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Flight of the Old Dog (Patrick McLanahan #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  13,972 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
Flight of the Old Dog is the runaway bestseller that launched the phenomenal career of Dale Brown. It is the riveting story of America's race for technology, overtaken by our greatest enemy's mastery of "Star Wars." The U.S. arsenal of nuclear missiles has been neutralized. America's only hope: The Old Dog Zero One, a battle-scarred bomber fully renovated with modern hardw ...more
Paperback, 404 pages
Published August 5th 2003 by Berkley Trade (first published June 1st 1987)
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Sep 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: paper, re-read
It's interesting to me to read books set in the cold war, now that my kids are old enough that I have tried to explain the cold war.

This is a band-of-misfits book with a healthy dose of improbable circumstances, but for all that, it's exactly the kind of book I keep going back to, because it is exactly what it claims to be. It's about men and women working together to accomplish an impossible mission.

Read if: you like can-do, derring-do, and awesome little character moments, like the Soviet base
Aug 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
First book I read by Dale Brown. An incredibly engrossing story. The characters are interesting and identifiable (you truly find yourself caring about them), the narration is first rate (you'll actually feel as if you're in the old B-52), and the pace is breathless.
Jared W.
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book has 416 pages, and it was published by Berkley Books. I decided to read this book because it is heavily based on aircraft, which I appreciate because my father, who was a sergeant in the Air Force, recommended this book to me. This work was a New York Times Bestseller.
The main character of this book is Captain Patrick McLanahan, a B-52 navigator; however, General Elliot of the Dreamland projects can be classified as the other main character. Both men work together on the critical miss
John Boettcher
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I believe I read this book while I was in 7th grade, after I had finished up with everything that Clancy had put out at that point, and was looking for something to fill the void.

Well, Flight Of The Old Dog was it.

Absolutely blew me away. I am pretty sure that I recommended this book through high school to anyone who would listen, and I doubt many did, about how fantastic this book is.

The story was written and still takes place during the cold war, which unfortunately, I am JUST old enough to
David Williamson
May 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
What happens next to Patrick Mclanahan and his crew? Such a question rarely entered my mind. While this book was filled with copious amounts of tech specs and enough aeronautic jargon to make one feel like you are taking an aerospace engineering course. There is so much that it feels the actual story and characters are muddied down with it. It's always good to give enough information for the reader (especially one unfamiliar with the science) something to go on to understand what’s happening and ...more
Jun 03, 2008 rated it did not like it
The story of a stealth B-52. Yeah. It's exactly that stupid.

What begins as just this author's pet "what if..." scenario just slides off a cliff as the book progresses. Apparently Dale Brown decided that anyone addled enough to accept the books premise would accept anything he threw at them.

Brown throws plenty.

For reasons known only to the author - a government project makes a stealth aircraft out of an airframe designed and built in the 1950's.

Then the entire universe conspires to create a scena
Cody Jensen
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was ok

Purely speculative military fiction makes a pretty interesting novel, if not entirely believable. Characters were cookie cutters, and the ending line made me want to vomit. Actually the ending line made me knock off one star.

You cannot end a book on a happy romantic note between two characters that only showed mild interest in one another throughout the whole story. Perhaps 40 words were dedicated to their relationship in the whole 300ish pages. Sorry, the ending just kind of ruined it for m
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this book as a kid, most of my mates would be reading sciFi or Fantasy books but I would always look for something else. Stumbled across this book one day and it was a quick read. An old recondition bomber, an awesome crew and a mission from hell. The plot keeps you tense all the way to the end, throughout the story I was constantly blown away that the bomber and crew kept taking a beating and yet were still going. A good fun adventure, might have to re-read one day.
A reasonably good debut effort for this series. The story offers enough drama and the characters are interesting for the most part. Occasionally the author gets carried away with mind numbing techno babble but the reader can easily bypass these parts.
It is funny how you can have a different experience when reading a book at various times in your life. I remember when I first read this book [back when it first came out], I liked some of it but overall I was not impressed with the book. My appreciation and enjoyment of the book has steadily increased with each reading. It was probably a good five to ten years between the first and second time I read it; this is my fourth or fifth time reading it. It moves at a good pace. It does take time to b ...more
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent... enjoyed this book immensely
Craig Thomas
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The first and Best McClanahan novel
Jim Jackson
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a second reading for me. I read it in the late eighties. It was just as enjoyable the second time around. I have been a fan of Dale Brown's books since this one was released.
Dave Edlund
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dale Brown takes the reader back 30 years to the Cold War when tensions between the US and the USSR were high. Yes, the USSR. Certain aspects of the plot are dated, but in a strange twist tensions between the US and Russia have once again peaked. Some of the technology is also dated--the Star Wars missile defense initiative that was so favored by President Ronald Reagan, not to mention the aged B52 strategic bomber. As a child living in Sacramento, CA, I recall seeing B52s take off and land at t ...more
David S.
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Finished reading the debut novel of Dale Brown early in the morning. Very exciting action scenes, and because it is set in the cold war era, you can't help but do a little stroll down memory lane with the Americans taking on the evil Ruskies!!!

I know for a fact that I would have enjoyed reading this novel so much more 25 yeara ago. But, it still stands up nowadays.

The one unique aspect of this book is that Brown literally places his readers square in the cockpit of a B-52 bomber. By the end of
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military, action, thriller
#1 in the Patrick McLanahan series.

Patrick McLanahan series - The story of a secret highly modified B-52 bomber flying into Russia on an impromptu strike mission. Americans discover the existence of a Soviet ground-based laser in the Kamchatka Peninsula. Although Moscow insists that the system does not violate existing strategic accords such as the ABM Treaty, their frequent use of the laser in striking vital US assets challenges Washington's patience before the UN. Meanwhile, Gen. Bradley Ellio
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A full on action packed novel, albeit one with a slightly unbelievable plot. That doesn't take away from the fun and enjoyment I had in reading it. Tensions mount between the USA And USSR as it becomes apparent that the Soviets have a working ground laser and have used it on American personnel. As diplomatic moves breakdown and a bombing raid is betrayed and blocked off an experimental B-51 and its test crew are sent to try and destroy the laser. They only just escape an attack on the secret res ...more
Sep 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Fair, just fair. The plot is decent, as is the storyline, but there are many improbable or even impossible situations. Weapons, locations, etc. are mostly fictitious but use some real elements to portray an air of realism for those who don't know any better.
For readers that value realism and accuracy, this book will be lacking. If you just want a read which entertains with much artistic license, you will probably enjoy it.
Proofing of this book is some of the poorest I have ever seen, with many e
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paper
I re-read this book for the first time in several years. It held up fairly well . Certainly not Clancy-level plot development but the action is really good.

The big bad Russians built a laser capable of shooting down satellites , missiles, planes, etc. and started using it. Brown never explains WHY this happens, but it does. Brad Elliot and Patrick Mclanahan are the only ones who can stop it, flying an incredible mission into Russia with a heavily modified B-52 bomber.

The technology and the mil
Eric Lazarian
Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it
I read and older paperback edition of this while I was going through my Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan phase. I have always loved military history and science fiction and this book sort of combined the two worlds. If you are a pilot or a veteran of the cold war era you will also enjoy this work. Imagine a souped up B-52 with stealth-era retrofitting combining power with stealth and a critical mission and you'll pretty much get the gist of this one. The plane turns out to be the real hero in this one. Whil ...more
Ryan Balazi
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-books
Great story of what could have happend during the cold war era. Also touches on the spy era and secrecy of government conspiracies in an essence of what the government may or may not be doing. Elements in the story relates to technological secrecy and is placed in the end of the cold war era and is quite descriptive of aviation which it is centered around. Also resembles a tale of something out of the 1950 and 60's with its adventure style antics. Great book
Michael Burhans
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military-fiction
I'd read a couple Dale Brown books and enjoyed them. Found a bunch at a used book sale and am catching up on the rest. Despite some situational absurdities this was a fun and exciting book. One forgets today just how scared we were as a nation of the USSR. This brought back some of those feelings. Of course they never would have sent a manned plane in for this mission when cruise missiles would have done the job just as well, but there is no excitement in that now is there!
Roy Szweda
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technothriller
Bought and read aeons ago when I used to travel a lot in the US. One of those to file under unputdownable. What a debut! Clancy strayed off into politics away from the machinery of war. Thankfully DB is still mining this rich vein which is why I come back to this one intent on reading them all again right up to date! Anything with B52s and Vaarks in it has my attention!
May 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
I think I will go back and read the book. The abridgement to audio kept a lot of the suspenseful detail as it related to the mission, but they seemed to run out of CD space to adequately do the wrap up from the other perspectives. I was on the edge of my seat, but I know that there was a lot missing that would only have added to the story!
Jun 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fic-dale-brown
The first of the McLanahan series does not disappoint. Here we learn of his meager beginnings (I've read his space-plane books) in a B-52 called the Old Dog.

Great story: fast-paced, technically believable, and just enough backstory to be useful but not boring.

Brown knows his stuff and knows how to spiff up the seemingly not-so-glamorous mundane aspects of flight and Air Force routine.
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
A little overloaded with technical side of aircraft. Found it predictable and will not be chasing any follow up stories. Thought I would enjoy as much as stories like "Hunt the Red October".
Having said that I did enjoy "Tin Man" may be the author had refined his style of story felling?!!!!
If you’re looking for political adventure similar to the work of Tom Clancy, you may like Dale Brown. Flight of the Old Dog is the first in his Patrick McLanahan series, and one of his most popular titles.
Friedrich Haas
Not my usual genre, straight mainstream novel, but the military focus on the B-52 was the draw for me. It's always interesting to get into someone else's world when written by someone who lived it. Of course it goes over the top, but is fascinating and entertaining, as well as informative.
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was my first Dale Brown book but it certainly won't be my last. This was really a page-turner. I had a hard time putting it down once it got rolling. I'm planning to read Brown's other books in chronological order and would recommend this book to anyone who wants a fun and intense read.
James Lassiter
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-fiction
This book hooked me on Dale Brown. In this book I felt like I knew the actual systems being employed and that I knew the people evolved. Dale Brown is one of my favorite writers. Found for 65 cents in a Goodwill in Bremerton WA.
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Former U.S. Air Force captain Dale Brown is the superstar author of 25 consecutive New York Times best-selling military-action-aviation adventure novels: FLIGHT OF THE OLD DOG (1987), SILVER TOWER (1988), DAY OF THE CHEETAH (1989), HAMMERHEADS (1990), SKY MASTERS (1991), NIGHT OF THE HAWK (1992), CHAINS OF COMMAND (1993), STORMING HEAVEN (1994), SHADOWS OF STEEL (1996) and FATAL TERRAIN (1997), TH ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Patrick McLanahan (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • Night of the Hawk (Patrick McLanahan, #2)
  • Sky Masters (Patrick McLanahan, #3)
  • Day of the Cheetah (Patrick McLanahan, #4)
  • Shadows of Steel (Patrick McLanahan, #5)
  • Fatal Terrain (Patrick McLanahan, #6)
  • The Tin Man (Patrick McLanahan, #7)
  • Battle Born (Patrick McLanahan, #8)
  • Warrior Class (Patrick McLanahan, #9)
  • Wings of Fire (Patrick McLanahan, #10)
  • Air Battle Force (Patrick McLanahan, #11)

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