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Flight of Passage
Rinker Buck
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Flight of Passage

4.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  819 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
Every writer keeps a secret, an episode from their past, hidden inside until maturity and their advancing powers conspire to bring it out; and that is certainly what happened with journalist Rinker Buck's Flight of Passage. Part adventure tale, part literary memoir, Flight of Passage is the story of how two brothers resolved their differences and proved themselves to their ...more
Published July 5th 2000 by Random House Audio (first published 1997)
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Mar 28, 2009 Coco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coming-of-age, memoir
I never would have read this one if we had not chosen it for my book club. What a great find, though. Rinker Buck and his brother take a cross-country trip in a Piper Cub. Doesn't sound like much, I know, but their adventures, along with some unforgettable characters they meet along the way, make for a memorable read. Their dad is quite a guy and I really enjoyed looking at their family photos. Even if you don't care about aviation, give this one a try.
Hermann Gucinski
Rinker Buck's memoir tells the story of growing up and breaking free from a strong Dad in a large catholic family in the early sixties, using a unique approach--he and his then 17-year old brother Kern totally re-build a plane, a Piper Cub bought for $300, and then fly it across the US from New Jersey to California and back--no radio, seat-of-the-pants flying. This could be a serious story for a specialized audience, but it is not--the humor--page after page of it--, the adventures, the timeless ...more
Bill Riddell
Terrific read, depicting the small details of this exciting trip and the preperation for it.

For pilots of small airplanes it is especially fun to feel the experience of past trips and the nuances of flight.
Sep 22, 2008 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was given to me by a friend who knew that my daughter had soloed on her 16th birthday and is just marking time until she is 17 to get her private pilot's license! While those interested in aviation may find this a good read for that information alone, it is a great book on another level as well. As the author heads west, his relationship with his father is explored and that makes for interesting reading even for those of us who are timid flyers!
Mar 16, 2009 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was hilarious! If you like flying, or just like a good real-life coming-of-age adventure story (2 teen/young-adults fly cross country in a small plane), this is a great book!
Oct 28, 2007 Courtney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great coming of age book for anyone interested in aviation. I savored each new challenge the young aviators faced and conquered. Highly recommend!
Feb 15, 2015 Rose rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started out loving the narrative of Rinker Buck, until he and his brother, Kern, reach Texas on their cross-country odyssey in a small Cub plane. The story lost its authenticity for me at that point. The reason is because earlier in the memoir, Rinker, emphasized the summers spent with the family on vacations riding in a converted school bus and other odd adventures their father made for the family of 11 children. But he never mentioned a corral their father built for them to learn to handle c ...more
Nov 16, 2015 Marian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable book. Originally, I expected only flying story, but the book offerd much more to me -- view into psychology of different types of relationships, i.e. between siblings, son and father or person and general public. Amazingly written description of terrific journey with lots of funny and dead-serious anecdotes. Highly recommended for every aviation fan or anybody who likes good memoires
Nov 22, 2015 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A great memoir written by a man who fifty years ago at the age of 15 flew coast-to-coast with his 17 year old brother in a Piper Cub two-seat radioless plane. In 1966 Rinker Buck and his brother Kern (Kernahan) rebuilt a 30 year old two-seater bought for $300 and then flew it from New Jersey to LA. A pretty amazing feat I now realize once I learned how these intrepid travelers fought through and around hostile weather conditions and journeyed over the Rocky Mountains pushing the plane to its lim ...more
Oct 08, 2015 Garrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rated Flight of Passage 4 stars because I thought that this book was phenomenal. It truly was a great book. Although this book is quite boring in the beginning as the author just talks about Kerns and Rinks life and relationship with each other and their father, he does allow you to start to get to know the characters. I really liked how rink and kern began to have a bond together with flying. That was when I got hooked. I couldn't stop reading until I finished it. I didn't want it to end.
I r
Jul 24, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually do autobiographical stuff--but I really liked this book. It's the story of Rinker Buck and his brother Kernahan (P.S. love the names) and their flight across the country in a Piper Cub airplane. They were the youngest people to ever do so and this story is heartwarming and hilarious.
Feb 07, 2008 Alycia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved thus book. I hated the swearing and bad language, but I still give this book a 5. It is written well and is adventurous. It is a page turner. It had some really funny stories in it too.
Aug 25, 2007 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book I never would have read without it being put on our Book Club's reading list for the year. Very glad it was. Found it immensely entertaining and informative. What an amazing story!
Mar 25, 2009 Don rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The dreams we dream as boys and live out as boys or men are all-powerful. A wonderful memoir about flying and the relationship with an older brother and an overbearing father...
Feb 08, 2008 Laneburritt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The young at heart
Recommended to Laneburritt by: My husband
This is a nice read. The story about two teenage boys flying across the country seems to elicit the dreamer in me. When i was a teenager I wanted to fly so much.
Jan 07, 2008 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a great read about 2 brothers flying coast-to-coast in a small Cessna. I (along with the other 6 people who read this book) STRONGLY recommend it!
Apr 02, 2016 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great true-life adventure written by one of two teenagers who flew across the U.S. in 1966 in a Piper Cub with no navigation equipment and no radio. Not only tells stories of their adventures and depictions of the characters they meet on the way, but also examines their relationship as brothers in a family of twelve, and their often stormy dealings with their father - a former barnstormer pilot. As a past resident of Carlsbad, NM, and Guadalupe Mountains, Texas, I especially enjoyed the depictio ...more
Sep 28, 2008 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pilots, read it. People, read it. The message is broader than aviation (though I am a pilot).
Jun 19, 2013 Beedo180 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great coming of age in the earl 1960's book. Great flying book. Heartily recommended.
Nov 06, 2015 Sandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this simple, heart warming and funny little story told by the author, who as a young teen and with his (also teenaged) older brother were the youngest pilots ever to cross the US, flying from New Jersey to California in 1966. If you can get past all the pilot jargon, the story is mostly about the relationship between the brothers and their Dad, a larger than life 1930's pilot who taught them to fly and went on to publish magazines and help get JFK elected. The boys had the adventure of ...more
Debbie Jacob
May 07, 2016 Debbie Jacob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of two teenage brothers who fly solo across the US is a compelling story in itself, but the author clearly learned a lot more about writing when he penned The Oregon Trail, which I thoroughly enjoyed for its history and characterization. This true story is carried by the plot. You want to know if the brothers made it, although it's a given that they did. You want to know how they accomplished their goal. But the dialogue is uninteresting for its repetitiveness -- especially discussion ...more
Nov 28, 2008 Carly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Favorite book!
Mar 28, 2016 Joyce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was curious about this book, as the author was a class or two ahead of me at college and I knew him slightly. What a well-told, enjoyable story! In 1966, Rink and his brother, both experienced amateur pilots trained by their former-barnstormer dad, recondition a Piper Cub and fly it from Basking Ridge, NJ to California. They are 15 and 17 at the time, flying without radio, with $300 they raised plowing driveways in the winter. They sleep under the Cub's wing each night, and get invaluable tips ...more
Oct 27, 2011 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Well, I expected this to be good - how could the tale of two teenage brothers flying together in a Piper Cub across continental Ammerica east to west and back again NOT be good?! - but I think this was in the end an excellent read. I was moved, charmed, and thrilled by the story of Rinker and his older brother Kern first restoring the aircraft in the family barn over the winter, and then the adventure of the flight itself.

But there was more to this book than the 'adventure' itself. This is an en
Aug 25, 2015 Joeydag rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Memoir of a the cross country trip in Piper Cub that the author and his older brother completed back in 1966. The boys were the oldest boys in a family with 11 children and their father is the main object of study, his obsessions and his relationships with the two boys. Pleasant writing, and very nostalgic. I started this while waiting to find a recommended title by the author, but I'm glad I read this and will continue to look for the other title something to do with redoing the Oregon Trail in ...more
Jun 30, 2015 Nancyliz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set aside the dystopic settings, the rogue detectives, the anguished mid-lifers, the convoluted plots, and the cranky pensioners. Pick up this memoir and immerse yourself in the lives of brothers Kern and Rinker Buck and their bonafide adventure. Written by Rinker Buck, their experiences in the summer of 1966 explore all we know about growing up and earning our independence. I happened upon it accidentally and it will be among the best stories I have ever read.
Daniel Currie
Nov 02, 2013 Daniel Currie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Daniel by: Valerie Richardson
I would give this 3.5 stars if they had that rating.

This is simply the story of 2 brothers who made a cross country trip in a small plane in 1966. The younger brother tells the story.

It starts out pretty slow. They have LOTS of daddy issues and that carries thru the whole book, but it is particularly prominent in the first 100 pages, before they get off the ground. Even tho they grew up with 11 children in the family their dad seemed to focus all his energy on the two brothers. The siblings are
Jul 26, 2015 Shane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah Jeez Rink, this was great! Thanks Rinker for sharing this wonderful adventure you went on with your brother Kern way back in 1966. Incredibly fun book, and a joy to read. Loved Rink's insight into his family life, and mainly his relationship with Kern and his Father, and how this cross country flight brought out a lot of insight, as well as all the wonderful people they met on the way, giving even more perspective into Rink's own life.
Margaret Shettel
Mar 18, 2016 Margaret Shettel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
A great story that really defies imagination. The first thing that's hard to wrap your brain around is the fact that a fifteen-year-old and seventeen-year-old were encouraged by their parents to fly a piper cub across the United States. They did this the year I graduated from high school (1966.) I would love to see this book made into a movie (minus the bad language in the book.)
Jan 08, 2016 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I just started reading Rinker Buck's "Oregon Trail". On page 12 he describes an adventure he and his older brother had in 1966 when they flew across the USA in a Piper Cub. That was weird because I remembered a book I read about 15 years ago that described an adventure just like that. I looked at the author's biography and, sure enough, Rinker Buck wrote "Flight of Passage" too.
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Rinker Buck began his career in journalism at the Berkshire Eagle and was a longtime staff writer for the Hartford Courant. He has written for Vanity Fair, New York, Life, and many other publications, and his stories have won the Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award and the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award. He is the author of The Oregon Trail as well as the ...more
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“All the heroes had crew cuts, platinum-blond wives and drove Corvettes. The media was devoted to this cult of innocence.” 2 likes
“Kern was the classic oldest son of a strong, iron-willed father, secretly afraid that he couldn’t live up to the model, and thus quite skittish and sensitive to criticism. Even his appearance suggested vulnerability. He had feathery auburn hair with red highlights, broad cheeks and trusting brown eyes that opened wide with disappointment when he was hurt. He mostly excelled at things that required a lot of solitude and a minimum of social contact, math and science, and his best friend was a science nerd and ham-radio freak who lived in the village nearby, Louie DeChiaro.” 0 likes
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