There was a movie starring John Candy and Steve Martin called Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. However, if the movie had starred Bill Hubert, author of the new book, Pilot Here Or Pile It There, it would have been called Planes, Planes, and Planes.
The retired Lieutenant Colonel Hubert is a pilot’s pilot, flying regularly from when he was 18 until he was 65. As he says, he started out flying single engine planes, moved to two engines, then to four, to six, and even to eight when he flew B-52′s during the height of the Cold War. He tells story after story of planes and squall lines and near collisions and crew member upon crew member. All these stories, these depths of aviation history he lived through, simply run together until all the air bases seem the same and each tale melts into one grand meta-narrative of flight and man.
Hubert did most of his flying before radar was fully realized as an in-flight tool for direction and location uses. He brings tales from what many pilots will view as being the dark ages when avionics were barely even ideas. Yet as he, with his family in tow, moves across the country and the world time and time again to different Air Force Bases, we are drawn along with him. As he speaks of promotion difficulties, his stint of running a bar, the suicide of his friend’s wife, and many other small stories along the way, we see our way into his life and rejoice when he moves up in rank and feel his pain when friends die in air crashes.
Bill Hubert has created a masterpiece here, a memoir which takes us on flights not only through the atmosphere, but all the way up into the human spirit and it’s determination to find meaning in life.
The book is available at Amazon.