- Paperback: 308 pages
- Publisher: iUniverse (November 23, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1440158703
- ISBN-13: 978-1440158704
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #846,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Lonely Sky: The Personal Story of America's Pioneering Experimental Test Pilot Paperback – November 23, 2009
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From the Inside Flap
THE LONELY SKY
by William Bridgeman and Jacqueling Hazard
Illustrated with Photographs
This is the powerful and often thrilling story of a man who daily enters that lonely region beyond the speed of sound. A narrative of needle-nosed ships flying at blistering speeds, it is also the moving testament of a man risking his life to push back the frontiers of scientific knowledge. Like St.-Exupéry, Bridgeman is capable of describing the vastness and beauty of the skies. But as America's foremost experimental test pilot, he is constantly aware of the multitude of technical information which he is called upon to use at any given instant.
After the war, Bill Bridgeman left the Navy a restless man. Seeking action, he joined Douglas Aircraft as an engineering test pilot. Soon he was asked to take over the final stages of the Skyrocket testing program. The Skyrocket, a javelin-shaped experimental ship, was a challenge to Bridgeman. The story of his day-by-day life with the plane is the substance of THE LONELY SKY.
About the Author
The co-author of The Lonely Sky, Miss Hazard lives and works in Malibu, California. Miss Hazard is an experienced reporter and although she has never flown, she has an extraordinary penchant for describing the technical aspects, and the sensations, of test flights in smooth, compelling prose.
Top customer reviews
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The subject of the book and his personal journey from WW2 pilot to his unusual and pioneering move into test piloting the most advanced and fastest aircraft in the world is interesting enough, but the writers style and almost spiritual insight into the outward bravery and innermost doubts, let alone outright fear he experiences are masterful and unparalleled.
This is not just another book about flight testing in a time of incredible advances it is one of the best written books I have read
High-performance airplanes are especially good at throwing pilots into unexpected situations literally in a heartbeat. Anyone not ready to cope is the first to arrive at the crash-site. Bill Bridgeman was an experienced Navy pilot who'd worked into engineering test-flight after World War Two, and took up the challenges of supersonic flight with the US Navy's Douglas Skyrocket. He vividly recounts his first ride in a Lockheed F-80 jet fighter---and how a moment's exuberance put him in an out-of-control dive with sonic shock waves violently hammering at the airframe.
He learned quickly, and of necessity, how to stay alive in this completely new realm. His portraits of people are just as rich as his edgy account of flying a touchy supersonic blowtorch full of explosive propellants. Chuck Yeager was Bill's frequent 'chase' pilot, and quickly became a valued companion even though they only occasionally met on the ground. He also encountered aviatrix and bar-owner 'Poncho' Barnes, whose Happy Bottom Riding Club gave flight crews a needed place to blow off steam.
In the wake of the Skyrocket's successes, Bridgeman encountered the odd, empty sensation of meeting an extraordinary goal and trying to determine where to go from there. In his case, it was flying with the Douglas X-3 program. Eventually, it would be to write this book. This edition features some typographical problems, but they don't seriously detract from the work's essential excellence. Highly recommended.
The writing flows masterly, both over paragarphs and pages.
There is nothing of the old-fashioned "writing-for-both-genders" (i.e. the perceived American housewife in the fithies), nor any cramped attempts to write a broader, wider story about the pilots personal voyage on a deeper level... You don't need to sit through hundred pages about the pilot's family life. (As in Always Another Dawn, or the author's endless attempts to pester the pilot's wife with an interview X-15 Diary: The Story of America's First Space Ship.)
And the history aspect: Just snuggled in between the stories of X-1 and X-15, when you counted the Mach numbers as 0.91, 0.92, 0.93 the sound barrier still was something, and Chuck Yeager came up to fly chase for you. --- Plus some lesser known WWII stuff.
And as opposed to the 6 inch wide 2009 version: This older 4.2 inch wide version easily goes into a full backpack, down in a pocket, and is flawlessly read held in one hand.
No blood, guts and glory, just the steady professional slog working at the edge of the then known universe.
I have spent my working life in aviation routinely trundling around at the altitude and speeds only dreamt of by these guys.
Bridgeman puts this in its proper perspective. Oh that we could have shared a coffee and chat.