Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need To Know About Air Travel

Patrick Smith, Author
Patrick Smith. Sourcebooks, $14.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-4022-8091-7
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If you’re a white-knuckle flyer, this informative, comprehensive book on air travel is for you. Smith, an airplane pilot and travel writer, takes the mystery out of commercial aviation by giving the reader the basic elements of flight, explaining how these large planes stay airborne; the dangers of takeoffs and landings; and the dreaded presence of wind shear and turbulence. Casual in tone though detailed, Smith’s narrative does not skirt the safety issues of lightning and bird strikes on the aircraft, and one of the most dangerous problems— ice build-up. Whether he’s writing about the confined legroom of the “puddle jumper regional jets” or the rigid training of pilots, he never gets caught in industry jargon or talking down to the reader. The regular air passenger will be intrigued by his expert take on the hazards of the modern airport, with overbooking, delays, and lapses in customer service, while the nervy one might gain a measure of relief—or not. Along with the inside scoop on collisions, crashes, and terrorism in air history, Smith paints an unflinching portrait of modern air travel with several fresh and unexpected insights. (May)
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