A Cold War Fighter Pilot in Peacetime and War

Author(s): Derek J. Sharp 

ISBN: 9781781557242
£19.60 £28.00
The fascinating story of a grammar schoolboy who became a fighter pilot, survived a horrendous aircraft accident and fought back to fly heads of state and royalty.
Trust Badge
  • Historically rich in detail with previously unpublished photographs 

  • A must-have for military enthusiasts, historians, modellers and those interested in the complexities of aircraft design and manoeuvres during the Cold War 

  • A fascinating and eye-opening memoir that will appeal to fliers and non-fliers alike on how to fly the fastest jets in the RAF 

This is the remarkable and true story of Squadron Leader Derek J. Sharp and his incredible adventures.

Nothing perhaps was more astonishing than his survival after striking a mallard duck at 500 mph and his subsequent return to pilot in command. That he survived to the age of thirty was astonishing; that he continued unashamedly on to a ripe old age was nothing short of a miracle.

Conceivably, he followed the advice written on a fridge magnet in his kitchen: ‘Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly’. This fascinating book follows the adventures of Sharp from schoolboy to highly respected aviator. He flew fighters and nuclear bombers, finally seeing action in the first Gulf War flying defenceless transport jets close to the Iraq border.

Sharp consequently survived Saddam Hussein’s Scuds and American Patriot missiles – ‘friendly fire’ aimed directly at the author.

He flew Her Majesty The Queen and lived in a time long before political correctness, the breathalyser and motorcar safety checks. He achieved all that he set out to do, and more. That would undoubtedly be his epitaph…

BOOK ISBN 9781781557242
FORMAT 248 x 172 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 224 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 40 black-and-white and 25 colour photographs



Derek J. Sharp was born at the end of the Second World War and following a grammar school education, joined the RAF as a pilot. Following postings as a strike/attack pilot, he became a flying instructor and then spent ten years flying Jaguar fighter-bombers. Having taken over command of 151(F) Squadron, he suffered a catastrophic duck strike, which left him totally blind. Despite being told he would never fly again, he defied all odds and ended his career as a senior instructor and VIP pilot on Vickers VC10 aircraft.