Ron Smith is a British aeronautical engineer, author, photographer and historian. He was Head of Future Projects at Westland Helicopters Ltd and has just retired from BAE Systems. He learned to fly in 1978 and has owned a number of light aircraft.
This attractive book is described appropriately as a visual
celebration of the variety of the worlds light aircraft. This book
is, maybe, a starting point for potential builders or owners to
help broaden their horizon and identify what appeals, before
seeking more detailed sources for essential data. In parallel with
builders and owners, there exists a very large train of enthusiasts
who simply enjoy viewing and watching. Above all this is a book for
all who take pleasure in the lighter and gentler side of powered,
fixed-wing aviation.! - Chris Wright CEng MRAeS, AEROSPACE MAGAZINE
What a magnificent book! I noticed that the bibliography includes William Green's Aircraft of The World, a copy of which has been the key foundation of my aircraft reference library since 1965. I am proud to place my copy of Classic Light Aircraft on the shelf right next to it. (It is) an authoritative, faithfully-accurate work that is at the same time visually attractive! Jeff Jacobs, Cessna 172 Club
Ron Smith has been beavering away at this book for several years and civil aircraft enthusiasts will find it a hugely valuable quick reference guide to the myriad of light aircraft flying all over the world. It is arranged alphabetically by manufacturer and every entry consists of a photo, most being in colour and photographed by the author, and a short extended caption. Aircraft types covered include all the main production models together with a good selection of the more common homebuilts, light sport types and a selection of antiques. The largest types covered are the King Air and Dove - no business jets here. The necessary brevity of the text means some facts are left out - for instance, the only Cirrus mentioned is the SR22 - and the index only refers to the manufacturers and does not allow reference by aircraft name. Having said that, this is a book which will prove very useful all who attend civil fly-ins and events. - Rod Simpson, Aviation World, Autumn 2015.
'Xtended', Europe's premier aerospace internet radio programme, interviewed Ron Smith about general aviation, along with the publication of his new book Classic Light Aircraft Xtended say: "We really enjoyed the book and hope we have helped promote a positive image of it!"
Light aircraft do not get much attention from today's mainstream publishers, presumably because there is more demand for military subjects, so it is refreshing to see this new, comprehensive hardback which claims to be An illustrated look, 1920s to the present'. Almost all the images are in colour with a handful of monochrome illustrations, and since most are from the author's collection few will have been seen before. His name may be familiar to readers from the very useful five-volume history 'British-Built Aircraft', and he is an aeronautical engineer, historian and private pilot, so is well qualified to write on this subject. - Mike Hooks
Another excellent book from the pen of VAC member Ron Smith on a subject which he is indeed an expert. This book provides an extensive photographic record in alphabetical order by manufacturer of what are considered to be classic light or general aviation aircraft from the 1920s to the present day. To underline the selected time period the range of dates of the photographs compliment diverse dates during the period. The standard both of the photography and the reproduction throughout the book is first rate. Where this book scores for the aviation enthusiast is in that it provides a guide to recognition of types and subtypes of the same marque. The captions to the photographs give, where appropriate details of these differences. This alone will mean that it will be in use as a constant work of reference. This book is a must for the aviation enthusiast is extremely good value for money. - Paul Loveday, Vintage & Classic magazine
Personally, I do not have an idea which percentage from the nowadays still flying types are enlisted in this book, but I think it is a high percentage. In some of them I have even co-piloted. For me, this book contains an enormous amount of splendid unknown but also known aircrafts. What do you think of a DH88 Comet or a DH89A Dragon Rapide or a Gee Bee? Who wouldnt want to fly in those?! The book has a pleasant size and lies well in the hand. The book is almost overloaded with pictures and is printed on good paper. Most of the pictures are in colour. When you see all those pictures it becomes clear to you how large this business worldwide is and was. All pictures are accompanied with a short informative text about the aircraft, not too detailed. Ron Smith has produced a beautiful book which is a must have for the General Aviation-freak with focus on the light aircrafts. Good to read and to page through, and blimey this book inspires so much to go flying! Aviation Book Reviews .com
LAA member and pilot Ron Smiths latest book is a comprehensive encyclopaedia of light aircraft that might be seen today or in the past 30 years. Illustrated mostly by the authors own photos the book covers 800 types with photos and a small write-up with a little history and details of each. The book covers all of the major production aircraft of the last 30 or so years, plus a lot of the surviving vintage aircraft that might be seen in the UK, US or Australia. Also covered are most of the popular homebuilts from the UK and US together with a few from France and other countries. Some of the more modern European Ultralights/Light Sport aircraft are also included. A great reference guide for anyone wondering what that aircraft they just saw at the local airfield, or fly in was and also a handy guide to anyone to see what aircraft are out there, that they might be interested to fly or buy. - LAA Magazine book review
The author knows his stuff and, rather like Eddie Riding, seems to have spent a lifetime wandering around airfields in this county and abroad, photographing every machine of interest and building up a terrific picture of the GA fleet as we know it in Britain, Europe and the USA. It's good to see not just the standard series production types, but typical mix of homebuilts, vintage aeroplanes and pensioned-off military stuff that you will find at most airfields in the UK. Ron has also done his research: as a dutiful reviewer, I picked on types and manufacturers I knew about and looked to see if he had included them: he'd not missed one! - RV March 2016 edition of Pilot Magazine.
The author, Ron Smith, is a prolific writer of books on general aviation, covering both historical aspects and specific aircraft types. His previous books have demonstrated a useful knack of being able to cover a lot of ground with the minimum of effort, providing just enough information to keep the appetite whetted and no more. This quite hefty volume continues in the same vein, and so allows for over 800 aircraft types and manufacturers to be represented. The number of photographs is extraordinary, considering most of them were taken by the author. These are of excellent quality and, apart from one or two, in colour, mainly two to a page. I suspect most readers will check if any aircraft they have flown is pictured; I could not resist myself, and sure enough, there was a picture of a Piper Cub I spent many happy hours in, but, from the colour scheme, taken long before I became part-owner. From this, it was evident that Ron had started building his library of photographs a very long time ago. This is a wonderful book for anyone who enjoys and takes an interest in light aircraft, I thoroughly recommend it. - George Done April 2016
LAA member and pilot Ron Smith's latest book is a comprehensive encyclopaedia of all of the major production light aircraft of the last 30 or so years, plus a lot of the surviving vintage aircraft that might be seen in the UK, US or Australia. The book is a great reference guide for anyone wondering just what was that aircraft they saw at the local airfield. It amazes me sometimes how little some pilots know about the variety of aircraft types they could fly and this book covers nearly all of them. Reading the book you really can discover what a wide range of light aircraft have been produced over the years. The aircraft are presented and indexed in alphabetic order by manufacturer so it is easy to look up your favourite types, or find out what that wonderplane really looks like. Overall then an excellent book and well worth the cover price, so I can thoroughly recommend it to LAA members keen to know more about the sheer variety of light aircraft that grace our skies. - Nigel Hitchman, Light Aviation Magazine March 2016
I would have loved owning this book when I was a kid at the bottom of the learning curve. - Kristen Alexander, AeroAustralia Magazine July 2016