The Jungle Express

The Jungle Express

By Micheal Bleriot

The Jungle Express

Author: Michael Bleriot

A Book Review by, JR Hafer

The Jungle Express by author Michael Bleriot is a fictional aviation collection of vignettes featuring adventurous pilots with mostly C-27 cargo planes over the remote jungles of Central and South America with very few Nav-aids and outdated and generalized charts, which seems to make their job a fiasco from the start.   

Michael Bleriot tells us the Amazon jungle is a spectacularly beautiful place to fly but also a dangerous place! He should know what he is talking about, he’s been there and he’s has done that! He has been a military pilot and a civilian pilot and has flown over six continents himself. 

The Jungle Express is Michael Bleriot’s second book. Both are about flying C-27s over the Jungles of Central and South America. His first book was: Memories of an Emerald World. 

Having read both books, I can only surmise they are labeled fiction only because the names were changed to protect the innocent and slight embellishments of the stories. I myself have known some of these renegade types before. God, I miss them, everyone!    

Life never gets boring in the cockpit when you fly with these characters, such as Bleriot describes in his book. The various experiences are humors, dangerous and often have you holding your sides from laughing so hard. 

It is difficult trying to find small landing strips flying over a jungle the size of the entire United States. The biggest river in the world runs through right through this jungle it and the probabilities of finding your way out after going down would be “nil at best”. 

It is understandable how one can land at the wrong airstrip and the local tribesmen hold your airplane for ransom, do you send gallons of scotch or gallons of gas? These are questions that must be answered within the pages of The Jungle Express. 

Describing the plant life and beautiful flora of the Jungle from the safety of a safe altitude is great. However, Bleriot says “I’m not wild about the thought of the animals and all of the insects buzzing around in a hot steamy jungle below me and never mind the thought of an engine-out situation, over such terrain. Reading about it is a whole other thing though”.   

The Author has certainly been a C-27 driver in real life and has extensive experience flying over South America and the Amazon Jungle otherwise he could not have done this well in describing the Amazon basin. Bleriot writing is along the lines of Harold Robins in his Air America offering, in his character development as far as the “way out” factor. 

The Jungle Express is a collection of interesting, humorous adventure aviation stories. I can see where this book could only appeal to a niche market perhaps maybe deeper than some people would like when seeking a lighter read. This book is not really light reading, one need to concentrate to follow the writer and get the full psychological impact. 

This is a book one can read for a while and sit down at the end of one story. Later to pick the book up to read a different story. There is a lot of flying in the book. I did not find a lot of “technical flying” in this though, so non aviators could enjoy the book too.  

For the reader who can enjoy the antics and cockpit humor, entertaining vignettes and the adventures of various MASH like characters, and can enjoy flying high over the Amazon Jungle, in your imagination. Actually I can imagine the throbbing of two Rolls Royce Dart turboprop engines on that C-27 right now.   

Michael Bleriot is a good writer. He has the ability to put the reader right there in the cockpit with him. Weather he is in a Bar watching the girls in Columbia or searching for that airstrip without an accurate chart in the Jungle, knowing his fuel his marginal, Bleriot captures your attention ropes you and pulls you into the story. It’s a good read. 

I recommend you get The Jungle Express by: Michael Bleriot, A MacGregor Book

JRHafer, aviation book review

3 Responses to The Jungle Express

  1. James Demming says:

    Thank you for the review. I think I will read this book you have provided me with what I needed to make me want to read it. I read your reviews and depend on them a lot so I don’t waste my money. I have found mostly that when you like a book and recommend a book I always like it too. Thank you for doing that service for us. oh by the way I am a big fan of this website and read it all the time and never get everything read. It is everything to all aviators everywhere thank you!
    Jimmy, Kingsport Tn

  2. Herkie says:

    I bought this book a month ago. Haven’t gotten around to writing a review but probably should because I liked it. Not a C-27 guy but flew Hercs and the writing in this book is spot on. I could absolutely see the stories being true. Hafer’s right that there was probably some embellishment but my own experience of 3000 hours flying airlift tells me there probably wasn’t much! You put young guys and an airplane together in an environment like South America’s jungles and you’re going to get a lot of stories. This is a good book and any pilot would enjoy it. Beyond that niche audience, yeah, maybe not because it’s mostly about flying, but the writing style is very friendly. Nothing technical in it and my son — who doesn’t fly — said he felt when he was reading like he was right there in the cockpit. So that’s a good sign for this author. A great vacation or beach book

    I just bought Bleriot’s first book, Memories of an Emerald World, but am only one chapter in so will have to report back. Apparently it talks about earlier stuff so guess I should have read it first.

    • Herkie, thanks for your endorsemment, it is always good to have one’s review commented on by someone who knoes the score. Herc and C-27 drivers, 130 and Globmaster Jocks have always amazed me with their ability to deliver the goods where they need to go and still stay sane, You know what I mean… 🙂 Right on! “JR”

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