Aviation seems to have been in my blood all my life. As a pilot friend once put it, “the urge to fly is a virus with no known cure”. By way of light relief from radio and electronics I have written a fair amount about various aspects of aviation over the years. But by pure accident a good deal of my desk-editing work seems to have involved other aviators’ literary output.
Purists will of course assert that attempting to “improve” or “edit” the work of illustrious titans of aviation such as the late Jeffrey Quill represents something between outrageous arrogance and high treason. One can only counter with the hope that the attentions of an editor with sensitivity to text and context can often burnish the masters’ words. For example, here is an extract from a chapter of Jeffrey Quill’s wonderful book Spitfire – A Test Pilot’s Story in which I hope the ‘polishing’ is not at all detectable: