Flight: Stories of Canadian Aviation, Vol. 3
by Deana J. Driver and Contributors
Published by DriverWorks Ink
Review by Keith Foster
$19.95 ISBN 978-1-927570-62-3
“Oops.” That’s not a word you want to hear when you’re flying. But that’s what one pilot uttered when he noticed things flying around the cockpit and realized he’d forgotten to secure them before taking off.
This incident, and more, are covered in Deana Driver’s latest book, Flight: Stories of Canadian Aviation, Vol. 3. The third volume in the series has thirty-three chapters or stories by fourteen authors. Among them are Saskatchewan aviation historian Will Chabun, internationally renowned storyteller Vincent Murphy-Dodds, and fighter pilot Frank Hanton.
The authors know what they’re talking about. Dave McElroy, for instance, has logged in more than 4,000 hours in twenty-nine different aircraft in more than sixty countries, and former bush pilot Peter Enzlberger has logged in more than 50,000 hours in the cockpit.
This volume, like the previous two, has its share of accidents and near misses. Pilot Dave McElroy was amazed to see a huge DC-6 four-engine airliner bearing down on the very runway he had just taken off from.
As a passenger, Murphy-Dodds recalled being in a small plane while the pilot tried to land on a temporary, dirt/gravel runway with “a tunnel of trees on each side – and a wall of trees at the end.” When the inexperienced pilot realized he was approaching too fast to land in such a confined space, he abruptly pulled up, barely skimming the treetops. “I could have counted the pinecones,” Murphy-Dodds noted.
As in the previous two volumes, this one describes a variety of aircraft, not all of them reliable. Take the Westland Wapita light bomber. Please, take it. The British government, eager to dispose of them, sold them to Canada for one dollar apiece. Even at that price, according to Jack Wilson, one of the pilots who flew them, Canada overpaid for them.
A major defect of the Wapitas was that their two Vickers machine guns were not synchronized with the rotation of the wooden propeller. When the guns were firing, instead of shooting through the propeller, they invariably shot pieces off the propeller.
Publisher Driver contributed six stories herself. Among them are stories of Barbara Stefanyshyn-Cote from Leask, SK., who took her husband and their four children on a two-year flying vacation to South America and the Caribbean. And stories of Lisa McGivery, a stewardess who changed her career path to become an aircraft maintenance engineer, one of only four per cent of AMEs who are female.
Flight includes seventy-eight black and white photos. Several are reproduced in colour on the front and back covers.
Driver has plans for more volumes in this Flight series, so readers and aviation aficionados can look forward to more thrilling adventures in the sky.
THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT YOUR BOOKSTORE OR FROM WWW.SKBOOKS.COM