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World's Civil Aircraft
By James Shields

A Scotsman, resident in Canada since 1996, has just published a mammoth worldwide review of currently airworthy civil aircraft. Jim Shields, who lives in Ontario but hails from Inverness, spent nine years researching this massive tome. The idea sprang from a visit to the Red Deer Airshow in Alberta in 1997 when Jim, a longtime aviation afficiando, photographed a small homebuilt helicopter which he was unable to identify. Priding himself on his aircraft identification skills he realized that there was not a single volume available which illustrated and described all of the different types and variants of civil aircraft which are currently airworthy worldwide.

The World's Civil Aircraft is the result. Containing 571 letter size pages it includes 2900+ entries, 311,000 words of text and is illustrated with 5357 photographs of which 387 are in colour. It is an indispensable work of reference which includes much new information concerning many aspects of aviation history. Many of the aircraft types have never been published before and this book will certainly be an invaluable addition to any library. Included are agricultural aircraft, airliners, bizjets, helicopters, powered gliders, gyrocopters, ultralights, homebuilts, warbirds, production aircraft and replicas.

The book is fully up-to-date and each entry is illustrated by at least one photograph, the actual aircraft being identified by its registration and construction number. The country of origin is followed by the aircraft type, powerplant, external dimensions, range, cruising speed, and empty and maximum take-off weights, all in imperial and metric measurements. This is rounded off by the numbers built to date and a brief description of the type's history.

Jim acknowledges the assistance of many contributors to the book, including individuals and companies from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States without whom the book would have taken much more than nine years to complete.

More details and illustrations of The World's Civil Aircraft can be found at, and it can be purchased by email at

This is a picture of Jim when he visited me at my house in Chatham

Electric Scotland Note: I was sorry to hear of the sudden death of Jim Shields on Wednesday 20th February 2008 at his home in Ontario, Canada. Jim was excited about the launch of his book and I'd suggested he might build a web site around that and he'd started to work on his domain I spent some time with him at his home helping him to get it going and he'd got several thousand pages up prior to his death.

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