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North Star over My Shoulder: A Flying Life…

North Star over My Shoulder: A Flying Life

by Bob Buck

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A real gem of a book. Bob Buck started flying as a young man in the 1920s and soon became well known due to some record making flights, including breaking the junior transcontinental record and for a time was the youngest licensed pilot in the United States. At the age of 30 he joined TWA, became chief pilot in 1945 and flew until the mandatory retirement age of 60 in 1974. During that time he flew special missions for the Air Force, became friends with politicians and actors (there's a marvelous photo of him and Bob Hope on a movie set) and was a personal favorite of Howard Hughes. He started with TWA on DC-2s and ended up piloting the first 747 for them. It's a well written, easy to read story. Recommended for not only aviation enthusiasts but also for the general reader. ( )
  jztemple | May 27, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743219643, Hardcover)

Bob Buck may not be as famous as Charles Lindbergh, but he's well known among aviators for setting flight-distance records in the 1930s, flying a B-17 in the Second World War, and finally, becoming a commercial airline pilot who logged more than 2,000 trips across the Atlantic Ocean. North Star over My Shoulder is Buck's memoir of a life spent in the skies. He shares plenty of cockpit wisdom: "A copilot can make a trip or ruin it; get someone who talks too much, gripes about the company, tries to impress you, tells long and boring anecdotes, or is overly aggressive in suggesting ways to run the flight, and the taste is unpleasant." He also answers the question he says nonpilots are most likely to ask him: How do you overcome jet lag? "You don't," he says. Buck addresses offbeat subjects, too, such as what an airline pilot does when one of his first-class passengers is irate about the lack of caviar on a long trip. Readers fascinated by flight will enjoy this book, both for its historical perspective on advances in aviation ("a time no one will ever experience again") and the good advice that springs from almost every page ("sitting low tends to make you level off a little too high, while sitting up high tends to make you fly into the ground and not level off enough"). Pilots will appreciate this book, as will anybody who has ever wondered what it's like to fly a plane. --John Miller

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:01 -0400)

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The author traces his long and distinguished career as an aviator, from his record-breaking coast-to-coast solo flight in 1930 at the age of sixteen, through his experiences in World War II, to his nearly forty-year career as a pilot with TWA.

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