His Edge is a delightful semi-biographical work by Wayne Harding. Wayne is an entertaining guy, and talking with him was a genuine pleasure. I have to admit that now that now my wife and I are both in our fifties (oops, only me, Jan is still in her 30’s!). Wayne is a sprightly 87 years young, and at one time in his life he was a test pilot.

His Edge while billed as a novel, contains more truth than fiction, Wayne describes the book as ‘semi-autobiographical’. I asked him about this interesting label. His answer intrigued me. For a number of reasons he has had to change certain names and places, as such the book must be called fiction. I was expecting an answer more along the lines of ‘I wanted to spice the story up’. No, he is long in the tooth, and the episodes happened a long time ago, but out of courtesy he decided to change a few names and places.

One of the more amusing aspects happened ‘off air’, I always ask my guests to call in a few minutes before the show goes live, it does wonders for my blood pressure. There is nothing worse than starting a show and your guest is missing! Wayne assured me that he did not have 30 minutes of stuff to talk about, I on the other hand assured him that I was sure he did. My mistake was not making a wager with him. I believe the interview lasted 33 minutes!

Wayne Harding only spent a couple of years in the role of test pilot, but His Edge makes for a great read. I asked Wayne what the most exciting plane he had ever flown was, without a pause, he said “the F4U Corsair”.  The Corsair was without doubt the ultimate fighter plane of the day. The early test models were a little quirky, and certainly claimed their fair share of lives.

The historians are still trying to figure out which was the better plane, the F4U Corsair or the P51 Mustang. Both had their high spots, and both were likely superior to the rather ‘Model T Ford’ Spitfire that was being churned out by Britain. I know that Wayne Harding has his favorite, the Corsair.

This has nothing to do with the interview, but I did do a Google search on “Corsair versus Mustang”, there are some great arguments that are still raging!

If you only read one book this summer, try His Edge.

Wayne has also put up a web site with stories behind the story. I can’t wait to read it.

The entire interview can be listened to here.

Simon Barrett

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