"First thing you know, you don't know nothing."

A review by Sparky Imeson
Wings West/Mountain Pilot Magazine

That aspect of aviation that provides a constant challenge and captures one's imagination is learning. When you pick up a book like F. E. Potts' Guide to Bush Flying, you realize you can never learn everything about aviation. That's the challenge: First thing you know, you don't know nothing.

I'm convinced aviation would be boring if you could learn everything about it. The more you learn, the more you realize you don't know. Because of this, aviation is a constant challenge. Potts' book will help you to master a portion of that challenge.

Life is too short. No, life is too long not to partake of the wisdom and common-sense explanations contained within these pages. Potts uses his sense of humor to divulge pertinent hints, recommendations and procedures for flying the bush. Although Potts' book deals with flying the Alaskan bush, the techniques are applicable to the lower 48, or anywhere else for that matter.

The book lets you know that Potts is a careful and knowledgeable aviator; one who flies ``by the numbers,'' which is paramount to safety. And, it also lets you know that Potts is skilled at placing words on the pages.

In the section on flying techniques, the vivid descriptions capture and enthrall. I found myself sitting in the airplane with Potts, using body English to will the airplane on its proper path. It was unnecessary. Potts handled the situation well.

* * *

Aviators like to think of themselves as knowledgeable concerning aviation matters, without maintaining a know-it-all attitude. The good pilots usually say, ``I've never met anyone who didn't know something I didn't know.'' This is a good attitude for learning. Needless to say, Potts presented an abundance of information that I did not know.

Some pilots treat their aviation books like prizes, placing them on their library shelf like a big-game trophy, to be looked at, but not touched. A book is a tool for learning, to be marked up where there is a valuable lesson or important fact that can be reviewed later. Writing in the margins is not taboo. Books are to be used. My copy of Potts' book is marked up more than most of my books. It is a usable and valuable tool in my library.

What was my only disappointment in the book? Potts touched on himself as the pilot and the man with descriptions of flight (each with its own lesson), but leaves one wanting to know more about the man. Does this mean there is another book forthcoming? I hope so.

Sparky Imeson is the Author of Mountain Flying Bible, without question the most useful book I have read on the subject. (Sparky's book is available from http://www.flightguide.com/).

Review Copyright © 1994 by Wiesner Publishing (Wings West/ Mountain Pilot Magazine), all rights reserved. 7009 S. Potomac St., Englewood, CO 80112-4029, (303) 397-7600. Used by permission.

[Footnotes by F. E. Potts]

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