by Capt Eric Auxier
Ask any pilot how they started flying, and you will hear a love story. One much like mine.
From age five, I dreamed of a life in the cockpit. But what dream worth pursuing is not rife with pitfalls, dangers and challenges? Otherwise, the world would be filled with cowboys, ballerinas and astronauts.
While the aviation career isn’t for everybody, it always makes for a good tale. Life is an adventure; life in the sky, exponentially so. However, as an industry, we seem to be moving toward a future dominated more by automation and less by fundamental flying skills. Looking back, I feel especially blessed to have lived in a historical sweet spot—somewhere between too dangerous and too boring—where survival by one’s seat-of-the-pants and stick-and-rudder skills were more important than programming a flight computer, where flying the plane trumped managing the plane.
Just as the characters in my novel, The Last Bush Pilots, we seem to be nearing the end of an era of freedom and adventure in the sky. We are becoming the bear cubs orphaned and caged by the inexorable march of bureaucratic red tape we call Progress.
But, as seasoned Chief Pilot Dusty Tucker says to cheechacko (greenhorn) bush pilot DC in the novel, “The adventure’s still out there, son. You just gotta go find it.”
Well, found it, I have—in spades! From the first moment my feet left terra firma in a hang glider as a daring (make that foolish) teen, to my head-first dive into the wilds of the Alaska bush, from my extreme adventures in the Caribbean fighting off hurricanes to finally landing in the left seat of a major airline, I feel blessed to have lived more adventures than most. It’s both kept me young, and aged me beyond belief.
Many of the stories in this compilation can be found in one form or another on my blog at capnaux.com, NYCAviation.com or other publications such as Airways Magazine, Plane & Pilot, AOPA Pilot and the like, but have never been presented in one body of work. In addition, you will find articles never before published, stories behind the stories, and even several guest posts by fellow pilot-authors. Except where noted, every story in this work is true, and represents what is, for me, a literal lifetime of adventures in the sky.
The book is loosely arranged by theme; read it cover to cover, or jump around to whatever tale strikes your fancy.
Whether you are a seasoned warrior of the sky, fledgeling pilot about to embark on your own lifetime of adventures, or a “chairborne” avgeek, I invite you to sit back, relax (well, as best you can, some of these stories are pretty hairy) and enjoy the ride!
Captain Auxier’s book is available now as an e-book. The link is here: http://goo.gl/FX9n3E
Do you have questions for Cap’n Aux? Leave them as a comment and we will get them answered right away!