Skyfaring by Mark Vanhoenacker


Skyfaring: A Journey With A Pilot features a lot of prose and emotion about flying. This was okay but the best part of the book were the details about the job and equipment, namely the Boeing 747 he flies. Vanhoenacker didn’t train to be a pilot via the military route. He always loved flying but for Mark becoming a pilot was mid-life career change. The book is well written, although the prose gets a little too flowery at times. I wish there were more technical details. He had some interesting things to say about: Jet Lag vs Place Lag, Countries of the sky, and geography of the sky. Something I’d never thought about.

370 pages

Excerpts From My Kindle

I marveled, too, at the similarities between engineering and biology, how engineers are the agents of a kind of evolution, the conscious evolution that is the work of an industrializing species. – location 1258-1259

Pilots tend to like powerful planes. I’ve often heard complaints about one long-retired aircraft type that pilots felt was under-powered; the joke was that it only ever got airborne because the earth eventually curved away beneath it. In contrast every pilot I’ve talked to who has flown the Boeing 757 has mentioned, unprompted, how powerful its engines are. – location 1319-1321 [Something I’ve noticed myself about the 757]

A large airliner, the consummate elider of place, – location 1402-1402 [elide: to ignore or suppress. French]

My mother liked to give me books on the sky when I was younger, of the sort that mix scientific details with artistic images and tales of how various peoples and ages have interpreted the heavens. – location 3576-3577

The 747s wings have seven configurations one clean and six dirty. During the approach the expansion takes place in stages. Each stage lowers both the maximum and minimum speeds of the aircraft, and so as each stage completes we can slow down and initiate the next. The fourth of the dirty configurations is typically used for takeoff; the fifth- or sixth-dirtiest are used for landing. – location 4129-4131


About craigmaas

I do a little web design work and support a couple web sites and blogs. My primary focus is lighting and energy consulting where I use a number of computer tools to help my customer find ways of saving money and improving their work environment. See my web site for more information:
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