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The Map of My Dead Pilots: The Dangerous…

The Map of My Dead Pilots: The Dangerous Game of Flying in Alaska

by Colleen Mondor

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442398,964 (3.5)3
Explores the history of Alaskan aviation, discussing small plane piloting in the wildest territory of the United States.



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Commuter airlines are a vital part of Alaskan life, but at the same time they carry much more risk than flying in the Lower 48. Colleen Mondor, a former dispatcher with an airline based in Fairbanks, tells the stories from her time in this world, when pilots faced unspeakable pressure to get the job done in the face of brutal weather, overloaded aircraft, and overwhelming fatigue. Mondor writes with authority gained from her personal experience and from the research she did into accidents involving her friends (many of them were written up as National Transportation Safety Board reports). The stories are shocking, sad, but often told in a really funny way—her colleagues are not short of dark humour. I’d recommend this if you want to know more about the reality of commercial aviation, and if you liked Into the Abyss, by Carol Shaben — The Map of My Dead Pilots reveals that a lot of the issues present in the industry when Into the Abyss was set are still present in the 21st century. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Aug 17, 2019 |
The Map of My Dead Pilots is an elegant mémoire of the author's years spent in the service of Alaskan commercial aviation. Its stories are informed by her knowledge of the historical background.

But the book is more than a compendium of interesting stories.
It becomes an exploration of the variability of memory, the plasticity over time of historical information, and the malleability of stories depending on the needs of the teller and the audience. The author's tale is one of striving for the truth and learning that truth can only be approached as an asymptotic limit.

There are stories and there are stories. Ms. Mondor tells her stories as accurately as memory and circumstance allow, and she leaves the reader (I believe) with an understanding of the truth of flying in Alaska. ( )
  frankvh | Jan 27, 2012 |
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