Punching Out: Stories of High-Speed Ejections

James Cross. St. Martin's Griffin, $14.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-38315-2
Compiled by Air Force veteran and broadcast journalist Cross, and with a rousing foreword by Voyager Commander and three-time ejectee Dick Rhutan ("Sometimes, gravity doesn't work."), this adrenalin-fueled anthology of more than 50 first-hand accounts of high-speed ejections told from the perspective of the surviving test pilots, fighter pilots, air show fliers, and war veterans—both before and after the invention of ejection seats—is fascinating and shocking. Relayed with book-gripping tension and surprising detail, each near-death experience is more terrifying than the last, from LT. Sean Brennan's fight for life after he's seriously burned in a two-man bail out; to CDR. Wynn Foster's frenzied attempts to save a dying aircraft after his right arm is severed by a 57mm shell tearing through his cockpit in Vietnam; to LT. Keith Gallagher's unintentional daredevil stunt—straddling a still-airborne A-6 during a botched routine exercise; to Gen. Chuck Yeager's infamous "punchout" after his aircraft—the first fighter to break the sound barrier in a climb—freefalls into an irrevocable tailspin. Military and aviation buffs will relish the post-op analysis, and helpful translations of military jargon like "IROK" help make this accessible for novices. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4299-6183-7
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