Autogiro Pioneer: The Life of Jack Richardson

Author(s): Nicholas Richardson

ISBN: 9781781557426
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A vivid account of the life of one of the leading pioneer pilots of the autogiro and the helicopter.
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  • Profusely illustrated with original photographs and documentary material from the early days of the autogiro

  • Describes in detail how the helicopter first came to be used in Britain at the end of the Second World War

  • Rich in detail, this will be of interest to aviation and military historians as well as modellers, etc.

  • A vivid account of the life of a pioneer pilot who was also a cavalryman, orange farmer in Natal, racing skier and painter

Autogiro Pioneer: The Life of Jack Nicholson is a vivid account of the life and adventures of Jack Richardson (1899-1987).

The book is based on his memoirs, which have been edited by his son. In the 1930s, he worked for Juan de la Cierva, the inventor of the autogiro (the forerunner of the helicopter) and was the first person to obtain a commercial licence as an autogiro pilot.

This work involved – among other activities – several hazardous flights across Europe in all kinds of weather. In 1944, he learnt how to fly the new Sikorsky helicopters in the United States and became the first fully trained helicopter pilot in the British Army.

In his later career with the Army and Westland Aircraft, he helped to develop the military and commercial uses of the helicopter, played a major role in the construction of the Heliport at Battersea and was Chairman of The Helicopter Association.

As a young man, Richardson had been a cavalry officer in the Ninth Lancers and a successful orange farmer in Natal, South Africa. He was also a keen racing skier and amateur painter.


BOOK ISBN 9781781557426
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING hardback
PAGES 208 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 17 October 2019
TERRITORY World
ILLUSTRATIONS 82 black-and-white 18 colour photographs






Nicholas Richardson was born in 1940 and educated at Winchester College and Magdalen College, Oxford. From 1968 to 2004, he taught Ancient Greek and Latin Literature at Merton College, Oxford, and from 2004 to 2007, was Warden of Greyfriars Hall in Oxford. His previous publications include books and articles on ancient Greek and Roman literature, religion and culture, and on modern Greek poetry. He used to be a keen skier and still plays real tennis.