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Summary

In the summer of 1966, Rinker and Kernahan Buck - 2 teenaged schoolboys from New Jersey - bought a dilapidated Piper Club airplane for $300, rebuild it, and piloted it on a record-breaking flight across America - navigating all the way to California without a radio because they couldn't afford one. Their trip retraced a mythical route flown by their father, Tom Buck, a brash, colorful ex-barnstormer who had lost a leg in a tragic car crash before his sons were born - but who so loved the adventure of flight that he taught his boys to fly before they could drive.

The journey west, and the preparations for it, become a figurative and literal process of discovery as the young men battle thunderstorms and wracking turbulence, encounter Arkansas rednecks, Texas cowboys, and the languid, romantic culture of small-town cafés, cheap motels, and dusty landing strips of pre-Vietnam America. The brothers have a lot to resolve among themselves too - as Kern, the shy, meticulous, dedicated dreamer, and Rinker, the rebellious second son, must finally come to understand and depend on each other in the complex way that only brothers can.

Most of all, Flight of Passages is a timeless story of fathers and sons. These 2 young men must separate from their difficult, quirky father - literally by putting a country's distance between them - but they do it on their father's terms: in an airplane. As he looks back, from the perspective of now being a father himself, Rinker Buck's tale of 2 young men in search of themselves and their country becomes a story about the eternal enigma of family - of the distance and closeness of generations, of peace lost so that understanding can be gained - and it is explored with a storytelling power that is both brave and rare.

©1997 Rinker Buck (P)1997 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Scott
  • 08-04-09

Great Book

I am not a pilot or have any special affinity for flying but this book is a great story. It flows well, is funny, descriptive, and engaging. I highly recommend it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Brian Cook
  • 20-02-07

Great coming of age

great book. I laughed and felt emotional a good listen. good reader

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cynthia L. Neill
  • 16-11-05

Not

I purchased this audiobook because other listeners rated it highly. A "young" pilot myself (150 hours), I would have enjoyed this entertaining (and well-narrated) story if it were only about the bold adventure itself: two very young boys rebuilding and flying a very small plane coast-to-coast with no radio, few navigational aids and little money. But one needn't be a pilot or even understand lots of "pilot lingo" to be entertained. From his larger-than-life father, to the mother who allowed he and his somewhat nerdy older brother to undertake this journey, to everyone the boys encountered along the way, few people or relationships go unexamined by this insightful author. Well worth the time and money spent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • William L Sanders
  • 28-03-15

One of my favorite stories.

I originally heard this book read by Dick Estelle on Radio Reader. An outstanding tale of two young boys living a dream and a passion. Wonderful humor through true-to-life relationships between two boys and their father. I very highly recommend this book to anyone.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • skiwoods
  • 28-07-06

Great Book!

I am a private pilot, so this was a better listen to me for that reason. However, I believe that anyone would love this story of 2 brothers on an adventure of a lifetime. The relationship with theid father is a great story also. If you're a pilot, this is a must read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Alfred
  • 18-01-15

Good read

awesome book. I've always enjoyed reading books about aviation and this one is one of the few inspiring ones. I wish they'd have stick and rudder on audible as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • dorydan
  • 05-03-12

Buy it!

Any additional comments?

If you have a father, a sibling, or a love of adventure, you will enjoy this book. Narration and story were excellent!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeffrey Olsen
  • 04-09-18

An Irresistible Story, wonderfully well told!

I have become a big Rinker Buck fan. Both Flight of Passage and The Oregon Trail are wonderful stories, with beautifully written prose and even better experienced by audible narrative by the author. I found them inspiring, skillful, entertaining and uniquely perceptive works of literature worthy of anyone’s time and effort to read or listen. You don’t need to be an aviator, father, son, brother or baby boomer to appreciate Flight of Passage but everyone from that demographic will find themselves particularly entertained and compelled by its messages. Loved it!

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  • James
  • 16-04-18

wow

loved this author. lives out my dreams through these books. Oregon trail is just as good.

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  • Stephen Hickman
  • 25-09-17

Flight of Passage --- a very special book

This is one of my all-time favorite books for several reasons---I was raised on flying stories, and I've always loved growing-up stories. This has the best of both, and even in the abridged version it's fascinating to listen to the author's narration, with its hint of what the actual voices of the characters in the story actually sounded like.