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Romance is in the Air: The Best Books about Flying and Aviation

With Valentine’s Day coming up, romance is in the air — literally. Most pilots have a life-long love affair with flying and aviation. To indulge your lifelong love affair with aircrafts, here are some of the best books about flying and aviation, courtesy of the Telegraph UK.

The Wild Blue Yonder: The Picador Book of Aviation
Ed. Graham Coster (Picador)

This excellent anthology is a collection of top-flight writing that puts into words the exhilarating, sometimes alarming, sometimes sublimely mystical feeling of flying. From the lonely adventures of pioneers such as Beryl Markham and Antoine de Saint-Exupery, to the terrifying aerial bombardments during the Spanish Civil War and the Vietnam War, to world firsts, such as Chuck Yeager’s breaking of the sound barrier, The Wild Blue Yonder is a must-have collection on aviation.

Amazon

Beyond the Blue Horizon by Alexander Frater (Penguin)

On December 31 1946, Alexander Frater took his first flight a few days before his ninth birthday. It was on an Empire flying boat from Sydney to Fiji. Love at first flight, he subsequently followed the Imperial Airways route from London to Brisbane in the Thirties, then known as the world’s longest and most adventurous scheduled air route. This is the story of his passion and adventures in flight.

Amazon

TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (Bloomsbury)

In this imaginative fictional novel, author McCann links three aviation episodes from history: the first non-stop transatlantic flight in 1919; the visit of a freed American slave to Ireland; and Senator George Mitchell’s peace-broking in Nineties Belfast. These three iconic crossings are connected by a series of remarkable women whose personal stories are caught up in the swells of history.

Amazon

Aloft by William Langewiesche (Penguin Modern Classics)

In this collection of aviation-themed essays, Langewiesche, a former pilot for 15 years from the age of 18, muses about flight, how we move about the earth and our place within it. By turns reassuring and frightening, all are “suffused with the wonder I still feel that as a species we now find ourselves in the sky.”

Amazon

West with the Night by Beryl Markham (North Point Press/Macmillan)

This is the true story of Beryl Markham (1902-86), who became the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo from east to west. Worth the price of the book is the section about that feat and her Zen-like response when her engine cut out. Hemingway said of Markham, she “can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers… It really is a bloody wonderful book.”

Amazon

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