Sunday, March 7, 2010
Amazon Product Description. 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.
Review. Examining the hilarious underside of the cargo shipping business is Hauling Checks by Alex Stone. The narrator is a “freight dog,” a cargo pilot, employed by Checkflight, a company that primarily transports checks for banks. Unfortunately, for Checkflight the modern world is transitioning from paper instruments of payment to electronic payments. This drives the unscrupulous company to extreme cost-cutting measures such as using barely serviceable planes to employing pilots with sketchy or non-existent credentials.
As Checkflight’s business situation worsens the Chief, the owner, concocts increasingly desperate measures to keep the company flying, including, transporting farm animals; illegal drugs; and money laundering. In the midst of this chaos is the narrator, a relatively conscientious pilot, who is surrounded by a cast of misfits, drunkards, pathological liars, and other degenerates.
Stone is a talented writer with a deft comedic touch. For instance, witness this passage:
What’s your first instinct when the Feds show up for a ramp check? Show them your certificates? Maybe if you work for another airline. If you work for Checkflight, set the plane on fire and run for the fence. If you get caught, deny everything, claim you’ve never seen the plane before in your life.
Hauling Checks is an irreverent and entertaining read!
Publisher: CreateSpace; 1st edition (November 12, 2009), 166 pages.
Advance review copy provided courtesy of the author.