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Squawk 7700 Perfect Paperback – August 27, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


My personal experiences as an airline pilot and as acting first officer aboard US Airways Flight 1549 that ditched into the Hudson River, I recommend Squawk 7700 for anyone interested in an aviation career, and mandatory reading for those who fly on our national airline system. --Jeff Skiles, First Officer US Airways Flight 1549

I have just finished reading your book. I read it cover to cover in two days! Thanks for an exciting and informative story! I am impressed by the openness with which you describe your personal story....anyway, thanks again for the book that was missing, and the best of luck to you. I will spread the word of your book among my aviation friends. --Tom P. - Commercial Pilot, Danderyd, Sweden

An honest, inside look at the aviation industry from someone who lived it. --A.S. - Former regional airline captain

From the Author

There is much more to a career in the aviation industry than just flying airplanes. Some of the pitfalls, shortcuts, and life stresses I experienced are contained in this memoir. These events offer a unique perspective for those interested in aviation's day-to-day operations. One of the intents of sharing these events is to reach youngsters before they make a significant sacrifice to the aviation industry. Youngsters will receive a frank presentation of what an aviation career is about after reading my experiences. They will learn facts about a pilot's career; facts that I didn't receive before I made a commitment to the industry. These events shed light on the unglamorous side of a pilot's career. If I had a chance to read these events before making a commitment to the industry, I may have chosen a much different path in aviation than what I reflect upon now.

What I learned about life during 10 years as a pilot is more than what some people learn in a lifetime. I had very intense emotions and vivid flashbacks while recalling, not all, but some of the experiences that helped compile this autobiography. This memoir might surprise those currently active in the industry because of what it reveals. Airline passengers curious about flight crew lifestyles and the daily stresses they face will find this story fascinating. I offer a glimpse from behind-the-scenes in the aviation industry and tell it from the inside looking out.

I describe the experience of flying poorly maintained equipment in horrendous weather conditions, all while earning food-stamp qualifying wages to reach a personal goal of flying for the major airlines. I share the emotions of not seeing a spouse or family for six months because of demanding schedules, frequent moves, and company control. I tell of the events leading up to the tragic loss of a co-worker because of an arrogant boss and describe day-to-day cost cutting measures taken by many aviation companies to help make money in an industry with very narrow profit margins. These shortcuts are rarely spoken of, and many pilots fail to acknowledge these business practices for fear of losing their flying careers permanently. I unveil the thoughts of flight crew members moments before they board a flight and the focus that is required to get the job done safely.

This book is dedicated to friends and family. A full comprehension of what I experienced as a career pilot is difficult to explain in a single novel; the stories presented here offer a view of the hardships and joyful moments of pursing a childhood goal of becoming a career airline pilot. Upon completion, readers should understand how I have achieved happiness in life by letting go of a childhood dream. After my experiences in the aviation industry, people will have a better understanding of who I am, where I am headed, and why.
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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 379 pages
  • Publisher: Peter M Buffington; 2 edition (August 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971208417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971208414
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,031,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eric Coblin on January 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This book was a pleasure for me to read. Pete Buffington was a childhood friend of mine and I expected to enjoy the book just relating back his experiences and anecdotes to my memories.

In fact, there was much more than that to enjoy. Not being a pilot, the book gave me an introduction to the regional airline industry that was both educational and interesting.

I was also pleasantly surprised with the ability of his writing to bring me into the moment and experience the emotions that he experienced. Anger, fear and frustration filled me as I read Pete's account of his first day finally flying for the regional airline and through the following week. I truly felt the relief that came with the decision to make flying a hobby instead of a career.

Though the book will obviously be really valuable to people in aviation or for those considering it as a career, I'm strongly recommending it to those who haven't had an interest in aviation or aviation literature in the past. It will be an exciting and interesting read!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Seldom do I come across a book that I must read in one sitting (lying, standing) but this one kept me glued from first page to last. Like the author, I had a love of flying from an early age and worked as he did diligently toward a career in aviation. Unfortunately, (I thought) I chose another career which was quite successful, but I always wondered what it would have been like if I had taken the road of my early dreams.
Now, my mind can rest. The trials, the privations, the sacrifices that young men and women face as they strive to rack up those flying hours necessary for a chance at that left seat in an airliner are hard to imagine, unless you read this book. Even if you never attain or even want a pilot's license - if you are just a passenger on a regional airline you should know that the person in the Flight Officer's seat is making less money than the man who picks up your garbage and likely has had only 6 hours sleep in the last two days.
This book is a must read for anyone from the young student pilot to the business person who regularly flies the airlines. As the author points out so well, the airline industry and the FAA care little about your safety. The airline will cut any corner, break any rule to make a buck. And the FAA is so lax in their supervision the people who run the aviation business literally get away with murder. Congratulations to the author for finally realizing that his pursuit of an aviation career was not nearly as important as the love of family and a more realistic life.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book was such a fascinating read, I couldn't put it down. As a private pilot, I often imagined the possibility of changing careers to become a professional pilot. Having read this book, I now know much more about the aviation industry from the perspective of someone who lived it. So many things he went through were just remarkable and unexpected for a system tasked with safeguarding the lives of millions every year. Pilots are talented, intellligent, hard working, love flying with a passion, and can do great things under extremely difficult conditions. Where else are you going to find such quality talent in the business world? But no telling how many potential "Sully" Sullenbergers and Jeff Skiles will not be in the cockpit tomorrow because they got burned out and left under such working conditions.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
I have owned the first edition of this book for several years and was excited to see the 2nd edition come out recently. As an aviation enthusiast I read it with great interest. But like all who have read or will read Squawk 7700, Pete's story really opens your eyes to the fact that a career in aviation isn't always the glamorous lifestyle the general public might think it is. I think this book brings awareness to the fact that some things in the industry are in desperate need of attention.

In the words of Jeff Skiles, this book is a must read for anyone who flies or is considering a career in aviation.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
OMG Pete Buffington tells it like it really is. Having been part of the commerical airline industry ( I worked directly at an airport), knowing pilots and in-flight crew members personally, this book tells of their lives. Nothing is as glamorous as it seems, esp in the airline industry. Pilots and in-flight crew are overworked, exhausted and underpaid, not eating properly and staying in third rate hotels (by the way they MUST pay for upfront, then get re-imbursed), all this on some of the lowest salaries imaginable and the flying public thinks this is a joke. They think that all pilots make hugh salaries, that flight attendants, just have this job so they can travel and have a good time. A current TV show glamourizes the job, but its nothing like it shows, esp since 9/11. I was never so "broke" as I was working for an airline, even though I worked anywhere from 60-80 hours a week, no overtime was paid. They keep their employees on a part-time basis with a guarantee of 30 hrs a week, you can work more if you want to, but at straight time. Well after paying for insurance, 401K, uniforms and other deductions I barely cleared 400 a week for my glamourous job, then had to deal with some of the rudest customers ever. I was attacked, both verbally and physically on numerous occasions. One time after a hugh snow storm, I was at the airport working for 36 straight hours, non-stop, dealing with over 1000 bags that had missed flights, doing the paperwork, getting the bags delivered to the customers, and what did I get? Not even a thank you from the station manager! The flying public have no conception of the pressure a Capt has knowing that he has 150+ souls onboard his aircraft.Read more ›
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