An old-fashioned air adventure in the tradition of Charles Lindbergh's celebrated autobiography, The Spirit of St. Louis....

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FLIGHT OF PASSAGE

An old-fashioned air adventure in the tradition of Charles Lindbergh's celebrated autobiography, The Spirit of St. Louis. Buck, who has written for New York magazine, among other publications, revisits the crowning moment of his youth, the newsworthy 1966 coast-to-coast trek undertaken with his older brother, Kernahan, in a reconditioned Piper Cub. Young Kern Buck, soon after getting his pilot's license at 17, cooked up the idea of flying all the way from New Jersey to California in the two-seat, hand-crank, tailwheel airplane, which the brothers would purchase for $300 and meticulously restore over a long winter. Rinker's presence would be required as copilot and navigator in the radioless Cub. After settling on a southern route through Texas by way of Arkansas, the brothers steered ""stack to stack"" through the steel smog along the river mills at Pittsburgh, with overnights in Indiana, Arkansas, and Texas, reporters picking them up for interviews along the way. The memorable pass through the Rockies, near El Paso, where the pilots battled oxygen starvation as they approached the Guadalupe Pass, is the dramatic centerpiece of the book. From the distance of early middle age--he is now near the age of his father at time of the flight--the author filters his impressive tale through a prism of sympathy for the passionate, damaged man who taught his sons to fly and whose own barnstorming yarns inspired their unusual feat. Says the author, who like his brother sought a way to make a place for himself beyond the shadow of Buck Sr., ""The simple audacity of our trip, our complete naivetâ and nonchalance, astounds me still."" This enchanting story of youthful accomplishment, which includes masterly insider descriptions of flight, should reach a broad audience.

Pub Date: June 13, 1997

ISBN: 0786883154

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1997