What makes FLY-OFF so authentic?
While flying airshows for the Navy, I was struck by how sincerely people wanted to know "how it feels" to fly a high performance aircraft. It wasn't until my career was cut short that I understood the pull they felt. In truth, it stings a good bit to watch a catapult launch on CNN and know I will never experience another. Flying fighters has to be the most exciting thing a person can do (at least in clothes), but it remains a dream for most of us. I close my eyes and I can still taste the oxygen and feel the pull of G's. I choose to believe that my ability to fly was exchanged for a gift of sharing the experience. You be the judge.
FLY-OFF is my second book in ten months. This sequel to CHECK SIX! puts the reader in the cockpit of six of the world's most advanced fighters, including the F-22, the EuroFighter, and the F/A-18 Super Hornet. The competition was designed to compare aircraft, but it quickly becomes a test for the pilots. Fact is, most fighter pilots - when compared against their peers - are, by definition, mediocre. I've always been intrigued by what makes the exceptional rise to the top. This novel examines what brings out the best when only the elite compete.
The characters in this series don't climb into the cockpits of their multi-million dollar aircraft so much as strap them on. Young and old - of various nationalities - some rely on hybrid computer systems, while others eschew technology for the feedback of stick and rudders. Their chemistry as an ensemble is a contrast of tension and humor. Much controversy surrounded the inclusion of a woman in the mix. In fact, it made the series a tough sell at first. But Randi Cole would respond by saying that she is simply a fighter pilot…who just happens to be a woman. Judging from the e-mail I receive, readers seem to get the gist of that distinction, even the old hands who flew fighters into combat off wooden decks.
Of course I'm hard at work on the next one. If you get a chance, drop me a line. Any fighter pilot worth his, or her, salt welcomes an honest debrief.
Bob "Banzai" Norris
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Book Description HarperTorch, 1999. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110061013544