The Aviator's Apprentice: Will Turner's Flight Logs, Part Oneby Chris Davey
Although a fictional character, Will Turner fits in well with otherLucky Press books in that his spirit of adventure, sense of personal integrity, and incredible place in history make him a man who exemplifies "lucky." Author Chris Davey has an amazing ability to breathe life into his characters, and he resists the temptation to paint them as "good" or "bad." Even the antagonists have endearing qualities and the hero is acceptably human.
Mixed in with the character development and historical events surrounding World War I, Davey also provides accurate descriptions of the various aircraft in use during the early part of the 20th Century. These descriptions satisfy aviation enthusiasts and history buffs, who enjoy a series approach to fiction. The Aviator’s Apprentice contains nine illustrations and two maps. In honor of the upcoming anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight, Lucky Press is proud to present The Aviator’s Apprentice, the first book in "The Turner Logs" series.
Read an Excerpt
Excerpt from The Aviator’s Apprentice by Chris Davey, published by Lucky Press.The arrival of Will’s letters at the Turner home in Tallahassee had become a social event over the course of the summer of 1914. An excellent correspondent, Will adopted the policy of sending his letters alternately to the individual recipients, his family, the Walkers, and Marie Julien, in the hope they might be shared to some extent. The custom had grown for the two families, and Marie, to meet on the Saturday afternoon following receipt of the letters. Charley Turner had grown particularly sensitive to Marie’s feelings. To her surprise, Marie seemed to have lost interest in other boys, at least for the time being. Cordelia’s intuition had not failed her; this was the "real thing." Three Saturdays after the fateful weekend that saw Europe pitched into war, Charley Turner read her son’s letter, that had arrived from England, explaining his new situation for the tenth time. "Please tell me what you said about army support again, Nathan." Nathan understood her need to hear what he had to say on the subject. "It’s exactly as I said," he rumbled, "fo’ every man in the line, there’s five supportin’ him. You’ve supplies people, clerks, headquarters staff, cooks, armorers an’ engineers. An’ that’s what Will’s doin’, he’s an engineer, an’ his Royal Flyin’ Corps is goin’ to need five engineers alone, to keep every machine in the airain’t that right son?"
Henry nodded earnestly, "More!" he said quickly, doing his part to reassure Charley. She shook her head slowly, John could see she was biting her lip.
"I suppose that must be true," Charley said, "and after all, he says they are keeping him and the other mechanics well back from the battle areas." John Turner could read his wife’s brave face. The previous evening she had broken down, sobbing, blaming herself for encouraging Will’s journey to England. "If I thought it would bring him home, I’d have Marie write and propose now," she wept in his arms.
Victoria, for her part, had complete confidence in her brother’s ability to find his way out of any scrape. His sudden leap to commissioned rank, in what people already perceived as a glamorous corps, gave her a certain reflected glory among her friends. She knew she would have to wait for a photograph, he had sent his only picture taken in England to Marie. In the meantime, she enjoyed the words of his commission that he had copied out for her.
George, by the Grace of God,
of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,
and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas,
King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India, etc.
To Our Trusty and well beloved William Turner
We reposing especial Trust and Confidence in your Loyalty, Courage and good Conduct, do by these Presents Constitute and Appoint you to be an Officer in Our Special Reserve of Officers...
The airplanes of the Royal Flying Corps converged on Swingate Downs above the Kent coastal town of Dover to prepare for the flight to France. Will and Tom had both been dispatched by Brancker to assist, and they worked ceaselessly to repair machines damaged on incoming flights and to prepare all planes for crossing the twenty-mile stretch of water that separates England from France.
Will felt woefully unprepared for the military duties that went with his new position. He did not feel like an army officer and was painfully conscious of his inexperience. Most of the pilots were junior officers but were all established in their careers. Only a few, like himself, were enlisted in the RFC special reserve. The others were drawn from over forty different regiments. Among them he found Rupert. "What ho! Lieutenant Turner, how do you like the life of a soldier?" Rupert greeted him with a slap on the back. He had landed in tandem with another Avro biplane. Will straightened up from beneath the wing of the machine he was tending. He wore oil-stained coveralls and one of the soft-peaked caps favored by the enlisted soldiers for their comfort.
"So far it’s not much different from workin’ for Nathan Walker at home," he said with a grin, "everythin’ needin’ to be done just soan’ polished." Rupert became serious, "How are you finding the military side of things? You’ve hardly had any time to acclimatize to the ‘bull’."
Will wiped his hands on a rag, "I’m really glad Tom is here; I take my lead from him. But it’s the damnedest thing, I don’t believe I’ve given an order yet, still folk just keep runnin’ up an’ askin’ for advice, an’ I give it when I can." "I’m not surprised, Will," Rupert said, "You know, Trenchard has managed to recruit the very best craftsmen in the country. Our chaps are paid far more than the average Tommy, but by God, they’re worth every penny."
Rupert appreciated the effort the RFC had made in finding the men to maintain and repair the aircraft. Many came from outside the airplane industry, their experience gained with trucks or automobiles. Some were skilled woodworkers from the furniture trade, others brought obscure but vital skills such as coppersmithing. They all quickly came to rely on the young officer with the odd accent for an accurate diagnosis of an engine or rigging problem.
"They’re a fine bunch of fellows, Rupert, you couldn’t ask for a more willin’ crew. One day I might even work out what all the badges an’ ranks stand for." "Don’t worry too much about that for the moment, old boy. Just remember, when we get to France: brown uniforms our side, gray uniforms the other side." Rupert studied Will carefully, "You look knackered. Try to get some sleep tonight; our orders are for takeoff at six."
Chris Davey was raise in Hertfordshire near the famous de Havilland aircraft factory in England. His enthusiasm for aviation history was to a large extent fired by Chuck Yeager, the first man to go supersonic. Davey was in the audience when Yeager delivered a brilliant lecture to British Air Cadets on the work of Edwards Airforce Base during the glory days of the "X program."
A lifelong aviation enthusiast, historian and self-confessed "Type hog," Davey began writing seriously while recovering from a car accident.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
Will Turner is in his early twenties and desperate to fly in Chris Davey's 'The Aviator's Apprentice.' Will is in Florida, hoping to make a name as a pilot and aviation engineer. When Europe is plunged into World War I, he is commissioned in the Royal Flying Corps where his ability and bravery are tested to the limit. The first in a planned series to be called 'Will Turner's Flight Logs', 'The Aviator's Apprentice' is a tightly woven and highly recommended novel that incorporates historical as well as fictional characters in an authentically backgrounded and detailed adventure story set in the yearly years of aviation.
I was totally surprised to find that this book, purchased for our 12-year-old son, was interesting to me! When the second book in the series comes out, I'll have to buy one copy for each person in our family.