Fate Is the Hunter: A Pilot's Memoir
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Ernest K. Gann’s classic memoir is an up-close and thrilling account of the treacherous early days of commercial aviation. In his inimitable style, Gann brings you right into the cockpit, recounting both the triumphs and terrors of pilots who flew when flying was anything but routine.
give their improvements sufficient practical testing. And those sometimes can become the curse of the regular-line pilot who rediscovers, to his distress, that slide-rule theory does not always prove itself in day after day action. Not long after my romance with C-54's began, it was nearly terminated. We were bound for Scotiand with a full load of cargo. We took off from LaGuardia Field on a sparkling morning and were in every way easy and content with our lot I found it a morning to be
moment he thoughtfully works the wobble pump at the side of his seat to guarantee free flow of the precious fluid. After several strokes, when it is obvious the fuel fth-6 81 system is functioning properly, he stops pumping and again retires within himself. I cannot account for his strange preoccupation and believe it must be a personal habit rather than due to any demands of our flight. I spend some five or ten minutes at my paper-work. There are baggage and mail forms, fuel, loading, and
Good night." There are certain mornings when the jungle sky seems mainly inhabited by mischievous and weak-kidneyed giants. Shaking a fist at the sky only appears to aggravate this condition, which in the vicinity of Belem, normally continues until after dawn is well established. Because of the lurking cumulo-nimbus the actual sunrise is always riotously spectacular, and then all that has been poured upon the earth begins to steam. Thus Gillette and I are thoroughly soaked by the time we are
fiord. I slowed our speed to one hundred and twenty which might not be exactly creeping, but would at least allow us a few extra seconds to avoid any further surprises. We continued through the mist holding a hundred feet above the sea. Summers yelled that he had contacted Bluie-West-One fth-ii l6l and we set our altimeters to correspond with their reading. He also said the weather at the field itself was overcast at three hundred feet and the visibility better than two miles. Our informants
of our own positions. At length we came upon a considerable range of mountains. These extended from horizon to horizon, roughly east and west, and thus lay almost directly across our course. There was absolutely no recognition of their existence on the chart. If O'Connor had flown over them in an ailing aeroplane, then he must have slipped through one of the few passes. They were austerely cold mountains and strangely forbidding, as if they marked the frontier of the true arctic from relatively