Join Barry Schiff on an amazing journey across time and space as he flies and brings home reports on some of aviation’s most rare and popular aircraft. Dream Aircraft documents his lifelong voyage flying aircraft that pilots and aviation enthusiasts dream of flying. Some of these aircraft are so rare that most pilots have never even seen one, let alone had a chance to fly them.
Each chapter is dedicated to a different aircraft as the author describes the unique aspects and performance characteristics: exactly how it feels to be behind the control wheel (or stick, as it may be). The book is dripping with detail and gorgeous images that will immerse the reader in an experience like no other. From the nostalgia of the Spirit of St. Louis, to the popular WWII fighter P-51 Mustang, to the exciting Lockheed U-2, this book is the who’s who and how-to on some of the most remarkable aircraft ever developed.
Barry Schiff’s expertise in and passion for aircraft have made him one of the most sought-after aviation journalists in the world. He has amassed more than 26,000 hours in over 300 types of aircraft and received worldwide recognition for his wide-ranging accomplishments. During his 34-year career with Trans World Airlines (TWA) he flew everything from the Lockheed Constellation to the Boeing 747. He remains active in the aviation community as a vigorous advocate for general aviation and one of the most respected authorities on pilot proficiency, human factors education, and aviation safety.
Barry’s profound gift for storytelling and universal appeal are apparent more than ever in this beautifully woven tale of discovery. Dream Aircraft is an extraordinary work that aviation enthusiasts will treasure for years to come.
As you might expect, few aviation books or articles provide much useful information to highly knowledgeable pilots who already have a great deal of flying experience. One exception is Barry Schiff’s series of articles which have appeared in the Australian AOPA magazine for several years. These articles provided so much information and entertainment I bought the series that spawned his column.
Barry’s very broad spectrum aviation piloting background and years of writing have made him exceptionally readable on a broad spectrum of aviation topics and I am sure there is no one out there who will not learn from his artful prose. In Volume 2 of his The Proficient Pilot Series he mentions the oft proffered saw that an aviation license is simply a license to learn. It’s so true. In fact, many pilots pass their tests and obtain their PPL only to have their knowledge and flying skills slowly erode through the years. To be honest, my “book-based” aviation knowledge may have peaked in my early twenties as an RCAF multi-engine flying instructor after two years of intensive training. Mind you, one learns a great deal from operational flying afterwards and since my entire life rotates around aviation there is a great deal of immersion and constant review. And yet there were significant new facts well presented in every chapter of the series. This makes me wonder about the busy businessman or private/pleasure aviator who is deeply involved in so many of life’s other aspects? Is he/she still safe, and will their current aviation knowledge be adequate to handle any emergency situations? There have been four fatal aircraft accidents in B.C. in the last week and I wonder how many of these might have been avoided with more knowledge and honed skills.
As an example of the books’ content, I’ll wager that many pilots no longer know their aircraft’s Vy or Vx speeds nor the difference between them and how to maximize performance with each – and these are basic knowledge. I’ll venture few aviators are aware of the effects of C of G movement on Vso or altitude on Vne! Mr. Schiff not only explains their meanings and relevance, but also expands readers’ knowledge with in-depth explanations to greatly expand one’s understanding of the important significance of these airspeeds – and many more. This not only increases a pilot’s knowledge but also the likelihood that the important information is retained. The series is also useful for aviators going beyond private flying as the author provides useful and fascinating information on military and airline jets, propjets and other diverse aircraft categories. Pilots who digest all this good stuff will truly be more knowledgeable than their peers. If the chapters in Barry’s books don’t increase your knowledge and improve your pilotage skills, you are beyond learning. Although the series is produced by an American author, there are very few references made that are not entirely applicable to Canadian aviation and the few minor differences are obvious.
His offerings include The Proficient Pilot, Volumes 1-3 and Test Pilot: 1,001 Things You Thought You Knew About Aviation. The three-volume set should be read first as the author covers a very broad spectrum of aviation topics (in-depth), and corrects many of our misconceptions while at the same time expanding our general knowledge on those topics. Test Pilot is a tome with 1,001 questions and answers that will challenge virtually all of us to obtain a correct score of 60%! Sections include: History, Piloting, Navigation, Weather, Airline and Military, Aircraft, Facts of Flight, as well as Procedures and Regulations. The fascinating facts within make this book a great Christmas or birthday gift that will provide hours of entertainment and education. Truth to tell, I had trouble putting it down once I got going as every wrong answer made me want to answer a few more to up my average. Mind you, once I went back and read The Proficient Pilot Series it became apparent that many of the answers were provided within those volumes and that Test Pilot is a natural follow up text.
My personal opinion is that these four books are the most beneficial that I have added to my very large aviation library in years. Individually, or in a series these books are an excellent gift!
Director Canadian Owners and Pilots Association
Director Recreational Aircraft Association