Flight of Passage by Rinker Buck, it’s a riveting true story of Rinker Buck and his brother Kernahan bought a dilapidated Piper Cub for 300 dollars and rebuilt it. In the summer of 1966, they traveled across America from New Jersey to California on this 300-dollar airplane and they were only seventeen and fifteen. They set a record for being the youngest aviators to fly across America. The reason behind this trip is to prove to their father, Tom Buck who is a brash dream and his life is all about aviation. They want to grow up and breaking free from a strong father in a large catholic family in sixties. Their story is not only about the terrific adventure with a lot of funny stories, but also about the different types of relationships, father and son, between siblings, to strangers and general public.
Rink writes, “Their dilapidated Piper Cub manufactured in 1946, had no battery, no radio, no lights, not even a starter. The four-cylinder continental engine was ignited by my brother yelling ‘contact’ from the cockpit while I stood outside, swinging the propeller by hand”. Their navigation device was an magnetic compass bolted to the instrument panel. They encountered many difficulties obstacles on the route from New Jersey to Los Angeles. First of all, their navigation is a big problem. On the first day alone, a lot of unexpected thing happened, Rink try hard to make out through the haze their first navigation checkpoint and they were violating all the lessons of their training during their first hour of their fly. They pushed hard across Pennsylvania to reach Indiana, they ran into the rough weather. Rough weather, thunderstorms, wracking turbulence, navigation problem and dangers are just small part of their trip. They encountered many different funny people and different cultures of other places. Such as, Texas cowboys, Vietnam America and small-town café. This is a very detailed nonfiction book, Rink write many details of his family and his trip. Even though there are a lot of swearing and bad languages, but the adventurous and emotions in the book are very exciting and funny. The relationship between three different personality male characters are very vivid. A true memoir about overbearing father and conflicts with older brother, however there are strong bond between them. “Take every unnecessary procedure as necessary, as you will never know when it will be necessary. Their father still shows his concern to their journey. Their terrific journey and the wonderful portrayal of main characters together makes this book a very interesting nonfiction book. Even though this is a good book for me, however, in terms of a story telling and the amount of actual subject matter, the book was little bit too long and wordy for me.
Rinker Buck was born and raised in New Jersey. He started his career in journalism after graduating from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Also, his first job was writing for the Berkshire Eagle in 1973. Although he was not work on aviation, but he have a good experience in general aviation area, because he learned how to fly when he was young. He provided reasonable amount of aviation jargons and gain its authenticity for me. On the other hand, in terms of writing skills, he was a longtime staff writer for the Hartford Courant and his stories have won the Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award and the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award. So, he is very qualified for this book. For this book, author didn’t use many sources, most of sources from this book are photos from his family. Over all this book provide us a wonderful journey and proving themselves to father.