Flight of Passage: A True Story
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Flight of Passage: A True Story

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  447 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Writer Rinker Buck looks back more than 30 years to a summer when he and his brother, at ages 15 and 17 respectively, became the youngest duo to fly across America, from New Jersey to California. Having grown up in an aviation family, the two boys bought an old Piper Cub, restored it themselves, and set out on the grand journey. Buck is a great storyteller, and once you ge...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 14th 1998 by Hyperion (first published 1997)
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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
Coco
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.
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.
Bob
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!
Courtney
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!
Janet
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!
Kelly
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.
Alycia
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.
Nikki
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!
Don
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...
Laneburritt
Feb 08, 2008 Laneburritt rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
David
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!
Richard
Pilots, read it. People, read it. The message is broader than aviation (though I am a pilot).
Beedo180
Great coming of age in the earl 1960's book. Great flying book. Heartily recommended.
Rob
I read this book because my dad loaned it to me, and he's devoted to aviation books. But this isn't really an aviation book, although there's lots of aviation in it; really it's a story about the relationship between an eccentric, driven father and his two boys, written in such a way that the book is hard to put down. Also it's an adventure story, and a story about a "simpler time" that really wasn't, but people wanted to believe was anyway. Who can resist a story about people who turned their l...more
Carly
Favorite book!
Paul Harris
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...more
Daniel Currie
Nov 02, 2013 Daniel Currie rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Heather
I loved this book, from the writing style that was no-nonsense and yet introspective, to the story and settings. It seems like a story that could have only happened in the 1960s, with the innocent, clean-cut, "Leave it to Beaver" mentality. And the juxtaposition of these times and attitudes with the boys' gutter talk was pretty great.

Aside from the sheer adventure of two teens discovering the wide range of geography and people in the USA, I loved the relationship between the brothers. Kern seems...more
Patty
Several years ago, at a library function, a friend told me that this was one of her favorite books. A copy fell into my hands and so finally, I have read it. I found this story to be good, the writing excellent and the entire book worth reading. Probably not my favorite, but thank goodness for differing tastes.

Rinker Buck had a slightly bizarre childhood, although it probably seemed normal to him. His father was larger than life and the dad kept his two oldest sons hopping.

This is a true coming...more
Amanda
I love books like this. Not only do you get a peek inside one person, you get to explore another time, place,and culture in a way that history textbooks will never match.
If you liked this book, I would recommend A Walk Across America, The Walk West: A Walk Across America 2, and Diary of Two Motorcycle Hobos.
Alejandro Galioto
Witty and interesting story. Best of all fairly true to aviation. Except the Guadalupe pass part, don't look at the map to enjoy the drama of that part better.
Laura
A fun and feisty guy book, but I enjoyed it for the flight rightness of it, and the well-described dynamics of family life. A quick romp; good fun.
madison
This is a book I would have never ever picked out for myself - mostly because I know nothing about planes and am not a big fan of true stories. But I agreed to read it anyway and I'm so glad I did. The first chapter was hilarious, then it didn't pick back up again until the middle where Kern and Rink were on their flight.(The reason I gave the book 4 stars instead of five) The people they came across were all so hilarious and it was so funny with the avocadoes and the stupid waterbag. =P I loved...more
A.V. Roe
This has got to be the most hilarious flying journal ever written. I split a gut reading about these kid's amazing adventure. Good flying, good story, good characters, page turner.
Chris
May 07, 2011 Chris rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Aviation and non-fiction adventure fans
A great book. Rinker Buck does a great job of telling his story. From the inter-workings of his relationship with his father and brother before their flight and how it developed during and after.

The main focus of the book is on two teenage brothers flight from New Jersey to California in 1966 in a Piper Cub. Ages 17 and 15. The book includes just enough aviation details to satisfy aviation buffs but, isn't at all overwhelming to novices. The stories from the air and the stops during their flight...more
Michael
There is not a negative thing I can say about Rinker Buck's Flight of Passage: A Memoir. The book is a fun, entertaining ride through the air with two teenage boys. Aside from technical reference books, this is the first book from the aviation section of a book store I have read cover to cover. I had a lot of fun reading it. I have never been accused of being a fast reader. I generally like to take my time and absorb each page of a book at my own pace. However, I had trouble putting this book do...more
Jim
I toiled through the first few chapters of “My dad was the biggest hero ever, a fact which everyone agreed on”, to “My brother was almost as big a quiet hero and the best pilot the world has ever seen (next to dad)”, and “My mother had film star looks and a fantastic Oirish personality which everyone in town loved and revered”, irritating guff which put me off this the first time I tried to read it years ago. Shallow, familial, rose-tinted, sentimental and gushing American hagiography I can do w...more
Michael Harris
Another Friends of the HHI Library bool store find. This is a great adventure story of two teens who accomplish an adult sized achievement. The author used it to find some peace in his relationship with his father but I focused on and really enjoyed the adventure. As a college student I had the chance to take flight training at the U of Illinois for $600 which would also give me credits. Unfortunately that was as much as tuition for a year and I could not afford to do it. I re-lived a bit of my...more
Shirlene
In 1966 two teenage boys, Rinker and Kern, from New Jersey rebuilt a Piper Club airplane for $300 and flew it across America, navigating without a radio because they couldn't afford one. It's also a story of their stormy relationship with their father, Tom Buck, who lost his leg in a tragic air crash. Boys, or anyone interested in airplanes, would enjoy this true adventure story about family relationships and a record breaking flight across America. However, I did not enjoy the swearing and bad...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
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