In a crisp, jaunty voice Capt. Ashwood, a commercial pilot, explains both the technical and social side of air travel: everything from airplane design to the instrument panels, backup systems, engines, hydraulic and braking systems, pressurization, temperature control, ground control and landing gear. Underlying everything is Ashwood's repeated reassurance that safety precautions are built into every aspect of flight. It should but probably won't calm those who feel in the pit of their stomach that if God had meant us to fly he'd have given us wings. The social side of flying or ""planesmanship"" covers such matters as the little plastic baggie in the seat in front of you, the ""psychic obstacle course"" at the airport, customs, dysrhythmia or jet lag, and some cautionary advice on so-called ""duty free"" airport shopping. Much of this is more candid than you'd expect, all of it is practical. Those who already enjoy flying don't really need the book; those who find it a harrowing experience will probably chalk it up as airline propaganda and reach for an extra martini before boarding.