I was doing a lot of business travel for a while, which was great for accumulating miles, but terrible for someone with a nearly debilitating fear of flying. Then I read an essay in the New York Times, written by a pilot, which did such a brilliant job romanticizing flying that I immediately felt more calm about the prospect of flying. When I discovered this article was something of a promotion for an upcoming book, I immediately preordered the book. I’ve never preordered anything before, but this article gave me so much hope that the book might help cure me. I was not disappointed.
Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot, by Mark Vanhoenacker, is everything I’d hoped and dreamed it would be, and according to my Kindle app I’m still only about 25% through the book. I started it while sitting on the plane, waiting to take, and just reading his poetic description of planes and flight immediately put me at ease, and I had one of the calmest flights I’d had in years. Since I’m not doing as much business travel, I haven’t gotten farther with the book, but honestly, I paid full price, and, having only read the first quarter, I totally feel like I got my money’s worth.
With or without a fear of flying, I think this book would be enjoyable. It takes you back to childhood when flying was something amazing and awe-inspiring. It takes some of the edge off of the tortures of being crammed into coach, and it makes first-class flying a romantic experience straight out of the movies. Maybe the book gets boring or has a weak ending, but I don’t care. What I’ve read so far makes it worth ever cent.