For Holiday Air Travelers

Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot

By Mark Vanhoenacker

Regardless of airline companies’ best efforts to strip the excitement, joy, and pleasure from flying, it remains for many travelers, including us, a transcendent experience. And it’s this aspect of flight that airline pilot Vanhoenacker captures skillfully and eloquently in his lyrical ode to traversing the globe. As his imagination soars, you’ll find yours winging in close behind his. As an example, here’s a quote from a later chapter, “Encounters,” where he muses on the gratifications of piloting, reaching back into his youth for an experience that may mirror your own, even if you never had a paper route:

“There is another gratification I occasionally found in the paper route I had as a teenager. There were many snowy subzero mornings when I would not have put it in such auspicious terms, but I occasionally felt a small, inverted pride in unrecognition, in working while the rest of the world slept; in knowing that most people would only think of me if I were late or absent. I imagine that power-plant workers, or snowplow drivers, know the same quite pride of starting early, or finishing late, so that the rest of the world may work.”

Yes, Vanhoenacker writes of the mechanics of flight, of the attributes of an airplane, of the world from the sky, of the sky itself, and of why he became a pilot after beginning different careers earlier. But his is not so much a book about the physical aspects of flight as it is the spiritual. If you approach the book with that thought in mind, you’ll find much to appreciate between its covers. w/c

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