by Vic Norman
2021 review by James Loveridge
Vic Norman is clearly a very interesting man and this substantial book tells why. Born to a wealthy family and learning the pleasures of life from an early age he has exploited those advantages to lead a very exciting and fulfilling life.
This is not a motoring book per se, although he has owned many interesting cars including a Ford GT40, a Maserati 250F and a Ferrari GTO, and has been involved in motor sport both as helper and driver. It documents his passion for all things with an internal combustion engine so includes motorbikes, motor boats but primarily aeroplanes.
Mr Norman along with his wife Anne, family and a legion of friends has established what is probably the best known, and successful, aerial display team around. Its speciality is wing walking and many thousands have seen, amongst others, the Crunchie, Utterly Butterly and Breitling logoed aircraft with their daredevil wing-borne passengers, invariably attractive young women, performing their stunts. The team under its various guises has performed all over Europe as well as in the Far East and Russia. The story of this operation, called AeroSuperBatics, is told in full. Most recently it is based at the old Royal Flying Corps site at Rendcomb in Gloucestershire.
This book is one of those attractive memoirs that reads as though you are sitting with the narrator as he tells his story. It is mainly chronological but often past events are told as reminiscences. Whilst not suffering from false modesty Vic is clearly an attractive character and many well-known people who share his interests have become friends. Amongst those of motoring interest are Nick Mason and David Gilmore of Pink Floyd (both classic car owners), Gordon Murray the McLaren designer, and Alain De Cadenet the racing driver.
Trained as an engineer he joined his father’s extremely successful engineering business which he continued to run with his mother and half brother after his father died. This was sold, securing substantial funds for them, so they bought a farm. His half brother eventually wanted out so the farm was sold and Vic turned his interest in cars, especially Ferraris, into a successful business repairing and restoring quality vehicles and even became an official Ferrari dealership. A pilot since his youth, the flying bug then really bit him and the rest is, as they say, history.
Vic and his family have most certainly lived life to the full, grabbing every opportunity to experience the best they can get out of it. Much travel, frequently piloting themselves in their own aircraft and meeting many interesting people, is recorded. It is fair to say that when Vic decided to do something he did it and usually made a success of it. Clearly he has thoroughly enjoyed life despite a bout with cancer, but it was not all hedonism. He has used his skills and contacts to raise large sums for charity; the Queen appointed him an Honorary Air Commodore of an RAF Reserve squadron for his public services and support of RAF charities.
The book is lavishly illustrated, hardly a page without a photo or drawing. The book is published by Porter Press International to their usual high standard though the odd spelling mistake will be found by the observant reader.
Publisher: Porter Press International. www.porterpress.co.uk
Description: Hardback in dust jacket (300mm x 250mm), 272 pages, illustrated with over 290 images in colour and black & white.