23 May 2013

50 Tales Of Flight - Owen Zupp

A very rare departure from WW2 for ABR to close out the week.  With all of my writing on here I try to express my enthusiasm for aviation as a whole.  This does it a lot better than I ever will.

I’ve never been employed in aviation. I’ve volunteered in it and I’ve certainly read about it, watched it and loved it. I am not a pilot and, despite grandiose plans at various times in my life, probably never will be. In all honesty I am very happy with my relationship with aviation. There is not much hands-on flying experience I can relate to (there’s enough there to be dangerous!) but, really, aviation is not just about flying (what else could a non-pilot say?). This is perhaps a funny thing to write but flying is aviation’s outcome – it’s public face if you will. Admittedly, it is the whole point of it all but the stories, the sacrifice, the innovation and the reflection behind every flight are the unseen, often unheard, foundations.

Understandably, pilots will understand this better than anyone. They literally live aviation and actively contribute to its heritage and future. Their viewpoint adds a richness often overlooked. Land-based writers can draw on limited experiences in ‘live’ cockpits and lay said experiences over those they write about to at least begin to understand. A pilot who picks up a pen can put themselves in the cockpit or, better still, inside the head of the fellow pilot in question . They can feel the aircraft in the seat of their pants and, if they can write well enough, can convey that experience with authority.

Aviation though, as alluded to above, is not a realm limited to pilots. Hang around it long enough and it gets under your skin. Despite the cold, hard business of the airlines and the ruthless efficiency of the modern warplane, there will always be romance in aviation. It touches the lives of everyone whether or not it is realised or appreciated. It has made every corner of the globe accessible and been the cornerstone for our greatest feat of engineering, adventure and endeavour. Anyone who steps into this world and decides to stay connected will certainly look at things from another plane.

One such person is Owen Zupp and he is neck deep in it. This experienced airline pilot has found another calling in his remarkable life – aviation writer. This is not a new revelation as he has been actively writing for at least the past decade. He brings a lifetime and a strong family background in aviation to the ‘profession’. These qualifications have resulted in a bottomless treasure chest of aviation stories, experiences and revelations to draw upon and that is how we have Owen’s latest effort, 50 Tales Of Flight, which is also his first foray into the e-book market.

Many of the tales featured in 50’ first appeared on Owen’s blog and were often inspired by the day’s events. Owen reflects on an aviation life as he’s driving home, waiting in an airport lounge, waking in yet another hotel in yet another city, or flying the latest sector. Pen is put to paper, fingers applied to keys and a story spills out. Whether it is recounting the most recent flight, remembering a museum visit, recalling a fascinating person or flying adventure or sharing a personal memory or moment in aviation history, each of the 50 tales has an immediacy, a freshness, to it and each is not only an intimate look at aviation but a window into an aviator’s soul. Not all of the tales are exciting or humourous – some were clearly painful, but liberating, to write – and a good number of them do not contain flying at all. All of them, however, simply exude aviation.

Aviation touches all of our lives and the perfect example of this is 50 Tales Of Flight. Anyone can enjoy this book and come away with a new or deeper appreciation of aviating and life in general. Owen claims 50 Tales is not autobiographical but, really, it is. His life, much of it laid out in this e-book, is proof of everything aviation has to offer – what it can give but also what it can take. The depth of aviation as an industry, as a defining interest, is such that being a pilot, while perhaps the most enlightened of ‘participants’, is not a pre-requisite for a passionate understanding. Never have I seen this better illustrated than in 50 Tales Of Flight.

1 comment:

  1. What a thoughtful piece, Andy. We learn much about you here. I have read 50 Tales and you are spot on in your assessment of it. Another great review.