Book Review By Joseph Gleason
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LOST IN OSCAR HOTEL
Written by: Gordon Murray
Reviewed by: Joseph J. Gleason
This is a very pleasant and well composed quick and easy read with a collection of clear well positioned and composed colorful photos of this author’s real life experience flying the J-3 Cub in a record setting 10 day celebration over its 75th anniversary, landing full stop at 88 remote runways touching down in every county in the State of Ohio.
Without any electrical system on board either plane, Vietnam veteran flight surgeon and pilot Ron Siwik chases the author and sometimes leads in another Cub as the two use hand signals and wing waggles to communicate their intentions while they skirt around and sometimes through unavoidable IFR conditions.
Covering nearly 45,000 miles in ten days at speeds averaging a breathtaking 50 mph the two have plenty of time to bask in the quiet rural landscapes below as crowds of admiring and likely sometimes jealous fans joined with anxious and concerned family and friends, having followed their progress over the internet, gather at every remote grass strip stop along the way.
The author provides the reader with full documentation of the plane’s performance during each leg of the trip in a copy of the thoroughly detailed flight logs. Sitting slung in the seat of the sparsely furnished cockpit and listening to the engine drone for the duration of several short hops during the 8-10 hour days as they plod along their zigzag flight pattern, necessarily modifying the product of months of advanced planning and adjusting to adverse weather conditions, the two pilots bond with their planes in ways that only small single engine solo aircraft owners can truly appreciate as they literally fly by the seat of their pants.
I say get this book, relax in your easy chair for a comfortable afternoon read, and enjoy the experience of flying expressed in the way every pilot understands. Obviously, this author has fallen in love with flying for all the right reasons and found a way to honor his everlasting love affair with words that describe the sights, sounds and emotions that unite all recreational pilots.
The J-3 Cub might be described as the gentle blonde haired vixen with the red headed attitude that has stolen the hearts of many an unsuspecting wind sailor like a serene siren of the clouds.
Before reading Lost in Oscar Hotel, I could only imagine what it was like to experience the complexity of planning and the thrill of actually executing such a long slow solo VFR flight in such a popular and readily recognizable icon of the air. If you have not had the experience of flying the very familiar tailwheel Cub, once you read this work you will want to put it on your list of things you wish you had done yourself. My hat is off to Mr. Murray and his valiant team.
Gordon Murray has practiced and perfected the art of passionate literary expression. Previous works by this author include Birdmen, Over the Moon, Flyboy, and Gizmo Zen. This book would make a wonderfully inspiring gift to student pilots of any age as well as those who have placed their daily routines ahead of their dreams. Nothing about the experience of flying a J-3 Cub ever becomes routine. The plane will take you safely beyond your comfort zone. Every flight school should include this casual pleasantly informative story on their own recommended reading list.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to have been first introduced to Gordon Murray at the 2014 Sun n Fun air show in Lakeland, Florida. I cannot wait to read more of his writing.
Reviewed by: Joseph J. Gleason