Bogeys and Bandits: The Making of a Fighter Pilot

Bogeys and Bandits: The Making of a Fighter Pilot

by Robert L. Gandt, Robert Gandt
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Veteran Navy fighter pilot Bob Gandt takes the reader along in the cockpit when he revisits his own elite training program after almost thirty years. A class of eight men and women is learning to fly the incredible FA-18 Hornet- deadlier, sleeker, and far more advanced than even the Tomcat immortalized in the movie Top Gun. As Gandt follows these students through…  See more details below

Overview

Veteran Navy fighter pilot Bob Gandt takes the reader along in the cockpit when he revisits his own elite training program after almost thirty years. A class of eight men and women is learning to fly the incredible FA-18 Hornet- deadlier, sleeker, and far more advanced than even the Tomcat immortalized in the movie Top Gun. As Gandt follows these students through school, indelible characters emerge: swaggering cowboy fighter jocks, crusty old Navy salts, a pair of wholesome twins from Middle America, a computer nerd, and two women pilots dealing with the post-Tailhook world of the military.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Longing to climb back into the cockpit of a U.S. Navy jet, former naval aviator Gandt persuaded an old squadron mate, now an admiral, to pull some strings. Gandt (Sky Gods) is a seasoned journalist who had more than just a joy ride in mind. With his friend's blessing, he rejoined the flight training program he had gone through more than a quarter-century earlier, to report on the progress of eight students hoping to qualify to fly the navy's difficult FA-18 Hornet. His compelling account of this experience, which centered at an air base near Jacksonville, Fla., is a sort of an aviator's Chorus Line, as presented by one who spent six months watching the students' progress and trying to climb inside their skins. One of the most fascinating students is a brilliant woman unafraid to play "the sex card," and whose abrasive personality alienates nearly everyone around her, including the other woman in the class. Another is an African American man who is alternately burdened and encouraged by the fact that his father was one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. Gandt describes the range of qualities possessed by elite fighter pilots. He manages to evoke both awe at and sympathy for these young yet distinguished aviators, so that readers will agonize over their defeats and cheer their triumphs. The icing on the cake is the satisfaction Gandt himself receives in taking his best shot at realizing a sentimental dream. Author tour. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
Tales from the cockpits and ground-training classes of those learning to fly the navy's most advanced fleet fighter/bomber jet—the FA-18 Hornet.

Gandt, a veteran navy fighter pilot (Sky Gods: The Fall of Pan Am, 1995), follows eight trainees from their introductory briefing to the difficult final exam and on to their service with the fleet, where they become accustomed to taking off and landing on a carrier pitching and tossing on the open sea. They must master a push- button, computer-controlled, $30 million marvel that routinely exceeds the sound barrier. Gandt notes that the "Incredible Shrinking Navy" has, since the end of the Cold War, far fewer openings for pilot trainees. Today's pilots are chosen with a heavy stress on college ranking, in contrast with wartime standards that welcomed any eager volunteers. Some high-ranking veteran fliers tell Gandt that they would not qualify under present standards and that they are amazed to hear today's sophisticated trainees discussing stocks and corporate jobs. Gandt also touches on more controversial matters: He calls the Tailhook incident a political witch hunt and suggests that, combined with the Clinton administration's decision to allow women to apply for combat duty, it has created serious new problems for the navy including a dangerous double standard. He claims that an unqualified female flier allowed to carry out a particularly difficult assignment was killed in a flawed carrier landing. The navy, he asserts, covered up the incident by attributing it to engine failure. While Gandt discusses these matters frankly, much of the book is taken up with the day-to-day reality of flying an extraordinary machine and the exhilaration that comes with it. His descriptions of flight sweep are vivid enough to transport the reader to the Hornet's cockpit.

A fascinating look into an arcane, risky, high-tech world inhabited by bright, brave youngsters.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670867219
Publisher:
Viking Adult
Publication date:
06/01/1997
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
9.24(w) x 6.38(h) x 1.16(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >