"Potts' writing and flying skills shine in 'Guide to Bush Flying'"
A review by Dave Sclair
General Aviation News & Flyer
Before I picked up F. E. Potts' "Guide to Bush Flying," I had never seen a book that started out with a warning and disclaimer:
"This book contains methods and/or flying techniques that have worked successfully for the author (as well as for other professional bush pilots) for many years. However, for those without the required skill, experience, or judgment, these techniques (because they utilize the edges of the airplane's performance envelope, close to the stall; or require operations low to the ground; or push weather) are very dangerous. They cannot be properly or safely learned just by reading a book, but require practical, hands-on instruction."
Well, reading that opening statement made me realize this wasn't going to be another book on bush-flying and bush pilots with lots of stories about "there I was in zero-zero..." This is a training manual for those wanting to gather some valuable information and ideas.
Fortunately, although Potts says he is simply a pilot who decided to write this book after losing a friend, he is accomplished with words and his writing is far above average. His book is easy to read, and the information is imparted readily and in a manner that is understandable. It is also well-organized, contains an excellent index and has a nice section of photos.
Potts gives lots of definitions and explanations and things to look for, how to find them and how to avoid them. He points out problem areas, such as the thaw period when frozen lakes and rivers can be even more hazardous than normal.
Least you think there is no levity in his book/manual, let me assure you there is. Potts gives plenty of tips, but he intersperses them with personal anecdotes that usually are light.
If there is something about flying, taking care of the plane and passengers, weather and techniques that Potts has missed, we don't know what it is. He started his bush flying in 1963 and he obviously learned it well.
This is one book that is good reading for everyone who aspires to bush flying, but it also will give every pilot some good tips on everyday flying techniques.
Dave Sclair is the Co-Publisher and Editor of General Aviation News & Flyer.
Review Copyright © 1993 by Northwest Flyer, Inc., all rights reserved. 5611 76th Street West, Tacoma, WA 98467, 1-800-426-8538. Used by permission.
[Footnotes by F. E. Potts]