Inside the Sky by William Langewiesche
A Meditation on Flight

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Synopsis

William Langewiesche's life has been deeply intertwined with the idea and act of flying.  Fifty years ago his father, a test pilot, wrote Stick and Rudder, a text still considered by many to be the bible of aerial navigation.  Langewiesche himself learned to fly while still a child.  Now he shares his pilot's-eye view of flight with those of us who take flight for granted--exploring the inner world of a sky that remains as exotic and revealing as the most foreign destination.

Langewiesche tells us how flight happens--what the pilot sees, thinks, and feels.  His description is not merely about speed and conquest.  It takes the form of a deliberate climb, leading at low altitude first over a new view of a home, and then higher, into the solitude of the cockpit, through violent storms and ocean nights, and on to unexpected places in the mind.
In Langewiesche's hands it becomes clear, at the close of this first century of flight, how profoundly our vision has been altered by our liberation from the ground.  And we understand how, when we look around, we may find ourselves reflected in the grace and turbulence of a human sky.
 

About William Langewiesche

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William Langewiesche is a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly.  A professional pilot for many years, he is the author of Cutting for Sign and Sahara Unveiled (both available from Vintage Books). He lives in California.
 
Published May 19, 1998 by Pantheon. 288 pages
Genres: Travel, Action & Adventure, Professional & Technical, History. Non-fiction

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—On a Bombay Night— and “Valujet” consider, in turn, the 1978 crash due to pilot error of an Air India 747 shortly after takeoff from Bombay airport and the 1996 Valujet accident in the Florida Everglades, blamed on a new scourge called a “systems error.” (In the Valujet crash, unused oxygen cani...

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A familiar and curious effect of flight, in which passengers and pilots lose their senses of gravity and direction, is explored in its most tragic form, as in the case of a 1978 Air India flight from Bombay to Dubai, whose pilot, a 22-year veteran, flew ""a perfectly good airplane into the water....

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