Bob Adkins' book Panhandle Pilot arrived last week. Bob spent a career in southeast Alaska as an educator, but in the summers he flew for an air taxi as a commercial pilot. His aviation experiences, starting with the experience of learning to fly, are chronicled in this book in a style that is obviously his very own. From the moment he gets thrashed by wake turbulence in his very first solo flight, Bob relates the experience and adventure of learning to fly, using an airplane as an aerial SUV in Alaska, dealing with weather conditions, dealing with customers and passengers, and watching other aviators make different decisions...not always good ones... I love this book. It opens a window into the experience of fly-for-hire in Alaska in a way that most do not, in a compelling narrative honestly told. He provides a beautiful explanation of some of the things that people who don't fly in Alaska have a hard time understanding...like why VFR flight under a low layer in Alaska is so common as opposed to spending the time in the clouds on IFR. I've never been to southeast Alaska, but I feel like a have a good understanding of the area and the unique aviation challenges it presents just from reading Bob's tales.
Although I've never been to SE Alaska, I have met Bob a while back. I had no idea he was writing a book, and didn't even realize he was a pilot. Now I'm dying to go see him to do some hangar flying with somebody who's seen a lot more of the aviation world than I have... Bob's book is available at Barnes and Noble or directly from Bob, still living in Haines, Alaska where many of the story segments occur, at: