Books by pilots about their experiences vary dramatically from very good to, well, being polite, not as good!
When a friend brought me a book written by a friend of his about the friend’s efforts to buy a plane and fulfill a lifelong ambition to fly around the world, I kinda rolled my eyes. And, when I started reading and discovered the airplane he was buying was a Cessna 150 and the lifelong ambition was to fly around the world, well, I almost threw it away without opening the cover.
I decided to read the first paragraph or two and then the first chapter just because my friend had brought it to me. After getting that start I was glad I did because this was a fun-filled, humorous account of an episode that shouldn’t happen to anyone.
The book was very good!
“So you Think You’d Like to Buy an Airplane … and fly off to Adventure” is the rather lengthy title of the book by Gerald F. McMahon Jr., a native of Charleston, S.C. He’s a US Army vet active in real estate and with a business in Irish imports.
McMahon’s first chapters recount his efforts to buy a Cessna 150, an airplane in which he had learned to fly a number of years earlier. The book doesn’t exactly say it, but I suspect from the period when he earned his ticket until buying the airplane he did not do a great deal of flying, but he did do a lot of dreaming … like buying a Cessna 150 and flying it around the world.
McMahon takes us through the seeking, finding and negotiating for his plane and then the snake-bitten experiences in trying to get it. Being charitable I can say McMahon did just about everything wrong but finally got his plane.
After a hectic experience flying it the 400 miles to Charleston, he ultimately decided it would be more prudent to change his lifelong flight ambitions from around the world to around the US … and that was ultimately shortened to another snake-bitten experience of flying it to touch down in Texas and return home.
Surviving that experience, he next tried to visit his daughter in the Florida Keys. On the way home from his aborted flight, he suffered a complete engine failure but landed without injury or damage on the beach. And, decided he needed to sell his airplane.
In between the start and the finish, McMahon tells a tale that makes me appreciate his blind fool luck – or something like that. He tells the story in a straightforward manner that is funny and at the same time makes you wonder how he could have done this.