in Personal Flying
to the Internet Version
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 are parenthetical.
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 flying again.
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 disgruntled passengers.
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 Internet version
of Chapters in the Sky.
Chapters in the Sky: Adventures
in Personal Flying
Non-pilots and pilots -- especially non-pilots.
Established readership in popular magazines.
Technical concepts made accessible.
Marketing channels for the original book include book stores
and clubs, retail stores and gift shops, and -- hey, airports.
First person narratives. Suspense. Cumulative
True stories, critically acclaimed by flying enthusiasts.
People oriented. Explanations are salted into dialogues.
Not quite conventional. Each chapter nearly stands
Word-links to a Descriptive Glossary.
No sex, no violence. A few bad words.
Psychology Aloft: pride and panic, hubris and humiliation.
Qualifications for Flight: solo, aerobatics, temperament.
Atmospheric Realities: clouds, storms, turbulence, hypoxia.
|COMPARISON 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.
... a 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. Nevertheless...
...becoming 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 and Rudder
by Wolfgang Langeweische, stays in print decade after decade. Still,...
...some people prefer stories, where
principles of flight might
be embedded in dialogue and thunderstorms narrated.
Non-flying readers of Chapters in the Sky
will find both.
In his fictional rhapsody, Jonathan Livingston Seagull,
Richard Bach appealed to an avian mentality. However...
...those 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.
...Earnest K. Gann's classic is to
in the Sky
what the DC-3 is to the Cessna 172.
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