WHEELS UP (Sky Jinks in the Jet Age), contains 22 stories, mostly, about airline crew members and their jokes, entanglements and predicaments. Many are hilariously funny; a few are gut wrenching; several are about failure and redemption. The author is a participant in every story and they all are true.
STEVE TAYLOR was raised on a farm in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. He is a 1960 graduate of The Citadel with a degree in civil engineering, and he served six years as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force with service in Vietnam. Following a long flying career, he retired as an international airline captain. Taylor has been a solo ocean sailor and holds a U.S. Coast Guard captain's license. He has owned and operated a commercial consruction company and is a Coastal Master Naturalist. In addition to flying over most of the world, Taylor has lived in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennesee, Texas and Okinawa. He has five grown children. With his wife, Nancy, he currently splits his time between Atlanta and Charleston.
Wheels Up: Sky Jinks in the Jet Age is an unexpected treat: unexpected because of its humor. But when you look at the cover art (which shows a pilot poking up through a little hole in his aircraft's roof to wave at the camera) and read the book's subtitle, these are definitely clues that the contents of Wheels Up holds more than just a story of flying big planes.
Oh, this piece is there, of course: but the purpose here isn't to provide a serious account of exploits and air encounters: it's to chronicle the true-life antics of a pilot who is an ex-boxer, an air force pilot, and more. So expect a blend of autobiography along with hearty accounts of mishaps, ironies, and close encounters with strange passengers that included his 23-year-old daughter who, ironically, harbors an intense fear of flying.
Captain Taylor’s ex-wife, as well as his daughter, experienced a condition the author calls ‘FREUD’ (Flying Represents Early Ugly Death). You’d think an experienced pilot could allay this fear. But no: to some, flying is a dangerous endeavor. And the difference between irrational fear and ordinary apprehension creates a fine line between astute worry and sheer panic.
In the course of exploring his family's fears, Captain Taylor provides much insight into phobias and the real dangers of airplane operations; so the story becomes more than a narrative about one woman's fear but documents the very real phenomenon of 'fear of flying' and the realities involved in adapting to plane flight.
Because this is an autobiography, there are digressions, so readers seeking JUST airplane-oriented tales will find some chapters document other aspects of Taylor's life, such as hunting with a big-egoed but inexperienced hunter, or shooting out the tires of a garbage-dumper who invades his property.
The sky jinks are only a part of a bigger picture which translates to life encounters that hold more than a touch of irony and lessons to be learned. It's a pleasure, however, to see an autobiography that pairs comic relief (as in the hilarious story of Captain French Bread and his flight attendant) with serious reflection, adding a dose of pilot's experiences to supplement other outrageous pranks and fun moments: "Bob Norris did not get his reputation by not finalizing his jokes. He had left the airplane soon after we arrived at the gate and went to operations to secure paper with an official letterhead. When Pidd arrived at the bulletin board there was the phony safety memo about the fire hazard from faulty coffee makers."
It's this attention to humor and lessons learned from flying and life that makes Wheels Up an uplifting, memorable and fun read recommended for airplane enthusiasts and general autobiography readers alike.
I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads. A great read that had me laughing hysterically and grabbed my attention from page one and didn't let go. It brought back memories of my career and of my trek to the flightline as an Air Force "One Striper" for a gallon of AB (afterburner) exhaust and hearing other stories like young Security Police in need of disposable sterile tips for breathalyzers being sent to all corners of the base hospital asking for a box of Fallopian tubes. Classic fun. Highly recommended memoir by a man who clearly loved to fly.
What did I think? I loved this book! If you have a love for aviation and the fun you should have in life this is a wonderful book. I received this book as a giveaway here on Goodreads. I opened it at about 6pm on Friday night and was hooked after the prologue and didn't put it down until 3am when I finished. I just couldn't wait to see what fun happened in the next chapter. Thank you so much for the book and the stories shared in Wheels Up.
When I saw this book available through giveaways, I wanted to read it since I have a son who is an airline pilot. I was pleased to win a copy and get some idea what could be so funny in the cockpit. The book is set up with each chapter a different episode of the author's antics before, during and after he was a pilot. The antics were most often "jokes" he plays on other people. I have always wondered about certain people that think themselves free to trick others into worry and humiliation. I didn't find the stories thoughtful or funny at all and I actually grew to dislike him the more I read. The book was nothing like what I expected. I began to think that the author missed the opportunity to share with the readers the excitement of sitting in a captain's chair and guiding 300 people to their next destination. (Surely some child asked him a funny question along the way) Instead,the "cock"pit idea surely focuses on the macho meanness of most of his story telling. The other disappointment was that many of the incidents did not even happen in a plane. I thought it was perhaps my feminine sensitivity for those that are used or manipulated for someone else's enjoyment that made me dislike reading the book, but I asked a guy to read the book and he put it down after reading just one chapter in the middle of the book. "Not for me" he said.
I won an advanced reading copy paperback of “WHEELS UP (Sky Jinks in the Jet Age)”, a collection of short tales by Steve Taylor, on Goodreads.com and am posting an honest review. I gave it a rating of 3 stars.
Taylor relates 22 brief stories about his early desire to become a pilot, his time at The Citadel, his stint as an Air Force pilot, his career as a Delta Airlines pilot, and his retirement years. Some are anecdotes, some are pranks he pulled alone or with co-conspirators, and others are accounts of pranks pulled on him. I found some tales amusing, but none were really hilarious.
One story involved Taylor pranking a man with a sick dog. As an animal lover, I found it cruel and insensitive.
The story I most enjoyed didn’t involve any humor. It detailed Taylor’s efforts to make a Bowie knife while in high school. When he couldn’t complete his project satisfactorily, he sought help from an old blacksmith who provided the solution to his problem. As payment, the man elicited a simple promise from Taylor. It took over fifty years, but the debt was finally paid off. A great tale in an otherwise mixed bag of incidents through the years.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Goodreads' First Reads giveaways, with the request I write a review, but the opinions below are my own and not influenced by anyone else.
I'd give this book 3.5 stars, and am therefore rounding up. Overall, the author spins wonderful tales, but, given the title of the book, I would have preferred more of a focus on the behind-the-scenes look at air travel from the vantage point that only a commercial airline pilot can provide. While there are numerous and humorous chapters about air travel, there are stories that run the gamut from the author's experience at the Citadel (which I consider background for the overlying theme), to those of him going hunting, blacksmithing, and farming (which do not really relate to the title or theme of the book).
This book should have either been marketed as a memoir, or edited to focus on the airline stories in my opinion, but overall this is a good read with some interesting looks at what goes on behind those cabin doors (or did go on, pre-9/11).
I liked this book, its exactly as advertised, a bunch of stories from the long career and personal life of a pilot. Much of the book details practical jokes that he was involved in, usually as the culprit! There were several moments that had me laughing out loud, including one that was so hysterical I had to put the book down and walk away to give myself a moment before continuing.
I am not one for practical jokes normally, but I'm not here to judge anything about that. The book was well done, some heartfelt moments and interesting behind the scenes tales from the Air Force and commercial aviation. I'm definitely one of those little boys that grew up dreaming of being a pilot so this was a fun set of situations to read about, regarding a career path I never took, but often wondered about.
I received this book as a giveaway from goodreads.
3.5 stars, so I rounded up. I enjoyed Mr Taylor's collection of stories for the most part. My only critique is that the title of the book, Wheels Up: Sky Jinks in the Jet Age, was a bit misleading. I expected more inside the flight industry stuff but the book is more of a collection of pranks an shenanigans that the author played out over both his career and personal life. But, in the end, the stories were enjoyable so, 4 stars for this one.
I got this book from goodreads first reads. I wasn't really sure what I was getting into when I got this book but I'm very glad I got the chance to read it. The whole thing is riddled with pilot humor at its fines. I did anticipate it having more flying or aviation related stories than it did so I was slightly disappointed but the slice of life memoir was still very pleasant and fun to read. The author is a wonderful storyteller and that really comes out in the writing.
An accomplished pilot, author Steve Taylor writes down his fondest life memories in this book. What comes across so wonderfully is the honesty of his narration. Whether recalling a practical joke or reminiscing over a powerful life moment, the text exudes a clear sense of identity. There is no politically correct finesse. And it's this raw truth, a look at growing up just one generation removed from today's world, that offers something fresh.
I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.
With few exceptions, I truly enjoyed all the anecdotes contained within. The author's love of his profession was clear from the first page. While some of the stories didn't impress me that much (some of the pranks played seemed extremely childish), overall I thought it was a great compilation.
Received this book via GoodReads, and what a fun romp it was to read! Even the parts that were "serious" were so funny! I often "lol"ed, I couldn't help myself! From the very first moment I opened the book, I could tell this was going to be a great read, and it was. Other memoirists should take a hint from Taylor -- THIS is the way to write your autobiography!
Wheels up: Sky Jinks in the Jet age by goodreads author: Captain Steve Taylor
This was a very easy read , that kept me smiling as I turned the pages. Taylor's reputation as a practical joker , Delta pilot, and Air Force shows how much he really enjoyed life and flying. I love the book!