Zero Three Bravo: Solo Across America in a Small Plane

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With all the exhilaration that comes from being up in the sky alone, with the warmth that comes from being on the ground with the people at small airports, Mariana Gosnell tells the story of her three-month adventure in her single-engine tailwheel airplane, Zero Three Bravo. The adventure began on a hot summer day when "the city seemed particularly punishing to body and spirit." Enticed by the ribbon of sky that she could see from her office window high above Manhattan, she decided to fly her small plane solo ...
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Overview

With all the exhilaration that comes from being up in the sky alone, with the warmth that comes from being on the ground with the people at small airports, Mariana Gosnell tells the story of her three-month adventure in her single-engine tailwheel airplane, Zero Three Bravo. The adventure began on a hot summer day when "the city seemed particularly punishing to body and spirit." Enticed by the ribbon of sky that she could see from her office window high above Manhattan, she decided to fly her small plane solo across the country and back. Taking a leave from her job, and packing all the clothes, charts, and emergency equipment that she could squeeze into her Luscombe Silvaire (a Model 8F built in 1950, with two seats, high wings, and a 95-horsepower engine), she sets out to fly from one small airport to another around the United States. We're with her in the cockpit, sharing the excitements, sights, and even the techniques of flying, as she cruises low, navigating almost solely by landmarks, maneuvering through rain and winds, and always delighting in the ever-changing panorama below. From her home airport in Spring Valley, New York, she heads south to North Carolina and Georgia, west across Texas to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and back again over the Rockies and the plains and farms of the Midwest. Along the way with her, we meet the dreamers, tinkerers, escapists, loners, and ordinary folk who fly small planes for pleasure and for a living. They are cropdusters, fishspotters, Sunday pilots, banner towers, and the many others who are still attracted to the challenge of gypsying around the skies in a tiny craft. And we come to know the men and women who run or hang out around small airports - a friendly fraternity of those who share a love of flying machines and a beckoning sky. Usually there's a big welcome in the little office, a few stories to be swapped, information given and received, hospitality tendered (a meal, a ride to town, a bed for the night) - a

With former Newsweek reporter Mariana Gosnell as the pilot, every takeoff is an adventure and every anecdote brings readers closer to falling in love with flying. Fromcount is "a literary work of straightforward affection . . ." (Newsweek).

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Crossing the country in her much-loved small plane (a Luscombe N803B, identified as Zero Three Bravo on radio transmissions), Gosnell, a former medical and science reporter for Newsweek, offers a bird's-eye view of our nation's land-, sea- and skyscapes. A flight-infatuated adventurer on a summer holiday, she wings happily aloft in the airlanes reserved for noncommercial craft, dipping low enough to distinguish country fields and city streets, or soaring upward to exult in the firmament. Here and there, she touches down for a dinner date, a shopping tour with her mother, or simply to reconnoiter a town, have a cup of coffee and gas up. All the while, Gosnell enthuses about her plane and the mechanics of flying, bringing to life the network of kindred spirits who use and staff the small airports that service the private flying community. With contagious delight, she opens up a unique world for her readers. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC alternate. (June)
Library Journal
Former Newsweek reporter Gosnell recounts her trip across the United States alone in her private plane. She describes experiences at many small airports as she flies from New York down across the southern United States to California, then north and back across the Midwest. She encounters plenty of interesting characters, hears many stories, and weaves these together with touches of aviation history to make a contemplative personal narrative. Gosnell's journalistic style lets us appreciate the variety of people and places she visits, from New York City to Plains, Georgia. Recommended for all libraries with strong aviation and travel collections.-- Gwen Gregory, U.S. Courts Lib., Phoenix, Ariz.
School Library Journal
YA-Ever wonder how those planes that carry messages streaming behind them get off the ground? Ever think about what goes on at those small airports you occasionally pass in your car? Here is an intriguing look into the mysterious world of general aviation (a.k.a. small planes), presented by a former Newsweek writer. Gosnell makes readers feel as though they're there with her as she explores the country in (and out of) her 1950 Luscombe Silvaire two-seater. She draws readers into the separate, mostly masculine world of small airports and introduces them to the mostly likable eccentrics who hang out there. The book is an enjoyable mix of flying lore, scenery descriptions, adventures, impressions of people, weather, conversations, worries, and reminiscences-all so smoothly done that it's never boring. Well worth booktalking.-Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679400257
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/1/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 371

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