Bogeys and Bandits: The Making of a Fighter Pilotby Robert L. Gandt, Robert Gandt
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
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.
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.
- Viking Adult
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.24(w) x 6.38(h) x 1.16(d)
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >