The Aviator's Toilet Companion: At least twenty precisely true flying stories, some for short sits, and some for long sits. (Paperback)
If you wish to discover whether an airplane can land immaculately, entirely of its own accord, or whether a paltry chicken can soar to giddy heights before returning to rule the roost, then you need to read this book, an essential addition for your 'little room' library.
This collection of sometimes whimsical, sometimes intensely significant short stories is about people and flying. The stories span a period of 30 years during which the political winds of change were blowing southwards through the central and southern regions of the African continent.
Because he was a tobacco farmer and his working hours flexible, the ink was barely dry on the author's freshly issued private pilot's license, when he was asked to fly monthly payrolls to two remote tea estates in the mountains. A bank had approached the chairman of the flying club with this petition as otherwise the cash in transit would almost certainly have come under attack. In addition, there was no alternative commercial flight organisation. This was indeed a convenient enticement to earn flying hours ... and acquire anecdotes.
The author also began to fly commercial travellers between the border town of Umtali in Rhodesia and the key coastal port of Beira in Mozambique. These businessmen, inducted as club 'day members', would otherwise have had to run the gauntlet of land mines and ambushes along the 180 mile road contested by warring guerrilla factions, and the Portuguese de facto Government.
As a consequence in later years, the expediency of this practice served to cloud the writer's interpretation of 'flying for reward', and adapted for the utilisation of his own aircraft. Predictably, these flights provided more material for more stories along with a very close shave with a sudden and violent death for both the author and his hapless passenger.
There are other lessons to be learned in these stories about flying skills, about character, and attitudes, and to expect the extraordinarily unexpected.
The lively illustrations, by the author himself, are both entertaining and informative.