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Aloft

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  133 ratings  ·  18 reviews
More than a decade after the publication of Inside the Sky, Aloft is a completely revised, expanded, and updated edition of this classic text, which is widely regarded as the most lyrical and incisive book on flying.

In these essays, William Langewiesche considers how flying has altered not only how we move about the earth, but also how we view our world and our place in i
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 19th 2010 by Vintage (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 271)
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Eric_W
Langewiesche, one of my favorite technology writers, and author of the fascinating dissection of the ValueJet crash in Atlantic several months ago, is in love with flying. Inside the Sky is his attempt to convey that passion to non-pilots. He disdains commercial flight, which has reduced the experience of flying to being squeezed into tiny little seats, eliminates any sensation of flying, and suppresses the beauty of being able to see the world from a different vantage.

He's a little crazy, too.
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Dana Stabenow
Langewiesche (son of the author of Stick and Rudder) explores the art and craft of flight in first person from the left seat, the view, aviation history, banking, accidents, weather, the FAA, and the tower. "Flying at its best is a way of thinking," he writes. "Because of that, once having left the earth's surface, people never again quite return to it."

On banking, he illustrates an integral movement of flight by using analogies anyone can understand

The bank is a condition of tilted wings, and t
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Ryan Murdock
We have become creatures of the air, and flying has changed the way we see the world. That aerial view — of orderly houses in neat little rows, of farmland being swallowed by urban growth, of congested highways and abandoned factories — allows us to see ourselves in context.

It is a story of human geography written across the landscape in a narrative as obvious as any book. You don’t need statistics to interpret the growth of office parks, the division of farms, and the inflated architecture of
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Andrea
This book was absolutely fascinating! I would caution however this is not a book for those who have a fear of flying. I love going on airplanes so for me this was a great book and all of the information was of great interest to me. I love this particular quote "Flight's greatest gift is to let us look around." I think that the author who has been a professional pilot wrote about it with a heart and a depth that only someone who has experienced the sheer passion of flying can write about it. I h ...more
Jim
Fans of books about flying and flight should reach unhesitatingly for this collection of meditations on the art and science of those magnificent men in their flying machines. Which sometimes crash and burn in a fairly scary way, as some of these articles relate.
Written with precision by a journalist and pilot, I dropped the book a star because the subjects and the narrative are a bit patchy from article to article. Some are gripping and informative while others had me stifling a yawn and wishin
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Mike
The man speaks his mind and his writing is better for it. An extremely honest book that will make anyone who flies (whether as pilot or passenger) think a little more deeply about the experience.
Amy
"The bank is a condition of tilted wings, and the turn is the change in direction that results. The connection between the two is inexorable: The airplane must bank to turn, and when it is banked it must turn."

p. 64
Joseph Gendron
Although the subject of this book is not one that I would normally seek out, I picked the book up because I had read some extremely interesting articles in The Atlantic in 2002 by this author titled "Amercian Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center". This book did not diaappoint and is a very fascinating insight into various aspects of flying and aviation. I learned a lot from the book and when I take a cross-country commercial flight in the coming week, it will be with a broader awareness and ...more
Donna Lynch
Would have liked to give this book 3.5 stars, but that's not an option. I really liked the book for the information about the nuts and bolts of flying. Even thought the author goes into some detail about specific plane crashes, it was interesting and comforting to me to see how really safe it is to fly. The only reason I didn't give it a higher rating is because it was sometimes a bit boring. I found it was a good book to read before bed.
Matthew Eargle
Good observations on the nature of safety checks in aviation, but a little too fatalist for my liking. Overall, his writing style is compelling and well-paced, but sometimes that typical "pilot hubris" tends to overshadow the point. A good read, but I don't think that I would want to have a beer with the author.
Kate
Jan 13, 2014 Kate marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-to-buy
Profiled in The New New Journalism
Jim B
An odd collection of thoughs on flight and essays on accidents and air traffic control. Not quite what I expected based upon the subtitle.
Adi Alsaid
Interesting, but what lost me was the lack of poetry. It is less a meditation on flight and more a technical exploration of a couple of facets of flight. In one section, he mocks Saint de Expury's romanticization of flying, but that's really what I wanted from this book.
Noah
Langewiesche is at his absolute best when writing about flight (besides being an experienced pilot himself, his father literally wrote the book on aviation). Just about every essay in this book is riveting. Highly recommended.
Marc
As a pilot, I always enjoy reading about flying. This fellow's dad wrote "Stick and Rudder" probably 50 years ago. An aviation classic that every pilot considers "the bible."
Lincoln
Interesting in some parts. It kind of went away from the parts I liked and dragged on some stuff I didn't find all that interesting. Recommended? not sure.
Sheyda
You MUST read this. The first essay alone is just a gorgeous piece of non-fiction writing. I re-read this every year or so.
Ray Leon
Great book, really interesting information. Made me feel more safe and more afraid of flying at the same time!
Ira
Ira marked it as to-read
Nov 27, 2014
Ash
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Oct 27, 2014
Narendra
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Oct 14, 2014
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Oct 10, 2014
Joseph
Joseph marked it as to-read
Oct 03, 2014
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William Langewiesche is a journalist who has written for Vanity Fair and The Atlantic Monthly.
More about William Langewiesche...
The Outlaw Sea: A World of Freedom, Chaos, and Crime American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor

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