AMERICAN SKY – Review by Bob Livingstone, Author of UNDER THE SOUTHERN CROSS and B-24 flight adviser for the movie UNBROKEN

American Sky is no ordinary book about flying; it’s as much about the people who populated Fred Tribuzzo’s world of aviation, good and bad, as it is about flight.  This is something I can relate to powerfully; after many years of thinking it was just the aeroplanes that I wanted to be around, I discovered that it was actually the people who were part of this world that I enjoyed spending time with.  We were all very different, but it was our mutual enthusiasm for aviation which bound us together.

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Costa Rica: from American Sky

“I’m preparing to die,” Alan said excitedly. “I can see it clearly. I know what I’ve done, what I can’t do—”

“This is your Costa Rican experience? Death in Central America?” I countered.

“Costa Rica is coming,” Alan said, looking for the sugar bowl as I poured his coffee.

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The Beautiful American

During training on the 737, Skip, our instructor, entertained us daily with stories from his travels as a Boeing flight instructor. A family that he had met in Russia eventually immigrated to the States. While in Russia, Skip had noted the woman’s homely face: “But then they all walk around with a sour look,” he said in his deep, scratchy voice. “And if you’re ugly, it sure makes it worse.” A few years later Skip saw the family and the same woman after making the U.S. their home. He noticed that the woman was now attractive, a real head-turner. He asked her about the transformation and she said, “You Americans taught us how to smile.”


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Night Flight

The cities below us were alien constellations. The amber lights outlined roads or clustered around downtown buildings. One city evoked the microscopic world; another the mythic realm, where the profile of an Egyptian could be seen kneeling before the darkness of the surrounding countryside. Some towns resembled crushed fireflies; others were jewels flung upon a dark lawn.


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Louisville

 

At the Seelbach Hotel in downtown Louisville, the lobby walls are constructed with several types of marble. Some of the marble, fifteen feet above the floor, is cut in long rectangles and circles. Red and brown designs in the circular cuts resemble planets; longer sections portray geological wars that span eons.

In the face of this stone I see the work of Michelangelo. The markings in these metamorphic rocks reveal nature’s endless battles—swirling flames and clouds, the cosmic force of the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Like the metamorphosis of limestone into marble, the artist underground is tortured by heat and pressure before his release into the world romance of everyday life.


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Midwest Book Review by D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, MBR

American Sky: Good Landings and Other Flying Adventures is a recommendation for any who enjoy stories of flight, documents the author’s aviation encounters, and blends a memoir of flying with a chronicle of how he moved from being an antiwar protestor in the late 1960s to becoming a corporate jet pilot. But most of all, it’s a story of how Fred Tribuzzo came to realize his dream (of flying planes), and packs in exciting moments. (more…)


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CITATION TEN: from AMERICAN SKY

 

Outside the Cleveland Clinic, Alan and I heard the rumble of an airliner buried in the clouds.

“I need to get outside every few hours, even if it’s cold,” he said, looking at the congestion of traffic and people. He glanced at the low overcast framed by the buildings. “Did Dad see the Seven-Thirty-Seven?”

“I never flew into Akron Canton with it.”

Currently I was flying the Boeing Business Jet, an extremely fancy 737 designed for only eighteen passengers, with bathrooms, showers, a master bedroom, dining room table and a large plasma TV on the forward bulkhead.

“Well, he got to see the Citation Ten,” Alan said.

“Yeah, he took a bunch of pictures and warned me about crashing before he left.” (more…)


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BOYLE’S LAW

I wasn’t sure if the man I met wandering the streets of Kansas City was a homeless person or just a bum. According to the definition, a bum is someone “who avoids work and seeks to live off others.” But the person I met never asked for money. A friend once told me hobos occasionally appeared at their front door when she was a child. Her mother would talk with the man for a few minutes before inviting him in for something to eat. Inside, the kids sat around the kitchen table bug-eyed, quietly watching the strange man eat everything on his plate. Afterwards he’d do some chores for the mom, then leave. That wasn’t my guy either. (more…)


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Christmas in the Hamptons

The main lobby at the West Hampton airport was small, with dark wood paneling and a Christmas tree in the center of the room. The tree was strung with toy drummer boys producing a mechanical version of Oh Come All Ye Faithful. The young woman closed the door halfway so I’d be alert to my passengers’ arrival, yet still have some privacy.

After finishing the cup of hot chocolate the woman had made for me, I called for our release while my first officer carried the catering and newspapers out to the plane. As she figured out the landing fee, she mentioned that a friend who had never tasted eggnog was coming over that night. She talked of making it from scratch and adding rum.

It was already dark and a light snow was falling. On his way back inside the first officer said a van with the luggage had arrived, but no passengers. The driver said they had decided to extend their visit to eleven o’clock. Christmas Eve would be spent above the clouds on a moonless night. Walking past the drum tree, I glanced toward the office. The door was partially open and the young woman was dancing by herself, completing a pirouette, her full dress still in motion.


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Lipstick and Oranges

Headed to California in the Cessna Citation, we watched the sun fall below the horizon. Bands of orange and red painted the sky, a lipstick-and-oranges sunset. The red and gold light filtered into the cockpit, softly illuminating our hands and face. The greater part of sky and earth lay in darkness. Often, this slash of red lipstick and band of orange appeared above the haze level at the higher altitudes. At times I thought I was looking at the background of all happy endings, or the celestial imprint of some greater force—the constancy of dream and nature. This sunset was at Charles Lindbergh’s back on his test flight from California to New York, and his voyage to Paris. (more…)


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