returned to Australia and flew one of two Airco D.H. 6's from Point Cook
to Sydney, a distance of only 500 hundred miles but which took ten days to complete. On the first day of the journey in the D.H. 6, they actually flew backwards due to the low speed flying characteristic of the D.H.6. and the strong winds at the moment of the attempt. Taylor decided to call it a day and just managed to get to the runway by nosing the aircraft down to increase speed.

Taylor then went on to work for Australian National Airways, formed by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm, as a first officer, and after only three months, as a pilot-in-charge. With the crash of the A.N.A. Southern Cloud and the financial turmoil of the early 1930´s, Australian National Airways ceased operations.

He subsequently made many trips as Kingsford Smith's navigator in the aircraft Southern Cross. During the last flight of the Southern Cross, in 1935, another trans-Tasman flight, Taylor has to leave the aircraft cabin, several times, onto the wings, to transfer oil from one engine to the other that was leaking and in danger of overheating. This, along with Kingsford Smith's abilities as a pilot, saved them from crashing into the sea.

Much of the rest of the book sees Taylor flying the Consolidated PBY Catalina. He flew the Central Pacific Exploratory Flight during World War II from Bermuda to Sydney, via Clipperton Island, Bora Bora and Tahiti.  After the war, in 1951, he completes the first Australia to South America flight and the return flight to Australia.

All in all the book covers the first 35 years of Sir Gordon Taylor's flying career and is an incredible account of the early days of flight.

Aircraft and flying groups mentioned in the book

A list of the aircraft mentioned in this book and corresponding page numbers. Many types are given only a passing mention, however the historical context in which they are referred to, their geographic location or just their action could be of interest to any researcher in aviation or AvGeek in general.

Airco D.H. 6 18,19
Airspeed Envoy - “Stella Australis” 60
Albatros D.III Scout 9-11,15
American Flying Boat N.C. 4 20
Avro 1
Avro 618 Ten, "Faith in Australia" VH-UXX  59
Avro 618 Ten “Southern Cloud” of A.N.A. 35, 36
Avro 618 Ten 27, 35-36
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress 138
Consolidated B-24 Liberator 127, 214, 218-219
Consolidated B-24 Liberator B.Z. 873 128
Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express 216
Consolidated PBY Catalina 106, 123,124-126,141, 152, 156, 219, 226, 227-285
Consolidated PBY Catalina “Frigate Bird II” 227-285
Consolidated PBY Catalina “Guba” 106
Consolidated PBY Catalina “Manutara” FACH No:405 240, 243, 244-256, 269, 273, 294
Consolidated PBY Catalina 603 156
Consolidated PBY Catalina J.X. 275 “Frigate Bird” 152
Consolidated PBY Catalina of the Dutch Navy 125
de Havilland DH.88 Comet 46
de Havilland Mosquito 13
de Havilland Moth twin float seaplane 23-26
Douglas C-47 Dakota 172,206
Douglas D.C. 3 210, 287
Douglas D.C.3 of Colonial Airlines 210
Focke-Wulf FW-200 Condor 139
Fokker FVIIB-3M “Southern Cross” 26, 27, 219
Lockheed Altair VH-USB 38,45,55,81,201,202,205,219
Lockheed Hudson 124
Maurice Farman Shorthorn “Rumpety” 2, 4, 8
North American B-25 Mitchell 298
Percival Gull 38, 82, 90
Percival Gull with Gypsy Six Engine 90
R.Y.3 (Liberator Express Transport or Privateer (U.S.Navy)  209-211
Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 13
Rumpler 12-17,279,331
Sopwith 2 seater Scout 9, 12
Supermarine Spitfire 90, 211, 220-224
Douglas D.C.7 of United Airlines 208, 218
Zeppelin  1
43 Squadron Royal Flying Corps 12
45 Atlantic Transport Group (R.A.F.) 125-126,150,171,209
66 Squadron Royal Flying Corps 10,12
A.F.C. Central Flying School, Point Cook 18
Australian Flying Corps (A.F.C.) 2,18, 227
Central Flying School, (R.F.C.)  Upavon 8
Chilean Air Force flying boat base, Quintero 280, 284
R.A.F. Transport Command 149,151,172, 211, 298
Luftstreitkräfte German Air Force (WW1) 9,13
New Zealand Air Force 204
Royal Air Force 13, 120, 126, 127, 141, 149, 150, 151, 152, 206, 208
Royal Flying Corps 1,2,6,12,18,36
AIRLINES Page number
American Airlines 210
Australian National Airways 27,28, 31, 32, 35-37, 126, 210
B.O.A.C (British Overseas Airways Corporation) 216
Barrier Reef Airways (Brisbane) 330
British Commonwealth Trans-Pacific Air Service 209
K.L.M. (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatscappij N.V.)  121
QANTAS (Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service) 121, 124, 204
Royal Netherlands Indian Airways KNLIM 125
South African Airways 121
United Airlines 208





The Sky Beyond - Sir Gordon Taylor - Rear Cover

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