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Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't be put down, 5 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: Aloft (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This is a book of essays about plane crashes. Real-life tragedies. Edge-of-the-seat cockpit transcripts from the black box. Real-life `whodunnits', from the mysterious apparent suicide of Egyptair 990 outbound from New York in 1999, to the harrowing breakup of the space shuttle Columbia over Texas in 2003. Often, catalogues of chains of jaw-dropping human failures, or almost unbelievable combinations of bad luck.
But "Aloft" is not just for those of a slightly morbid disposition. This is because the author is both a journalist and a pilot. If his flying is as good as his writing, then I only wish he could be at the controls whenever I fly as a humble, slightly nervous economy-class passenger.
The quality of the writing is superb. This is a book that, truly, one cannot put down. It is superb, not least because Langewiesche is not a voyeur or a sensationalist. He expresses in smoothly flowing, well-honed English, not only his compassion for the fortunately extremely rare victims of modern air disasters, but also his great love of flying and of the world seen from above.
In the latter field he can be almost poetic, but he also has all the technical data at his fingertips, explaining reasonably clearly some of those complexities of advanced aircraft navigation which your pilot may have touched on during your flight, but which you perhaps always wanted to understand more fully.
When you have read it, no doubt at one sitting, try "Fly By Wire", Langewiesche's equally absorbing account of the recent memorable "Miracle on the Hudson" when a crippled Airbus made an almost perfect water landing in New York, with no loss of life. This latter volume particularly recommended if you are nervous about flying!
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Location: UK

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