The Map of My Dead Pilots

Colleen Mondor
Having only had the TV show, Northern Exposure, as my reference for flying in Alaska, this was an eye opening look at flying in the last wild American frontier. Flying in Alaska is like flying no where else in America. In addition to the cold, fog, snow, and lack of visibilty, there is the tremendous pressure of flying the mail and supplies to places that have no other means of getting them. All Alaskan pilots know of other pilots who didn't make it.
Colleen Mondor, the author, worked for one of the airlines and notes how the pilots felt about flying during good weather and bad. Also, the pressures that they had from the front office and from each other. Flying in Alaska is like joining a daredevils club. You can't be too cautious.
Mondor writes about famous Alaskan rescues and losses. She notes that many airfields and roads are named after dead pilots. This book is filled with stories of close-calls and those that didn't make it. These airlines are so crucial to connecting people from all parts of Alaska to each other. The pilots know it but it is also very dangerous terrain with mountains hidden behind clouds and icing on planes. When the FAA comes to investigate crashes, it almost always is pilot error. The pilot forget where he was.
This book would be of great interest to those flying single engine or double engine planes or anyone who likes to read about adventure. It is filled with stories of the history of flying in Alaska. There are many sad stories but living like this also makes for many heroes. But sometimes the heroes wonder if it was worth it.

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