A FORMER RAF pilot turned Barry Island-based author has seen sales of his debut novel soar past the 10,000 mark.

Wings Over Summer, by Ron Powell, has experienced the sales in just one year since it was featured in the Barry & District News.

Ron spent 32 years as a pilot in the RAF, retiring in 2005 as a Group Captain running the first stage of flying training for the Army, Navy and RAF.

He commanded the University of Wales Air Squadron at MOD St Athan, from 1992 to 1994, teaching undergraduates of the Universities of Wales to fly.

Ron, 59, of Nell’s Point, said: “It may not quite rival JK Rowling, but I’m delighted to have passed such a significant milestone. Many of the sales – nearly 6,000 - have been in the United States, but the book also has a growing following in Australia and Canada, and is selling in several other countries, including ones as far apart as India and Brazil.”

Wings Over Summer follows the fortunes of a young Spitfire pilot from Barry, Jack Williams, over a two-week period at the height of the Battle of Britain.

Ron added: “The scenes of aerial combat have received special praise in the book’s many reviews, and this may be because I spent much of my career teaching young men and women to fly manoeuvres similar to those used in combat. My career also gave me an insight into how the young pilots of the Battle of Britain may have faced their fears, and this is another aspect that has received praise.”

One reviewer said: “I can't remember the last time a book moved me so much. By the end, I couldn't put it down, had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye,” while another review said: “There were times when I was almost too scared to turn the page - but alas unable to stop myself. For me this was one of those quite rare books that I wish could never end.”

Wings Over Summer and his first volume of memoir, Shropshire Blue - which has sold nearly 1,500 copies - are available as e-books or paperbacks from Amazon.co.uk.

For details visit www.ronpowell.co.uk