View Full Version : Read any good books?

Big Chief High Cloud
27th Jul 1999, 20:13
Just read Dean Koontz' novel Sole Survivor...wish I hadn't bothered. What a load of tosh.

Can anyone recommend a good civil aviation thriller. Or is this a lost cause?

27th Jul 1999, 20:21
Try the classic "Fate is the Hunter" by Ernest K. Gann. An exceptionally good read. ISBN 0-671-63603-0.


Keep the shiny side up and the dirty side down.

Canuck Av8r
ICQ 26305263

neil armstrong
27th Jul 1999, 20:45
Also try "Hostage to Fortune" by Ernest K. Gann ,that is if you can find it.


bart.northnet.com.au/~amcgann/website/Landing_on_the_Moon.htm (http://bart.northnet.com.au/~amcgann/website/Landing_on_the_Moon.htm)

Flame Out
27th Jul 1999, 21:43
You might like to check out "Tiger Tales", an anecdotal history of the Flying Tiger Line. It's mainly freight operations since right after the war (WW2) until 1989. Good reading and you might pick out a few things that might just help you out in a jam. Amazon.com has them in stock a few months ago. ISBN# 0-9649498-5-7

Wet Power
27th Jul 1999, 21:55
Totally agree with comments about "Fate is the Hunter". Superb read about Gann's early flying experiences flying DC2/DC3 etc.
Available through Amazon in the UK for about 10-00 including postage.
Excellent nightstop/deadheading material.

28th Jul 1999, 00:35
"Slipping the Surly Bonds"
by Dave English (he has a site)
I bought mine from my favourite shop Skylines!!

Wee Weasley Welshman
28th Jul 1999, 01:08
I read Airframe by Micheal Crichton in under 48hrs. Loved it. WWW

28th Jul 1999, 01:47
Here's a few aviation books I've read lately which kicked **** :

"A Likely Story" and "Another Likely Story" both by Guy Clapshaw: an ex-pom who set up a charter airline in the UK in the 60's (Airlinks I think) and migrated to NZ to eventually work for AirNZ or T.E.A.L as it was known in those days. If you can get a hold of them they're extremely good reading.

"21st Century Jet" I don't know who wrote this one but it follows the evolution of the 777 from the initial conception up to the first revenue flight. Some very good chapters on the test flying process.

Check them out and enjoy!

28th Jul 1999, 03:45
WWW is right.

Airframe is a top read.

28th Jul 1999, 04:42
"Birds of Prey - Boeing V Airbus, A Battle for the Skies" by Matthew Lynn,
ISBN 0-7493-1402-8

"Nuts - Southwest Airlines' Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success" by Kevin & Jackie Freiberg,
ISBN 0-7679-0184-3

"Dirty Tricks - BA's Secret War Against Virgin Atlantic" by Martyn Gregory,
ISBN 0-7515-10637-7

"From Worst to First - Behind the Scenes of Continental's Remarkable Comeback" by Gordon Bethune
ISBN 0-471-24835-5

Not much of an engineer

28th Jul 1999, 06:17
FLY ME by Bill Wenzel (Fawcett Pub. 1974). :)

28th Jul 1999, 07:20
Found Airframe to be a bit awful, actually - too forced, too obvious. Not really good enough for anybody that works in the industry, I would have thought (?)

John Nichol's books "Point of Impact" (ISBN 0 340 67181 5)and "Vanishing Point" (0 340 67184 X) are both excellent, as is Dale "Flight of the Old Dog" Brown's new book "The Tin Man".

Currently reading ATPL notes, which I can't really recommend as "exciting".

28th Jul 1999, 08:43
The Invisible Air Force... The true story of the CIA's secret Airlines.... Vietnam / Southeast Asia in the 1960/1970's . Published in the USA as Air America... Movie was only the comical side, the book appears to give mostly believable events. Author Christopher Robins. Published 1979


28th Jul 1999, 09:24
"Gentlemen of Adventure" Ernest Gann.

1000 posts and still going

28th Jul 1999, 09:35
You may like to try "Beyond The Blue Horizon" by Alexander Frater, published by Penguin Books.
Alexander Frater is an Oz journo who retraces the steps of the Imperial Airways Eastbound Empire service, (London to Sydney), fifty years on, great anecdotal stuff, really interesting book.
(First published by Penguin in 1987).

[This message has been edited by Methusalah (edited 28 July 1999).]

28th Jul 1999, 11:37
If You are looking for an aviation thriller read HARD LANDING of Thomas Petzinger,jr, ISBN 0-8129-2186-0

i.e. " The game we are playing is closest to the old game of "Cristians and lions"

You will find this in the thriller, words of CEO Robert Crandall of American Airlines. he was not talking about history....

Ball Bay
28th Jul 1999, 12:36
Every Ernest K. Gann book was good. Fate was the Hunter was possibly one of his better efforts. He even flew DC3's in the Pacific, with PH sometime early to mid '60's I believe.
Airframe appears to have been based on a number of incidents and, as indicated above, is very predictable, as all the data came out in the relevant incident reports. It was not a bad read, but there have been better.

[This message has been edited by Ball Bay (edited 28 July 1999).]

29th Jul 1999, 00:31
I've generally found aviation fiction to be rather disappointing and invariably full of technical boobs. If you know the subject intimately it is hard to ignore these even if the rest of the yarn itself is quite well put together. A few aviators, like Ernie Gann, have been exceptions to this for probably obvious reasons.

It is often said that fact is more exciting than fiction. Apollo 13, for example, must rate with any of Roddenberry's best Star Trek episodes, excellent as they were. The development of aerospace in such a short time period has been full of all the excitement, drama and humour that can be found in the best novels. Fortunately, there have always been participants able to record these events in books that are highly readable to those who love this subject.

Some of those books are now hard to find but they are still out there somewhere. Some of my personal favourites are mentioned on this post, especially FATE IS THE HUNTER which was reprinted after Gann's death, a few years back. What is so striking about this book is that, although the equipment has advanced enormously, the actual problems, personalities and way of life of airline flying remain almost unchanged. The numbers game, the introduction of new designs which may not be fully tested, the politics, management. The parallels are endless. It's a sobering thought.

One of my favourite (British) books is CROYDON TO CONCORDE (ISBN: 0-7195-3741-X) by the late Capt Ron E Gillman, a founder member of BEA.

Of the space-age books, THE RIGHT STUFF (ISBN: 0-224-01443-9), by Tom Wolfe, still contains caveats for those now running NASA and Congress who ignore the past at their (usually, someone else's) peril. In conjunction, STARFALL (ISBN: 0-690-00473-7), by Betty Grissom and Henry Still, adds to "TRS" with a personal view of the life and untimely death of Gus Grissom. The US space programme returns $7+ into the economy for every $1 spent but a $1 billion cut in the venture still looks great on the balance sheet when you are aiming for the social workers' votes.

Finally, for the thrill of the post-WW2 years when, for a brief moment, the development of aviation seemed to know no bounds, YEAGER (ISBN:0-553-05093-1), by Chuck Yeager and Leo Janos, tells it how it was when it was vital to the politicians.

Never mind the novels, read the events!

29th Jul 1999, 01:14
Yes, I can read ! - here are a few suggestions.

Stanley Stewart - Emergency, Crisis on the Flight Deck, excellent accounts of near disasters.

Stanley Stewart - Air Disasters, ones which didn't make it into the above !

Stephen Coonts ( don't confuse with Dean Koonts)

Flight of the Intruder
Under Siege

Both fiction and worth a read

Cannibal Queen

True account of his flights round America by Stearman - wonderfully written.

Roger's Profanasaurus - Your body will ache !

Capt PPRuNe
29th Jul 1999, 04:13
Looks like DrSyn and I share identical tastes in aviation literature although he is so much more eloquent than me.

Just like to add one more to his list, Chickenhawk. Can't remember the authors name but it's an autobiography of a Vietnam War UH1 pilot.

There are some fascinating biographies and autobiographies of pilots from thefirst and second world war eras that are also fascinating reads. Try your local library.

Capt PPRuNe

29th Jul 1999, 04:30
Enjoyed greatly all of Derek Robinson's books, "Piece of Cake", "Goshawk Squadron", "A good Clean Fight", and a rare one "Rotten With Honour". First three are about flying in WWII and WWI and show Robinson's experience as a fighter controller in WWII Britain. Rotten With Honour is a good old fashioned spy novel. All told with great style, dry humour and a biting cynicism.
And if any of you Poms are wondering why Australians turned out the way we did, try "The Fatal Shore" by Robert Hughes.

Ozmates, I found a book called "Flying Hazard", a hilarious novel told from a Doctor's perspective working around the, ah, communities in the East & West Kimberley. Very real, several characters that Reddo would recognise from KNX.

Author: Colin Bowles, ISBN 0-09956-540-4, Arrow books. Also "Flying blind", haven't read it yet.

And 410, you're talking about Gann's "In the Company Of Eagles". Also good Gann stuff: "Band of Brothers" and "Benjamin Lawless", both published pre-ISBN!

[This message has been edited by Bendo (edited 29 July 1999).]

29th Jul 1999, 11:18
Since we’ve crept into military aviation, try Ernie Gann’s novel set in WW1. I forget its full title, but ‘Eagles’ is in there somewhere. Not nearly up to the standard of FITH, his all time classic, but not a bad read.
Len Deighton’s ‘Fighter’ – the REAL account of the Battle of Britain with all the ‘pip, pip, jolly good show’ propaganda removed, might come as a bit of a surprise to both Brit and German readers to see what a close run thing it was. In a nutshell, the Brits won only because they made an infinitesimally smaller number of major blunders than the Germans did.
By the same author, ‘Bomber’ is an exhaustive and incredibly well researched account from all perspectives, both British and German, of a fictitious bombing raid on a fictitious German city on a fictitious night, (I think) the 31st (sic) of June 1943. Well worth a read. (For you computer nuts out there, you may be interested to know that ‘Bomber’ was the first major novel to be written on a word processor.)
‘Bomber Command’ by Max Hastings was the first book I read on the bomber offensive that really brought it home to me how utterly suicidal it was to be posted to bombers – and the crews knew it and still went out. 10% casualties every night and 30 missions to complete a tour meant that statistically, you died three times before you completed a tour. Very few made it past 5 trips.
‘No Moon Tonight’ by Don Charlwood . Good read.
‘They Hosed Them Out’ –the story of a tail gunner’s war. VERY bitter and twisted, and written around 1950, is well worth finding. (I saw a copy for sale last year on bibliofind.com)
‘Thud Ridge’ by Jack Brougham. Required reading for anyone who doesn’t believe the politically-restricted bombing campaign into North Vietnam wasn’t a Grade ‘A ‘clusterf**k. Well worth adding to your aviation bookshelf. It’s worth buying just to read the story of the F105 that flamed out due to fuel starvation as it approached the tanker over Laos and did a successful dead stick approach to the drogue. Riveting stuff.

Big Chief High Cloud
29th Jul 1999, 11:43
Thanks, chaps and chapettes -- that's a few to be checking out.

Interesting you mention Chickenhawk, Captain, because I think it's by Robert Mason, who's the author of another book on my shelf. Might give it a bash.


29th Jul 1999, 12:14
You are right Capt PPRuNe!

The book Chickenhawk is very nice! The book is written by Bob Mason. He wrote actually two books. The first one is playing during the Vietnam war and the second one tells about his life after the war...

29th Jul 1999, 13:14
And, just before you go, I forgot, Len Deighton wrote one called "Bomber" and "Goodbye Micky Mouse" - both good reads, he has written both fiction and non-fiction about aviation, military that is.

29th Jul 1999, 13:14
Chickenhawk by Robert C Mason Viking Pr; ISBN: 0140072187. A thundering good read, i felt as though I might be able to jump into a Huey and fly off after reading that book! (I wish ;) )

If at first you don't succeed, sky diving is not for you.

29th Jul 1999, 16:27
Apart from the above I have come across a fe by Richard Cox in a semi-military type ie one where a single pilot attacks Libya with an old F86. There is also a good book about (and called) Air Force One (which the film was NOT based upon) by a journalist who was going to write a factual book about it (B707 days) and had lots of interviews, flights etc. However he then found that the White House would have editorship/censorship rights so he turned it into a novel

Jetset Willy
29th Jul 1999, 18:43
You should all read "Collision" by Spencer Dunmore. Although it was written in the late seventies, it is a great disaster thriller, and is also very technically proficient (for the day!). Not only is it edge of the seat stuff, but it also provides a great insight into the life and work of the airline pilot.
It is a really exciting novel, and climaxes with a mid-air collision between a British B747 and an American DC-10, but has a great twist to it at the end. It was also based on fact... (apparently).
I've read it over and over, and it was probably the one book that made me decide on a career in this great airborne industry.
So there.

29th Jul 1999, 19:20
I would have serious doubts about someone who chose a career in aviation based on the outcome of a major accident, so, you must be a 'wind-up' man or a poor qualiity 'journo'?
(do we hear the rattle of the padlock??).

[This message has been edited by Methusalah (edited 29 July 1999).]

29th Jul 1999, 20:55
The Gann novel referred to by 410, above, is called IN THE COMPANY OF EAGLES. I don't have the ISBN.

Actually, Hailey's AIRPORT was a good 'un and made an excellent movie which is still watchable. The sequels were pure entertainment! The ultimate, of course, was AIRPLANE which amply illustrated all the wonderful tech boobs I mentioned earlier. The soundtrack of a DC-4, every time the 707 is seen in flight, is a classic. In the otherwise gripping movie RAID ON ENTEBBE, as the C-130 starts engines, the unmistakable splutter of a large piston radial winding-up clearly escaped the technical advisor. (Sorry to digress on to movies!). Although holding a mass-briefing in normal voice, and singing songs, in the back of said Herc could charitably be passed off as artistic licence!

This has been a most interesting thread. I have marked-off a number of "must finds" for my next trawl around the book shops.

29th Jul 1999, 23:26
" The Air VC's " exploits from RFC, RNAS and RAF. Can't remember who collated the book or who published it, but it's an incredible collection.

29th Jul 1999, 23:41
Ill back up Capt PPRunes addition of Chickenhawk
The ISBN is 0-552-12419-2, originally published by Corgi 1984

30th Jul 1999, 02:37
Is "Fate is the Hunter" (Ernest K Gann) still in print anywhere? Read it ages ago...a ripping yarn.

30th Jul 1999, 04:13
IMHO Fate is the Hunter should be part of the CPL syllabus for intending airline pilots as apart from containing a huge fund of lessons in aviationship, it also points out that life does not always work out the way we plan no matter how good the planning and that grace under pressure is what separates the men from the boys.

30th Jul 1999, 18:32
Shot One:

I just picked a new copy of Fate is the Hunter at a Chapters book store here in Canada. It is available through their website at www.chapters.ca (http://www.chapters.ca) for $15.20CDN (approx 7 UK pounds), pretty cheap. Do a search by author for Ernest K Gann from the front page and you should find it.

I just read this in Airways magazine and I quote:

"Logbooks are a pilots diary, as Rick drury recounts in his ever-popular Flightlines column, and their loss is tragic. "Ernest K Gann, author hero and friend," writes in his cover note to this months tale, "had logbooks to dazzle the masters. And after his last flight, his writing studio, an old chicken coop, was essentially transported to Oshkosh where it was recreated inside the EAA museum. His memorabelia was preserved and everyone was relieved that it was safe and could be enjoyed and appreciated by others. On January 20 this year, around 0300, the old empty coop on Ernie's farm was destroyed by fire. While this loss was great, there was comport in knowing the treasures were safe.

"Until his wife, Dodie told me: 'I had gone to the attic in the house and taken down some boxes. I had missed a few things. So I put them in the empty studio. There were his books, first editions - some translated into other languages. Pictures and paintings. Even unpublished manuscripts and screenplays. But the worst was the fact that in one box there were Ernie's logbooks.'" Fortunately the American Airlines C R Smith Museum holds two of Ernie's logbooks (1939-41 and 1941-48) in it's archives.

By John Wegg (Editor-in-Chief)

What a terrible and tragic loss to aviation history. I am not even famous but would be devastated if my logbooks were destroyed.


Keep the shiny side up and the dirty side down.

Canuck Av8r
ICQ 26305263

[This message has been edited by Canuck_AV8R (edited 30 July 1999).]

31st Jul 1999, 09:57
I asked the same question on wannabes after reading a bio on PAN AM, called SKYGODS (The fall of PAN AM) by Robert Gandt. Very interesting read and recommend it to fill in time on the bus or wherever. Some good anecdotal stories that I'm sure people would enjoy. RE rubber chicken under windscreen wiper - bird strike!

31st Jul 1999, 13:00
I must concur that "Fate is the Hunter" and "Chickenhawk" are definitely two "must reads". Both are excellent and certainly sit near the top of my pile of aviation literature. Some others worth giving a bash, are:
"Goodbye Mickey Mouse", Len Deighton, Fiction about a P51 squadron during WW2.
"A Hostage to Fortune", Ernest K. Gann, his autobiography.ISBN 0-340-23868-2.
"Flying Into Danger", Patrick Forman, a searching look at air safety.
ISBN 0-7493-0922-9.
"Tumult in the Clouds", Lt-Col James Goodson, 32 victories during WW2.
ISBN 0-09-936870-6.
"Forever Flying", Bob Hoover, his excellent autobiography. ISBN 0-671-53761-x.
"Night Witches", Bruce Myles, Russia's women pilots during WW2, very interesting.
ISBN 0-586-05812-5.
"Faith, Hope and Charity", Kenneth Poolman, The defence of Malta by three Gloster Gladiators during WW2. ISBN 0-450-01766-4.
"The Lonely Sea and the Sky", Francis Chichester, his autobiography, by Pan Books.
"Battle for Britain", Wing Commander "Dizzy" Allen, his autobiography.ISBN 0-552-09799-3.
"Bring Back My Stringbag", Lord Kilbracken, a Swordfish pilot at war.ISBN 0-330-26172-x.
"Samurai",Saburo Sakai, Japans leading fighter ace from WW2 tells his tale.
ISBN 0-553-11035-7.
"Runway", John Godson, a look at a major DC8 prang in Alaska,1970. ISBN 0-583-12310-4.
"Fly For Your Life", Larry Forrester, Wing Commander Robert Tuck's wartime exploits.
ISBN 0-583-12787-8.
"Check Six", General F. Blesse, a fighter pilots tale of his two wars.
ISBN 0-8041-0927-3.
"Full Circle", AVM "Johnnie" Johnson, his stry of air fighting, ISBN 0-330-30045-8.
"The High and the Mighty", Ernest Gann, fiction tale of a flight from Hawaii to California that went wrong.
"Born to Fly", Georges Blond, about various aces of WW2. ISBN 0-583-11555-1.
"Into the Blue", Alexander Mckee, unsolved mysteries of flying, ISBN 0-586-05542-8.
"Mission : Hiroshima", Paul Tibbets, commander of the "Enola Gay",
ISBN 0-8128-8169-9.

This should keep you busy for a while. :)

31st Jul 1999, 14:18
Try Slide Rule by Neville Shute - its his
autobiography about starting Airspeed co
in 30's,...also R100/R101.#

You could also try Angel, Archangel by Nick Cook, or if you are feeling the need for a classic - try either
Antoine de Saint-Exupery's Wind, Sand and Stars, or Southern Mail/Night Fly.

Historical non fiction try West with the Night by Beryl Markham

Good Reading



Atlantic bart.
1st Aug 1999, 16:43
Methusalah recommended "Beyond the Blue Horizon" - quite right, I've read it four times now and it keeps on getting better.

More: (Thinks... you're gonna be quite busy reading for a while there, Big Chief...)

Ken Follett's "Night Over Water" - not totally about the aeroplane, but very nice Pan Am Clipper (Boeing 314, that is...) background and very well researched.

"The Wrong Side of The Sky", "Judas Country" and "Shooting Script", all by Gavin Lyall.

Another all-time classic, sometimes mentioned with almost as much reverence as "Fate is the Hunter", is Guy Murchie's beautiful "Song of the Sky".

Not fiction this one, but cracking good read anyway, full of epic tales of derring-do... Sir Gordon Taylor's autobiography "The Sky Beyond". (How about the time when, crossing the Tasman Sea in a Fokker Trimotor, they had to shut down one of the wing engines and later on, the other wing motor starts losing oil like it's going outta fashion. Since the only other alternative is going swimming, your man decides to go out and get the oil from the shut-down one and pour it into the other... Don't believe it? Read the book!)

If you have trouble locating any of these, try The Aviation Bookshop, 656 Holloway Road, London N19 3PD, phone 0171 272 3630. Better yet, go and spend a week or three in there...

Happy reading. If you try any of the above and enjoy them, let me know.

Capt PPRuNe
1st Aug 1999, 19:57
Don't forget ladies and gentlemen, if you end up ordering any of the above mentioned treasures of aviation literature because of what you've read here, please mention to the company that you are purchsing from that you heard about it on PPRuNe.

You never know, they may just want to advertise their products here and at the same time be helping to keep PPRuNe up and running. I know I'll be ordering a few more books for my library.

Capt PPRuNe

E cam
1st Aug 1999, 21:44
Twentyfive years ago, I read Skywriting, by Fred Hoinvuille. Can't remember much about it now, but it made me decide that I could/would fly.

[This message has been edited by E cam (edited 01 August 1999).]

1st Aug 1999, 21:46
Any of Brian Lecombers (the famous aerobatic pilot) novels (Talkdown) and (Deadweight) come to mind.About time he wrote some more!! Come on Brian.

1st Aug 1999, 23:27
I have not looked recently in the US Flying Magazine to see if Len Morgan was still authoring a column I believe is named "Vectors".

Len was a World War II era pilot that had a complete career at Braniff International, retiring just before that company's demise, and if you admire Ernie Gann's writing style, you will love his. The beauty is that all his anecdotes are short, one to two pages and you don't even have to buy the magazine!!!

[This message has been edited by DeeTeeS (edited 01 August 1999).]

Triple INAS
1st Aug 1999, 23:28
FHM works best for me!

2nd Aug 1999, 03:05
If you like to read about how things were before they invented airways, I recommend either:

"The flight of the Mew Gull" by Alex Henshaw, about long range single seat record breaking. At one stage he decides to check out the Mew by flying from Gravesend to Marseilles, back up to Scotland and then back to Gravesend - without landing in between!!


"The Dangerous Skies" by A E Clouston, about flying the DH 88. Now available from Amazon.

However, if you're just after a cure for insomnia, then try the JAR-OPS manual; it's almost as interesting as reading logarithm tables!! By the way, Amazon are currently advertising the classic 'Fate is the Hunter' for 7.94!!

[This message has been edited by BEagle (edited 01 August 1999).]

Ex Bus Driver
2nd Aug 1999, 15:15
Someone previously mentioned all of Ernie Gann's books are good reads. I agree, but one that poses a chillingly realistic scenario to those of you out there flying amid the jungles of this profession, is "Band of Brothers". In brief, about a crash wherein the aircrew are held "criminally" negligent!
The scarey thing is that it could happen.
Cheers, EBD

2nd Aug 1999, 17:02
What about the book:

"Long walk to the hotel" by Miss. D. Crewbus ;)

"Rolls over and goes back to sleep"

3rd Aug 1999, 13:32
Ernest Gann has been mentioned a lot above but no-one has mentioned his novel "The High and the Mighty" about a DC-4 which loses an engine half way between Honolulu and San Francisco. Young Captain panics and grizzled old co-pilot saves the day. Was made into a film in the fifties with John Wayne as the hero. I have it in battered old paperback so may not be available anymore. But if anyone wants a good aviation thriller this is it, and well worth searching for.

Oops, sorry Banoi, just noticed it hidden in your list!

[This message has been edited by Groundloop (edited 03 August 1999).]

black cat
3rd Aug 1999, 21:43
If you are able to get a copy I would suggest The Scarlet Angel by Alban Ali.This is the story of a seven-thousand mile journey from India to the UK, mostly a Comper Swift. The book was first published in 1934 by Duckworth. My copy took 5 years to find! You wont find any copies in the UK library system. Well worth the search though.
Then there is Adventure with Fate by Harald Penrose. Why not try The Flight of the Mew Gull by Alex Henshaw.If you want a First World War book there is the classic Sagittarius Rising by Cecil Lewis.
You may note that all these works are non-fiction.

4th Aug 1999, 01:14
Two thumbs up for chickenhawk, it is a great book.

I would recommend 'THUD RIDGE' by Col. Jack Broughton. It describes his combat flying in vietnam serving on the F-105(the meanest airplane ever!) and is extremely good and well written.

DeeTeeS, Len Morgan still has a column in flying and yes, his columns are a joy to read.


[This message has been edited by Ramrise (edited 03 August 1999).]

Ignition Override
4th Aug 1999, 10:14
Y'all made some excellent suggestions. I second the motion for Ernest Gann's 'Fate Is the Hunter' & 'Flying Circus'; 'Forever Flying' by Bob Hoover; 'Reflections of a Pilot', by Len Morgan (WW2 transports thru Braniff Airlines "The point, that a pilot can get into trouble while doing precisely what he was taught to do-should be made clear in school, yet I've never heard it mentioned". "Unthinking adherence to the book in every situation is unrealistic, indeed, foolhardy. A review of accidents in recent years proves...".); "Tex Johnston, Jet-Age Test Pilot', by Johnston and Barton; 'Air America' by Christopher Robbins; 'Chickenhawk', by Robert Mason (time after time they landed in their zones at almost zero airspeed, while the VC were actually waiting for them, firing AK-47s at the Hueys from fairly close range: no 200-400 knot+ passes with Zuni rockets or guns). After looking at 'Thud Ridge', I was too angry with our former government (again) to want to read any more of it, due to the corrosive thinking of many of our (then) senior political and Pentagon military career officers. The focus on 'ticket-punching' for numerous Pentagon promotions was, to many, much more important than their clear duty and responsibility to take care of their 'working' troops and pilots, only prolonging the military/civilian nightmare.

de La Valette
4th Aug 1999, 15:38
By far the finest story that I have read in many years is 'MY SECRET WAR '. by Richard Drury. Drury has a style so close to Ernest Gann as to be uncanny. It is the story of his experiences flying Skyraiders during the Vietnam era, including graphic descriptions of night dive bombing and coming back on limited panel instrument flying (AH shot out), no navaids and then full tilt into a line of Cb. Drury also writes a wonderful column in the US magazine Airways. He is a current airline pilot. You can get the book (around $8US) via an American firm called The Scholar's Bookshop. at www.scholarsbookshelf.com (http://www.scholarsbookshelf.com)
Gann himself warmly praised the book - so it must be good.

4th Aug 1999, 16:23
Bob Mason wrote a sequel to "Chickenhawk" entitled "Chickenhawk - Back in the world - life after Vietnam". ISBN:0140158766

There isn't any flying in it, but Bob's description of his life after experiencing the horrors of Vietnam is a very moving, open, honest confession of what he became. If the last page of "Chickenhawk" shocked you, then get hold of this book (and a box of tissues if you cry easily).

Very highly recommended.

Flying Guy
6th Aug 1999, 03:55
I am a loyal ppruner and have recently finished writing my first thriller. I am seeking a publisher now. The first three chapters takes place in a DC-10 (the plane I currently fly) which is bombed. The rest of the book is non-aviation until the end in which there is another exciting flying scene. I would love to have some feedback from fellow professionals so if you would like to see the first chapters contact me at [email protected]

[This message has been edited by Flying Guy (edited 05 August 1999).]

6th Aug 1999, 04:18
And I thought I had read everything there was in terms aviation!!

Thanks guys just off to the bank to increase the old overdraft to buy some more books.

6th Aug 1999, 15:12
For Aussies, Mac Job's air Crash series, the history of Australian aviation, told through every airline crash in Australia.

For others, the Air Disaster series - good, factual writing on disasters of the jet age of aviation.

Fiction: Gostrider One by Gerry Carroll, also author of North SAR, Gostrider is a book about flying Skyhawks and Phantoms in Vietnam. Unfortunately Corroll died in 1993.

Capt PPRuNe
6th Aug 1999, 16:29
Excellent thread here. Obviously a lot of reading to catch up on. I've already ordered some of the books reviewed and I've no doubt that many of you have too.

Unfortunately this thread is getting a bit too long so I'm going to close it but I'm also archiving it for posterity.

Capt PPRuNe