“As an airline pilot it is not uncommon to drone along for hours making only an occasional heading, altitude or airspeed change. This allows for lots of conversation between the pilots. As “the MiG guy” it was typical for me to be asked lots of the same questions from trip to trip. I was happy to wax eloquent about my many stories in the MiG which were usually followed by comments from listeners that I should write a book.
What followed was more than a decade of struggle over what to write, attempting to avoid the label of a vanity publication. Should it be an autobiography? Would my target audience be only pilots? I’ve heard it said that we all have a book within us. The real question is, would anybody want to read it? Who cares? Just do it.
After an acquaintance, a talented professional writer who did a story about me for an airplane magazine, forwarded my original manuscript to an editor, I was thoroughly and harshly taken to task for my ineptitude (and rightfully so) as a wordsmith. Hemingway I’m not.
Frankly, I still don’t know who my target audience really is except for the faith-based thread that runs throughout. If you’re going through some dark times, I hope this encourages and helps inspire you to persevere. My life has been punctuated by an ongoing series of events; the results of which have become a testament to my faith.
And finishing this book has proven to be a real catharsis. Having chronicled the details that would, no doubt, fade into the shadows of my memory over time, I have accomplished the primary objective of providing my children with an admittedly unabashed view of their dad.
If you, the reader, are so inclined, I’ll tell you the stories behind those events and gladly share with you what some, apparently, think are worthwhile vignettes that deal with one man’s struggles with failure and victories over adversity.
Following the completion of an aerobatic maneuver during an airshow in my MiG-15, I was doing a repositioning turn known in aviator parlance as a tuck under break. At approximately 50 feet above the ground and moving at close to 300 miles per hour, upside down and halfway through a roll, with particularly poor timing the (improperly re-installed) instrument panel somehow decided that now would be an appropriate time to release itself onto my feet and lap.
Despite all the skill I could muster, momentum, inertia and gravity were winning the fight as I, once again, found myself bracing for what I hoped would be a painless demise.
And again, I was miraculously pulled from an imminent death by what can only be described as divine intervention – God’s Mighty Hands.
This is the story of a life punctuated by victory over adversity through the grace of God.”
“ . . . A great rock wall filled with cracks, crevices and overhangs. Thank you for allowing us to climb part of the way with you.”
Vick Vickery, author of Signs Up
“ . . . Well written . . . (His) life so far has had more than its share of out of the ordinary twists and challenges; the more impressive since (he has) overcome long odds.”
Floyd McGowin, author of The Forest and the Trees
and member of the Alabama Aviation Hall of fame
“A factual, heartfelt memoir of a raconteur who just happens to be one of my finest officers of Marines!”
Major General D.E.P. Miller, USMC, retired
“ . . . A great book for anyone looking for inspiration. It shows us all what is possible with some work, some friendships, some family love, determination and an eye to the sky.”
Spencer Page, Scout Executive
Gulf Coast Council, Boy Scouts of America
“ . . . One of the most unique, talented and fascinating men I’ve ever met. There are so many facets and accomplishments in (his) life’s story that the reader that doesn’t know (him) might doubt (he is) real.”
Captain Richard Colby, Delta Air Lines
Vice President of Flight Operations
“A life story worth telling, told in a way well worth reading, by a man worth knowing. A true warrior and a true friend.”
Colonel Dror Gorelik, Israeli Air Force
Director of Flight Operations, El Al Israeli Airlines