Flight of Passage

Flight of Passage

Book - 1997
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Baker & Taylor
The author recounts how he and his brother, then teenagers, piloted a plane across the U.S., and how the landmark flight drew them closer to each other and to their father, a stunt flyer

Blackwell North Amer
In the Summer of 1966, Rinker and Kernahan Buck - two teenaged schoolboys from New Jersey - bought a dilapidated Piper Cub airplane for $300, rebuilt it, and piloted it on a record breaking flight across America - navigating all the way to California without a radio, because they couldn't afford one. Their trip retraced a mythical route flown by their father, Tom Buck, a brash, colorful ex-barnstormer who had lost a leg in a tragic air crash before his sons were born - but who so loved the adventure of flight that he taught his boys to fly before they could drive.
The journey west, and the preparations for it, become a figurative and literal process of discovery; as the young men battle thunderstorms and wracking turbulence and encounter Arkansas rednecks, Texas cowboys, and the languid, romantic culture of smalltown cafes, cheap motels, and dusty landing strips of pre-Vietnam America. The brothers have a lot to resolve among themselves, too - as Kern, the meticulous, dedicated visionary; and Rinker, the rebellious second son, must finally come to understand and depend on each other in the complex way that only brothers can.
Most of all, Flight of Passage is a timeless story of fathers and sons. These two young men must separate from their difficult, quirky father - literally by putting a country's distance between them - but they do it on their father's terms: in an airplane. As he looks back from the perspective of now being a father himself, Rinker Buck's tale of two young men in search of themselves and their country becomes a book about the eternal enigma of family - of the distance and closeness of generations, of peace lost so that understanding can be gained - and it is explored with a storytelling power that is both brave and rare.

Baker
& Taylor

The author recounts how he and his brother, then teenagers, piloted a plane across the U.S., and how the landmark flight drew them closer to each other and to their father, a stunt flyer. 75,000 first printing. BOMC, QPB, & Reader's Digest Cond Bks.

Publisher: New York : Hyperion, c1997
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780786861002
0786861002
Branch Call Number: 629.1309 BUC
Characteristics: ix, 351 p. : ill. ; 25 cm

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hmcgivney
Jun 05, 2013

I loved this book, from the writing style that was no-nonsense and yet introspective, to the story and settings. It seems like a story that could have only happened in the 1960s, with the innocent, clean-cut, "Leave it to Beaver" mentality. And the juxtaposition of these times and attitudes with the boys' gutter talk was pretty great. Aside from the sheer adventure of two teens discovering the wide range of geography and people in the USA, I loved the relationship between the brothers. Kern seems quiet and geeky and naive, yet skilled and cool-headed and confident when piloting the Cub; and Rink was more outgoing and goofy and yet contemplative and great at things like navigation and calculating fuel use. Such complementary personalities and skills, but at odds and butting heads until they were out on their own and working together. Great story.

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