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Janusz Zurakowski - Crecy
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Janusz Zurakowski - Crecy

Legend in the Skies Bill Zuk with Janusz Zurakowski The story of Colonel (Squadron Leader) Janusz Zurakowski spans most of the first 50 years of military aviation, in war and peace. Born in Russia at the beginning of the First World War to Polish parents, Janusz and his family returned to a newly emerged Poland in 1921. By September 1939 Zurakowski realised his childhood dream to fly and took control of a training aircraft pitted against Luftwaffe bombers. When Poland fell he trekked through Rumania and France before finally reaching England to join the RAF. Flying a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain with both the ‘Warsaw Group’ and 234 Squadron, Janusz rose to command a fighter squadron and led the Northolt Wing. He was awarded the Virtuti Militari, Poland’s highest decoration for outstanding acts or services in times of war and flew over 150 operational flights with Polish RAF squadrons alone. At the end of WWII his exceptional piloting skills resulted in a new career as a test pilot. Graduating from the Empire Test Pilot’s School, he tested all the RAF’s latest aircraft at a time of rapid technological advances, before joining the Gloster Aircraft Company to test fly the Meteor, one of the world’s first operational jet fighters. Abrilliant aerobatic pilot, Janusz invented the ‘Zurabatic cartwheel’, which stunned crowds at the Farnborough Air Show and remains one of the most incredible jet aircraft manoeuvres ever performed. Following a spectacular career in England, Janusz moved to Canada in 1952 as test pilot with AV Roe Ltd on Canada’s first jet fighter – the CF-100 – and later the doomed supersonic interceptor aircraft, the CF-105 Avro Arrow. An outstanding airman in both war and peacetime, Zurakowski is regarded by many as ‘a rare combination of skilled engineer, painstaking test pilot and unparalleled display pilot’. A combination of years of research into Zurakowski’s life, extensive aircraft technical details and thrilling narrative form a fascinating account of the life of an extraordinary operational and test pilot and ensures Janusz Zurakowski – Legend in the Skies will appeal to historians and enthusiasts alike. 

Approximately 60 Black and White photographs 320 pages,

hardback 234mm x 156mm

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ISBN: 0859791130

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