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The Rogue Aviator: In the Back Alleys of Aviation is a memoir of an adventurous and fun-loving pilot who experienced a unique and tumultuous career. An additional theme of this book is an insider's view of the commercial aviation industry and the degradation of safety that results when concern for the company’s bottom line trumps the concern for the safety of the aviation operation. The current front-and-center issue of pilot fatigue frequently enters the narrative with many personal anecdotes and a discussion of the FAA's complicity in the problem of tired pilots at the flight controls.

The book is filled with improbable and implausible aviation scenarios that will leave the reader slack-jawed in disbelief. All of the stories are non-fiction but a few are third-party word-of-mouth anecdotes that were shared by aviator colleagues. The underlying theme of the entire book is the unique trials and tribulations that a professional pilot might encounter during his/her career. Ace also elaborates on the jet-set “lifestyle of the rich-and-famous” as he vacations (while on the job) at world class resorts and enjoys five-star restaurants and hotels on a school teacher’s salary while hobnobbing with celebrity icons such as Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, and Jack Nicklaus.

Ace Abbott, a rogue aviator, and author of The Rogue Aviator, employs a roguish writing technique by presenting his memoir from the third person, omniscient perspective. His narrative relates a roller coaster-like-ride through a 36-year aviation career that highlights the exciting glamour of an aviation career as it juxtaposes the pitfalls and negative aspects of life as a professional pilot. Ace Abbott takes the reader along on high speed, low-level formation flights in the F-4 Phantom, gut-wrenching spin missions in the T-37 trainer, and Learjet landings with only a few minutes of fuel remaining. He also presents the dark side of aviation as he describes the unsavory lifestyle of the “night-freight-dog” pilot. As he oscillates from the aviation penthouse (castles in Scotland) to the aviation outhouse (a jail cell in Venezuela), he never wavers, and continues along his rocky-road career in order to avoid a real job in the non-aviation sector

Ace’s free-spirited nature would frequently take him down the path-less-traveled, and often left him with interesting and exciting challenges. His frequent ventures “outside-of-the-box” resulted in many scintillating and pulse-racing situations that very few pilots or laymen are able to experience. Pilots of all backgrounds will relate to the many “hangar-talk” anecdotes, but non- aviators as well, will enjoy this view of aviation from an insider’s perspective. The Rogue Aviator is spiced with humor but contains a smattering of decadence and debauchery to complement the pathos and poignancy of the Ace Abbott adventure.

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    Eye opening!

    As a student pilot 40 years of age with commercial ambitions, it is a bit of a scary read. Over the years I knew that the aviation industry is underpaid and over worked, but didn't know how bad it really was. This is a must read, then one must contemplate if the love of flying outweighs the the industry's downside.


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