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Squawk 7700 [Perfect Paperback]

Peter M Buffington , Melanie Frey , Dana Beck , Mary Buffington , Patricia Hatch
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 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.

From the Inside Flap

Squawk 7700 is a timely, eye opening, must read aviation autobiography. The author, Pete Buffington, tells us of the not so glamorous side of aviation and what it takes to become an airline pilot. Growing up in the Midwest and learning to fly at a countryside Iowa airport, Buffington describes the sacrifices, focus, and emotions of being a young aviator. After several grueling years working as a flying instructor and flying airfreight, Buffington ends up flying for a regional airline after being sent to San Juan, Puerto Rico as a flight crew base. Immediately Buffington discovers the challenges of the regional airline industry and provides a descriptive, harrowing experience from inside the cockpit of an ATR42 as a First Officer.

Buffington returns to the Midwest to rediscover his love of aviation as a pilot. His life story brings him full-circle to discover deeper meaning to life while exposing the aviation industry from the inside. His personal experiences provide insight to a deeper understanding of why recent accidents like Colgan Air Flight 3407 and Comair Flight 5191 can occur.

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

From the Back Cover

On February 12, 2009, at 10:17 p.m. EST a Bombardier DHC8-402 Q400 operating as Colgan Air Flight 3407 stalled less than a mile northeast of the Outer Marker while on an ILS approach at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and crashed into a house. A total of 50 people were killed, including the two pilots, two flight attendants, 45 passengers, and one person in the house.

On the morning of August 27, 2006, Comair Flight 191, a Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet 100ER, overran the end of the runway before it could become airborne at the Blue Grass Airport near Lexington, Kentucky. The aircraft was assigned to use Runway 22 for the takeoff, but used a shorter Runway 26 instead, and crashed just past the end of the runway, killing all 47 passengers and two of the three crew members - the flight's first officer was the only survivor.

Squawk 7700 is a first-hand account of author Peter Buffington's experiences as a commercial airline pilot and the journey he took to reach his childhood dream. Buckle your seatbelt and prepare for an eye-opening, turbulent ride into the world of aviation from the pilot's seat. From student pilot at age 15, to flight instructor, to nighttime cargo pilot, and finally as first officer aboard the ATR 72 turboprop airliners island hopping the Caribbean, Squawk 7700 is a captivating aviation adventure.

About the Author

Peter Buffington, author, has been a licensed commercial pilot for 15 years. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Aeronautical Sciences from the University of North Dakota and is currently employed as a Software Quality Analyst in the Midwest. He flies for pleasure outside of work. Peter has logged more than 2500 hours total flying time in countless aircraft makes and models. Peter began writing the first edition of Squawk 7700 in October of 2000, completion was in May of 2001. The first edition was published by Morris Publishing in July 2001. Two months after publishing the first edition, the events of 9-11-2001 unfolded forever changing the airline industry. Peter's motivation in publishing his personal story was his desire to see change in the regional airline industry. The regional airline's hiring practices, corner-cutting, and Pay-For-Training were pushing the moral and ethical envelope. Peter knew by publishing his story many aspects of the the airlines daily operations would be exposed. Nearly 10 years passed since publication of the first edition. Two recent air disasters motivated Peter to publish a second edition of Squawk 7700. The crashes of Comair Flight 5191 in Lexington, Kentucky and Colgan Air 3407 in Buffalo New York. Shortly after the US Airways Flight 1549 incident in New York, Peter and Jeff Skiles began working together to see that changes were implemented in the way regional airlines hired pilots, and to expose the daily lifestyle of a regional airline pilot. Jeff Skiles was called to testify before congress on numerous occasions in 2009. Jeff explained why change was urgently needed in the regional airline industry. On July 30th, 2010, the U.S. House and Senate Passed the FAA Safety Bill setting forth new pilot hiring minimums and training requirements. On August 1st, 2010 the POTUS signed the FAA Safety Bill HR 5900. On September 1st, 2010, Squawk 7700 became available in its printed edition.
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