Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Review of "The Cockpit: A Flight of Escape and Discovery"

As a follow on to my review of "My Heart is Africa", another perspective on "lone pilot takes single engine piston plane across Atlantic to Africa and discovers himself", can be found in "The Cockpit: A Flight of Escape and Discovery" by Dr. Paul M. Gahlinger.

The Cockpit has plenty of danger and adventure to keep the reader enthralled, but without the recklessness of Griffin's book. Gahlinger is a more sympathetic person. He never seems to have his personal life together, yet he's clearly intelligent, sensitive and has the support of a loving family. He seeks a greater purpose in life through various adventures and jobs, of which this specific flight is but one volume of a multi-volume odyssey. And indeed since this flight, Dr. Gahlinger continues to write relevant books, most recently "A Guide to Medical Tourism", surely to be an important topic as health care costs continue to exceed inflation in the US.

The author must have been inspired by Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, as he also weaves a parallel narrative between his personal life and the legs of the flight. It's particularly effectively here, without trickery, as various phases of flight trigger different memories explaining how he reached this unusual circumstance. The idea of going forward in flight from the US, his birthplace in Canada, his parents' origins in Switzerland and eventually to the dawn of mankind in Africa, is a stretch and less interesting than learning about the frailty of a single man, who wants to do the right thing but can't always find the right path.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Choosing a VLJ Mentor Pilot

I've finally completed an article about Choosing a VLJ Mentoring Pilot. Insurance companies, training companies and web sites discuss the need for a mentor but rarely explain the qualities that differentiate a good mentor from a great one.

Last week, Philip and I went to Phoenix with the family for a business trip. There's no blog entry, as I really didn't learn much from my third cross continent trip in the last few months.

I'm not worried about my learning curve flattening. This weekend, Neil and I leave for London, England in the Mustang. It will be my first piloted Trans-Atlantic trip. Almost all of our preparation is complete. Wish me luck and expect several posts about the experience.