9 Feb 2019

Review: Hauling Checks

'' At Checkflight we always had the customer's best interest in mind. ''

'' Oh well, what you don't know can't hurt you. The engine seemed to be running okay. ''

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

From Goodreads:
I'm a cargo pilot. In the industry, I'm known as a "Freight Dog." I fly canceled checks and other types of high-value cargo around the country, mostly at night, in airplanes that are older than I am. Flying freight-or "work" as we call it-in small, twin-engine aircraft is a lesser known side of the aviation world. Our day starts when banker's hours end. Thousands of flights move millions of pounds of work from city to city every night while the rest of the country is asleep. We're out there in the freezing rain getting de-iced when you're laying down for bed. We're sweeping the snow off our wings with a broom at three in the morning. That horrible thunderstorm you heard last night while you were sleeping, we were flying through it. The fog you woke up to in the early morning hours, we were landing in it.

Hauling Checks is a comedy about the darker side of aviation. A cast of degenerate pilots, who work for a shady night time air cargo operation, take you on a flight through the unfriendly skies. The pilots abuse every Reg in the book in their quest to make deadlines for their high value cargo. As the company falls on hard times, management resorts to questionable measures to save the failing airline.

Hating your job is quite normal, especially if your working conditions are far from comfortable. But when you are flying a plane that was supposed to be scrapped a decade ago and most the flight-computer is so old that it isn't compatible with anything anymore, the job as a pilot doesn't seem so glamorous anymore.

Fed up with your job? So are these guys, except that they won't quit because there are no other openings available. Told in the most sarcastic first-person point of view possible, Hauling Checks brings the reader a glimpse of the world that might if there'd be no aviation authority anywhere.

I laughed with tears in my eyes most of the time. This was something else. The wit and sarcasm of narrative plus the attitude of not giving a flying poop. The image of a pilot who doesn't care about anything else but finding another job in the industry before the current airline keels over. When the pilots thought that the situation couldn't get any worse, they'll be surprised. Working for Checkflight Airlines is something akin to a nightmare in the night skies.

The plot flowed smoothly despite the constant turbulence inside the operation control centre (=their boss and Chief Pilot, The Chief) and in the air with incompetent copilots, The Co and Chip. Especially, when you know that one of them is afraid of small turbulence and the other might not even know where the aircraft's wings are located.

It says so on the cover as well, this is a satire, it's not real. Even though, at times, it feels like it could be. The events are so vividly described as if they had really happened before. I know there are people out there who are asking if the author got the facts right. Or did he just read about flying on the internet and then wrote the book without any real experience? I can say that is not true. The author himself is/has been in the industry for quite a while, so he knows what he's talking about. And again, it says on the cover and on the inside that it's a satire and fiction. The real world of the Freight Dogs is not the life described in Hauling Checks.

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