Nine Lives in the Air: The Adventures and Misadventures of an Air Force Pilot
by Lt. Colonel Ed Henningson, USAF Retired
Trafford Publishing

"Each time a blade contacted a tree and severed it, the aircraft was wrenched abruptly very hard in the opposite direction, and this rough jerking around continued as we descended..."

For Henningson, the lure of the skies came early. As a toddler his doting aunts would take him to Albany Airport, buy him an ice cream, and let him watch the airplanes take off and land. Building model airplanes as young boy kept the dream alive until one day, when all hope seemed to be lost for him to be admitted to a pilot training program due to his educational limitations, he suddenly found himself standing in line at the exact moment word arrived that the college requirement had been dropped and he would be accepted into the U.S. Air Force's Aviation Cadet Program. And so began his Twenty-six years as a military pilot.

Those years would hone the author as both an aviator and an individual. However, his career almost ended soon after it had begun when he managed to narrowly avoid crashing into another airplane during a training exercise. Comparing this harrowing experience to cashing in the first of the legendary nine lives a cat has, the author continues his narrative of his flying days by recalling them with a refreshing degree of candor. For example, he doesn't mask the terror of crash landing a helicopter amidst 200-foot-tall trees in the mountains with false bravado. Nor does he shy from admitting how "terribly selfish" he was to his family by volunteering for additional combat duty in Southeast Asia to get away from a desk job stateside and back into the cockpit. But whether it was one more cat life lost or simply a time where he had to grow as a person, the author is always aware that the grace of God is what carried him through.

Honest and informative, Henningson's book is well worth reading. It provides valuable insight into the experiences and emotions of a military pilot.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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