A poetic and nuanced exploration of the human experience of flight that reminds us of the full imaginative weight of our most ordinary journeys and reawakens our capacity to be amazed.
The twenty-first century has relegated airplane flight a once remarkable feat of human ingenuity to the realm of the mundane. Mark Vanhoenacker, a 747 pilot who left academia and a career in the business world to pursue his childhood dream of flight, asks us to reimagine what we both as pilots and as passengers are actually doing when we enter the world between departure and discovery. In a seamless fusion of history, politics, geography, meteorology, ecology, family, and physics, Vanhoenacker vaults across geographical and cultural boundaries; above mountains, oceans, and deserts; through snow, wind, and rain, renewing a simultaneously humbling and almost superhuman activity that affords us unparalleled perspectives on the planet we inhabit and the communities we form.”
In this intimate, often illuminating piece, “Slate” columnist Vanhoenacker takes readers on a personal tour of his world as an airline pilot….Vanhoenacker conveys that sense of freedom, wanderlust, and traversing a large world made small by travel, while at the same time demystifying the inside of the cockpit and humanizing the all-powerful pilots within….Packed with eloquent insight into a high-flying world.
Geoff Dyer, “The Guardian”