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North Star Over My Shoulder: A Flying Life


North Star Over My Shoulder: A Flying Life Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It is rare to find one person whose life embodies the history of an industry the way Bob Buck's life encompasses the history of commercial aviation in America. Buck first flew in the 1920s, inspired by the exploits of Charles Lindbergh. In 1930, at age sixteen, he flew solo from coast to coast, breaking the junior transcontinental speed record. In 1936 he flew nonstop from Burbank, California, to Columbus, Ohio, in a 90-horsepower Monocoupe to establish a world distance record for light airplanes. He joined Transcontinental and Western Air (T&WA) as a copilot in 1937; when he retired thirty-seven years later, he had made more than 2,000 Atlantic crossings — and his role had progressed from such tasks as retracting a DC-2's landing gear with a cockpit-based hand pump to command of a wide-body 747.

Buck's experiences go back to a time when flying was something glamorous. He flew with and learned from some true pioneers of aviation — the courageous pilots who created the airmail service during flying's infancy. At the behest of his employer Howard Hughes, Buck spent three months flying with Tyrone Power on a trip to South America, Africa, and Europe. He flew the New York-Paris-Cairo route in the days when flight plans called for lengthy stopovers, and enjoyed all that those romantic places had to offer. He took part in a flight that circled the globe sideways (from pole to pole). He advised TWA's president on the shift to jet planes; a world expert on weather and flight, Buck used a B-17G to chase thunderstorms worldwide as part of a TWA-Air Force research project during World War II, for which he was awarded the Air Medal (as a civilian) by President Truman.

In North Star over My Shoulder, Bob Buck tells of a life spent up and over the clouds, and of the wonderful places and marvelous people who have been a part of that life. He captures the feel, taste, and smell of flying's greatest era — how the people lived, what they did and felt, and what it was really like to be a part of the world as it grew smaller and smaller. He relates stories from his innumerable visits to Paris, the city he loves more than any other — echoing Gertrude Stein's view that "America is my country, and Paris is my home town" — and from his trips to the Middle East, including flights to Israel before and after it became a state. A terrific storyteller and a fascinating man, Bob Buck has turned his well-lived life into a delightful memoir for anyone who remembers when there really was something special in the air.

About the Author

Bob Buck is the author of four previous books, including Weather Flying and The Pilot's Burden. He lives in Fayston, Vermont, with his wife, Jean.

Table of Contents


  1. Night Flight
  2. Hooked
  3. Records
  4. Co-Education
  5. Apprentice Time
  6. Early Airplanes and How We Flew Them
  7. Way Out West
  8. Copilot Days and Nights
  9. Checkout
  10. Captain Buck
  11. The Battle of Presque Isle
  12. Intercontinental
  13. Across the North Atlantic
  14. Two Kind Words
  15. Flights of Fancy with a Purpose
  16. Distractions and Adventure
  17. Chief
  18. Around the World
  19. A Brief Debriefing
  20. Chance of a Lifetime
  21. Back on the Line
  22. Paris and Beyond
  23. A Summons from Howard Hughes
  24. Farewell to Propellers and All That Drove Them
  25. 707 Days
  26. SST or Not SST
  27. Home, and Above
  28. Around the World — Upside Down
  29. Grand Dame
  30. Fin

Product Details

A Flying Life
Buck, Bob
Buck, Robert N.
Simon & Schuster
New York
Adventurers & Explorers
Aviation - History
Air pilots
Personal Memoirs
General Biography
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9.48x6.42x1.32 in. 1.62 lbs.

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Related Subjects

» Biography » General
» Transportation » Aviation » Biographies
» Transportation » Aviation » General

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