Black Watch: The Men Who Fly America's Secret Spy Planes

Ernest K. Gann, Author Random House (NY) $18.95 (210p) ISBN 978-0-394-57507-0
Gann ( The Aviator ; The High and the Mighty ) here looks at the 99th Squadron of the U.S. Air Force, responsible for flying the U-2 and SR-71 high-altitude reconnaissance planes. After describing the surprisingly fragile crafts, he concentrates on the men who fly them, dedicated, highly skilled and supremely confident; he sketches several memorable portraits, especially of the higher-ranking officers. But the best is reserved for last as Gann follows Cecil Hopper through his training to become a U-2 pilot: his initial interview in which he demonstrates a mix of self-esteem and diffidence, his inaugural solo in the spy plane, his first mission in the Far East in which he comes dangerously close to disaster. The book is stirring and suspenseful. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
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