Flight of the Gin Fizz: Midlife at 4,500 Feet

Henry Kisor, Author Basic Books $25 (371p) ISBN 978-0-465-02425-4
Not the least of Kisor's accomplishments is his ability to describe the instrumentation of an airplane with such zest that even a reader who doesn't know a Piper Cub from a jet can share his pleasure. In addition, although deaf since childhood, in his 50s and feeling stodgy, he set himself to become a pilot--a skill ordinarily dependent on radio communication with the ground. By chance, Kisor, the book editor of the Chicago Sun-Times and author of Zephyr: Tracking a Dream Across America, stumbled on a biography of Cal Rodgers, a little-known aviation pioneer who, in 1911, was the first to fly coast to coast, in a Wright brothers plane dubbed the Vin Fizz. Intrigued to learn that Rodgers was hard of hearing, though not as deaf as himself, Kisor, with a pilot's license and the elated owner of a rebuilt 30-year-old Cessna 150, which he gaily named the Gin Fizz, set out to retrace Rodgers's flight, one of only three private pilots to do so in 84 years. Being deaf, he discovered, was not a deterrent, since light planes require no radio communication in good weather. Kisor's adventures are exciting; his exuberance over the wonderful gizmos he used to help himself, his pride in his plane, his joys in accomplishment and his pleasures in flying and in the community of sports fliers he encountered are all extraordinarily contagious. Both sports fliers and armchair travelers will enjoy this tale. Author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/1997
Release date: 08/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-465-02426-1
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