Version with Revisions 2000-2017
people have appreciation for the pure joy of flight.
Private flyers share
a secret knowledge that even the most routine trip in
the sky imparts sensations
of the highest order. Indeed, the world seems
horizontal and dull when
perceived through flight-intensified senses.
For pilots, all events on the ground
Even a fabulous banquet, say, or a first-rate musical
performance or an
acclaimed theatrical production -- any event that
might hold significance
for others merely fills the time until we can go
access to the sky is almost uniquely an American
privilege -- an American
privilege in decline. The numbers all say so (see AOPA
Statistical Reference Guide) -- the
quantity of airplanes made
and flights flown year by year, insurance rates and
operating costs, airports
by the dozens converted to shopping malls in
communities all over the country,
stressed-out procedures aloft and on the ground,
public skies increasingly
dominated by commercial air carriers crammed with
Tyranny of the Majority, the historic
menace to diversity
and individual expression, now besets airplanes and
their pilots. Poorly
informed by a populist press, multitudes embrace
vulgar myths about the
sky. Some would welcome the demise of private
aviation, having never experienced
its practical realities -- having never enjoyed
adventures aloft that confer
Aviation enthusiasts have an obligation
to reach out to
that majority of Americans who do not exercise their
privilege of being
a pilot. That's what I have tried to do here with the
of Chapters in the Sky.
Chapters in the Sky: Adventures
in Personal Flying
Non-pilots and pilots --
Established readership in
Technical concepts made
Marketing channels for the
original book include book stores
and clubs, retail stores and gift shops,
and -- hey, airports.
True stories, critically
acclaimed by flying enthusiasts.
Explanations are salted into dialogues.
conventional. Each chapter nearly
Word-links to a Descriptive
No sex, no violence. A
few bad words.
Psychology Aloft: pride and
panic, hubris and humiliation.
Qualifications for Flight:
solo, aerobatics, temperament.
clouds, storms, turbulence, hypoxia.
TO OTHER BOOKS ON
The saints of space dare
everything but the contemplation
of danger. The Right Stuff,
according to Tom Wolfe, is what
wards off disaster. It is a mysterious
substance known only by its absence.
number of us piston-powered
folk explore the bottom of the
atmosphere. Our true danger is "the
Chapters in the Sky is
mostly about this wrong
Countless armchair aviators have
thrilled to the combat
triumphs in Yeager. You might
admire Chuck's breaking the
sound barrier but not emulate him -- unless
you happen to find a friend
with an X1 you can borrow.
a do-it-yourself flyer
is possible for any woman or man in
America. Chapters in the Sky
to get out of your armchair
and go subsonic.
The venerable text on flying, Stick
by Wolfgang Langeweische, stays in print
decade after decade. Still,...
people prefer stories, where
principles of flight might
be embedded in dialogue and
Non-flying readers of Chapters
in the Sky
will find both.
In his fictional rhapsody, Jonathan
Richard Bach appealed to an avian
who are denied the requisite
feathers, can still act out their
fantasies. Meet the consummate
on the pages of Chapters
in the Sky.
With its pathos, diction,
suspense, Fate is the Hunter
sets the standard for the genre. It
diarized the early days of aviation
tradesmen, wherein the cockpit was often the
scene of improvised heroics.
K. Gann's classic is to
in the Sky
what the DC-3 is to the Cessna
In these memoirs, I have tried to
describe what it feels
like to pick a place and fly there. Not just get there
or be there -- to
there. I hope you enjoy my stories -- and something
else. I hope you don't
make all the mistakes I made, starting with this