Monday, September 23, 2013

REVIEW: Cubs to Bonanzas

Title: Cubs to Bonanzas: A 65-Year Perspective Through A Pilot’s Eyes
Author: Richard A. Komm
Genre: memoir
Price: $3.99 (ebook) / $15.99 (paperback)
Publisher: XLibris
ISBN: 978-1-4836-5039-5
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

In 1947, a 15-year-old boy named Richard Komm got himself to a grass airfield in St. Louis, Mo.  There, he met Walt Withrow, a man who had learned to fly in open-cockpit planes.  Walt gave Richard flying lessons, and thus was born an enduring love affair with aviation.  This love affair, and the things that happened during that affair, are the subject of this slim memoir, Cubs to Bonanzas.

The Cubs to Bonanzas of the title refers to the first plane Komm flew, a Piper Cub, and the current aircraft Komm owns, a Bonanza B-35.  Written in a conversational style, this book discusses how Komm learned to fly, the several aircraft he owned, and a number of interesting incidents he had over the years.  Many of these incidents involved nearly crashing due to weather, malfunction or some combination thereof, and are common piloting stories.

They may be common stories, but Komm tells them in an uncommonly-entertaining style.  Komm keeps the pilotese to a minimum, and focuses on both the entertaining and important aspects of these stories.  As of the writing of the book, Komm had joined the UFO Club (United Flying Octogenarians, a club reserved for those over age 80 still flying as pilots-in-command) and so Komm has a wealth of information to impart, especially about flying before many of the modern instruments were invented.

The last chapter of the book goes into 10 technical lessons learned in Komm’s flying career.  These may seem not applicable to a general audience, but the operant word is “seems.”  Things like planning ahead, knowing yourself and your equipment are solid words of advice for anybody doing anything.  In short, I found Cubs to Bonanzas an enjoyable if brief read. 


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