Flight of Passage by Rinker Buck

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Flight of Passage

Five words from the blurb: plane, boys, across, America, adventure

A few weeks ago, in an effort to ease my fear of flying, I requested recommendations for positive stories about aviation. Alex suggested Flight of Passage and I’m so pleased that she did as a passion for flying oozes from the page and I now have a bank of positive images to combat the negative ones I’ve seen on the news – it is exactly what I was looking for!

Flight of Passage is written by Rinker Buck, who was fifteen-years-old when he flew from New Jersey to California with his seventeen-year-old brother Kernhan. The pair bought an old plane and spent the winter lovingly restoring it in their barn. They set off in the summer of 1966 and it is easy to see why they became minor celebrities as news of their adventure spread across the country:

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Buck and Kern, the teenage pilots

The book gives detailed descriptions of flight, but it wasn’t boring and technical in the way I found Saint-Exupery to be.

I constantly peered forward to the altimeter on the instrument panel, whacking my brother on his shoulder when he let it get in the way. The little hand on the dial couldn’t move off that 6, and when it did, I wiggled and fishtailed and nudged the stick to move the nose into better wind, to get us back up.

The book was perfectly structured to enable the reader to understand the process of flying. The technical difficulties they encountered showed how resilient aeroplanes are and it was reassuring to understand how pilots are able to overcome problems. It was especially good to know how much can be achieved, even with an old, basic plane.

As well as being a fantastic book about aviation it also showed the fragile relationship between teenage boys and their father. There was a real emotional depth to the story and I loved seeing the way in which they matured over the course of their journey.

Flight of Passage was a fascinating book and contained exactly the right mixture of suspense, information and emotion. Their youthful enthusiasm was contagious and I think it has done a lot to alleviate my fear of flying. For that reason alone I highly recommend it.

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5 Comments

  1. Annabel says:

    This book sounds charming and all the better for being true. Hope it helps.

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, I don’t normally like charming, but this book did have a lovely heartwarming side to it. I’m sure it will have done a lot to help me.

  2. Andreea says:

    Hey! Thanks for stopping by my blog! It means a lot to me.

    Kind regards,

    Andreea

  3. Chris says:

    Just wanted to let you know that 71H, the airplane, still lives. My wife and I restored it and just finished flying it across the country on the same route. Please see our website for videos and pictures.

    1. Jackie says:

      Chris, That is great to know! The plane looks beautiful – you should be so proud :-)

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