Reginald Edward George Davies, better known as R.E.G Davies, is one of the most important aviation authors in history and if you've never read any of his works then you've been seriously missing out. He is particular well known for his 'Airline and its Aircraft' series, usually in association with the artist Mike Machat and it is this invaluable series I take a look at here.
R.E.G Davies was born in 1921 and died in 2011 aged 90. His long career in aviation took him from BEA to Bristol Aerospace, de Havilland and on to the USA to work with Douglas. His work in aviation history was well known from the 1960s and he published a series of exceptional works covering the history of airlines across several continents. I have a copy of his seminal work 'Airlines of the USA Since 1914' published in 1972 and it even today is an immaculate historical document.
After his retirement in 1981 Reg became the Lindbergh Chair of Aerospace History at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. It was during this period that he paired with the artist Mike Machat to create the first of his series of pictorial histories of individual airlines. He started with Pan Am and it was first published in 1987 by Orion (and Hamlyn Publishing in the UK). Subsequently he created Paladwr Press to publish the later entries in the series.
Entries in the Airline and its Aircraft series are as follows:
The last of the series about TACA did not use Mike Machat's excellent images (and the illustrations aren't quite as good) but like the Transbrasil edition it is bi-lingual, and published in both English and Spanish in the same book.
Mr Davies also published several volumes on specific aviation personalities in the same vein named An Airman, his Aircraft and his Great Flights as follows:
The books in this series are nowadays highly sought after (like the excellent George Cearley black and white pictorial histories) but you can sometimes still find them for a sensible price. I have been lucky to acquire 6 of the 10 airline only examples and have PDF copies of two more.
They are lovely works which cover the histories of their subject airlines in detail including fleet lists, major events, descriptions of the aircraft used all combined with photos and the excellent colour plates of Mike Machat.
Additionally they include the histories also of airlines taken over by the main subject. So the Delta edition also covers Northeast Airlines and Western Airlines for example.
I can't recommend these volumes highly enough. They are beautiful coffee table books but more than that they are also excellent references, which have helped me many times with my own aviation history blog entries.
R.E.G Davies deserves massive plaudits for his services to aviation history and his excellent series of works on the subject are a worthy legacy. Search out these books - you won't regret it.
2/2/2020 05:20:21 pm
I wonder if someone else can re-start publishing this series..
28/10/2021 08:56:32 pm
I had the pleasure of meeting Ron in about 1984 and working with him on building an Air Force exhibit at the NASM on Global Humanitarian Airlift (Air Evac). It was then I learned about Ron's gift with airline history. Not long after this collaboration, I transferred to fly C-141Bs out of Norton AFB CA and one of our routine destinations was Wake Island. I reached out to Ron to see if he had any interest in flying around the Pacific with me and visiting Pan Am's old haunts on Wake. YES! We took him to Wake by way of Kwajalein Atoll and spent the first night on Wake with him. We left him for 3 days and he was in heaven. The Base Commander handed Ron his car keys and said have fun but don't drive into the Pacific. When we returned 3 days later, Ron was like Willie Wonka in the Chocolate Factory. He was on Cloud 9. We took him back through Honolulu and then back to Norton and sent him back to DC. It is a wonderful memory, especially he walked on the hallowed Pan Am grounds on Wake Island.
28/10/2021 09:02:41 pm
Thanks Ben. That is a great anecdote
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I'm Richard Stretton, an aviation enthusiast and major collector of 400 scale model aircraft. This blog discusses ongoing events in the world of 400 scale.
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