Most of my adult life, perhaps all the worth-while part of it, has been spent messing about with aeroplanes. Kenneth Grahame once wrote that 'there is nothing, absolutely nothing-half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.' With that I would agree yet for a fleeting period in the world's history I think that aeroplanes ran boats a very close second for enjoyment. For about 30 years there was a period when aeroplanes would fly when you wanted them to but there were still fresh things to be be learned on every flight, a period when aeroplanes were small and easily built so that experiments were cheap and new designs could fly within six months of the first glimmer in the mind of the designer. That halcyon period started about the year 1910 and it was in full flower when I was a young man; it died with the second war when aeroplanes had grown too costly and complicated for individuals to own or even to operate. I count myself lucky that that fleeting period coincided with my youth and my young manhood, and that I had a part in it.
Nevil Shute- "Slide Rule"
Copyright by the Trustees of the Estate of the late Nevil Shute Norway.