cockpitcon

On Our Bookshelves:
Cockpit Confidential

BOOK: Cockpit Confidential

AUTHOR: Patrick Smith

YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2013

REVIEW:

How fast can a commercial plane go? What is windshear? How much money do pilots earn? Why do flights from North America to Europe travel so far north? Are cellphones on airplanes actually dangerous? Are foreign airlines safe? Where do flight numbers come from? How about those three digit airport codes?

Patrick Smith, excellent writer and aviation enthusiast, answers all of these questions and many more in this engaging and often surprisingly personal volume.

If you’re a nervous flyer, you should definitely read this book, as he knowledgably and insightfully takes down any number of misperceptions and myths. If you dread flying, hate airlines, and find the experience of getting here to there aggravating and miserable, you should definitely read this book, because if anyone can reengage you in the adventure and romance of flying, Patrick Smith can.

He rightfully points out that today’s passenger can, “in a backpack and flip-flops, traverse the oceans for the equivalent of a few pennies per mile, in near-perfect safety and with an 85 percent chance of arriving on time.” Which is a damn good attitude adjustment, and one I often sorely need.

He’s opinionated on everything from airport security to airline logos, and whether or not you agree with him on every particular, he’s written an extraordinarily informative, as well as very enjoyable, book. Check it out. And then buy a ticket to somewhere you’ve never been before.

If you want even more of Patrick Smith’s fine writing and keen insights, you can check out www.askthepilot.com, which is absolutely the first place I go anytime there is an airline issue in the news.

RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): Three-And-A-Half Whistles

HOW TO PURCHASE: Amazon

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ALSO ON OUR BOOKSHELVES:

Bleak House, Charles Dickens

Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan

Bunker Hill, Nathan Philbrick

Burmese Days, George Orwell

Cannery Row, John Steinbeck

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell

Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers

Longbourn, Jo Baker

Mother Night, Kurt Vonnegut

Ringworld, Larry Niven

Rose Madder, Stephen King

The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Ed., Lewis Carroll & Martin Gardner (with original illustrations by John Tenniel)

The Dancer of Izu, Kawabata Yasunari

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce

The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories, Saki

The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin

Up At The Villa, W. Somerset Maugham

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Lead-In Image: Alexandru Nika/Shutterstock.com

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Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.

Laura can be contacted at laura@newswhistle.com