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Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers, and Reflections Paperback – May 7, 2013
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"Brilliant...A book to be savored and passed to friends."
-- William Langewiesche, Vanity Fair
“Nobody covers the airline experience like Patrick Smith. He brings balance and clarity to a subject all too often over-hyped. And, he's a damned good writer.”
-- Clive Irving, Conde Nast Traveler
“I wish I could fold up Patrick Smith and put him in my suitcase. He seems to know everything worth knowing about flying.”
-- Stephen Dubner, coauthor of Freakonomics
“Patrick Smith is extraordinarily knowledgeable about modern aviation, and communicates beautifully in English, not in pilot-ese. Th ideal seatmate, companion, writer and explainer.”
-- Alex Beam, Boston Globe
“A brilliant writer, Patrick Smith provides a laugh-a-page tour of a misunderstood industry -- a journey into the world of aviation, stripped of the mumbo-jumbo and filled with humor and insight.”
-- Christine Negroni, aviation correspondent and author of Flying Lessons
"Patrick Smith doesn’t just know everything about air travel, he possesses a rare knack for explaining it in lucid and witty prose."
-- Barbara Peterson, Condé Nast Traveler
“Patrick Smith is one of the best writers around, period, which certainly makes him by far the best writer ever to have earned a commercial pilot's license. A soaring accomplishment, indispensable for anyone who travels by air, which means everyone.
-- James Kaplan
-- Rudy Maxa
“Patrick Smith manages to demystify the experience and remind us of the magic of aviation. Also he has a great sense of humor – which is critical when you are wedged into seat 14D on a regional jet.”
-- Chris Bohjalian
“Brilliantly down to earth and reassuring”
-- Cath Urquhart, The Times (London)
"What a pleasure it is reading Patrick Smith's surprisingly elegant explanations and commentary. The world needs somebody writing E.B. White simple and sensible about a topic everyone has a question about."
-- Berke Breathed
“Patrick Smith doesn’t just know everything about air travel, he possesses a rare knack for explaining it in lucid and witty prose.”
-- Barbara Peterson,
Condé Nast Travele"Cockpit Confidential is the document that belongs in the seat-back pocket in front of you."
-- David Pogue, New York Times correspondent and PBS television host
About the Author
Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel writer, and the host of www.askthepilot.com. He has visited more than seventy countries and always asks for a window seat. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.
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Top Customer Reviews
Patrick Smith - the name "Smith" is a nom-de-plume - is an airline pilot and blogger, who operates out of Boston. He used to blog for SALON magazine but I'm not sure he still writes for them. In any case, he has his own website, askthepilot.com, and this new book. His previous one, "Ask the Pilot: Everything You Need to Know About Flying", was published in 2004. Smith has been been a pilot and in love with all forms of air travel since, as a child living in Boston, he'd sit on the Revere beach and watch in awe as planes landed at nearby Logan Airport. He grew up to make a living as first a pilot for a commuter carrier - flying up and down the Atlantic seaboard and all around New England - and then he "graduated" to flying cargo jets for a freight airline. Finally, he's now flying for an international passenger airline. (I think it might be Delta, from what I've been able to glean from his writing. Or, if not, American.) He has been subjected to layoffs during his career and is quite honest about how he - and other pilots - struggle with the on-going airline politics and economic ups-and-down that make a pilot's career somewhat haphazard.
Okay, Patrick Smith and I are airline fanatics. And, probably so are most people reading this review. Most of us fly a lot - Smith is lucky that he gets paid to do so - and we like to see new places. We're also fascinated by the arcane of the airline industry - old tickets from the 1940's and clips from newsreels of passengers boarding a plane in the 1950's outfitted in suits and ties and hats. We know what local airlines were swallowed up by what larger airlines, and we know airport codes. Patrick Smith is talking to US in his book. We "get" him, and he "gets" us.
His new book talks about his own, long love of flying. He writes about how difficult it is to "catch on" in the airline industry, and how that industry has weathered crashes - both physical and economic - and the changing requirements of the TSA. Smith doesn't like the TSA - who does? - and is not shy in giving some recommendations which might not please the politically-correct among us. Looking at the September 11th terrorist attacks in particular, he talks about how the TSA and other government groups reacted by imposing the wrong "rules" in the hopes of making airplane travel "safer". "Safer" than what? Smith recounts the many terror attacks and hijackings of airplanes and airports in the 1970's and 1980's that we've seem to have forgotten. Is the taking away of a butter knife from the flight bag of pilot Patrick Smith by over-zealous TSA officials going to make the plane and the passengers Smith is going to fly be any "safer"? Hell, no. And what about those stupid restrictions on 4oz of toothpaste and mouthwash? Good lord, it's half the battle of flying today just getting through TSA security.
Author/pilot Patrick Smith covers Sept 11th and many other subjects in his new book. It's not a book most readers will be particularly interested in, but for those of us who read his blog, look-in-awe at his YouTube videos of night-landings at JFK taken from the cockpit, and enjoy flying and the history of flying, this book's for us.
***** I have a huge fear of flying....yes, I have taken over 20 flights before, but 5 of them had slight turbulence and 2 had moderate to almost severe turbulence. This scared me so much that I have not been on a plane in the last couple of years!
Since I read this book during stressful circumstances, I did find this book helpful. It is overall a very good book that was written by an airline pilot. What I really like about this book is the fact that it is in Question and Answer form. And also that is is in a conversational manner. I felt like I was sitting across the table from Patrick Smith asking him questions.
There were many of my questions answered in the book...about lightening'so effects on a plane, wind shear, take-offs and landings and more!
The reason that I rate this book 4 stars is because I would have liked to see more details, especially about flying in bad weather, while this was covered, it could have used more details.
So 4 stars it is. Good read!
Bottom line: The book was easy to follow and had something for everyone.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more
about aviation and flying as a passenger.Read more
Wish it were more of a pocket book for flying well
Goes off topic sometimes...Read more