Hauling Checks - Alex Stone This is not literature. It's a silly novel. But if you like airplanes and a good laugh, read it.

Told in the first-person by a pilot working for Checkflight, an air transport company hauling canceled checks around the country. Before the days of digital transmission, checks and other important banking documents had to be transported around the country by small planes, and they had to operate on a tight schedule, meeting couriers at each stop, in all kinds of conditions. These operations were often low-budget, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants companies.

I learned some great flying terminology from this book. "Breaking reports in effect" at the end of an airport's weather report means that pilots landing are required to report on the condition of the runway covered with snow and ice. They use a scale of good, fair, poor, and nil. "Nil means no traction at all. Nil is the report you give as the plane is sliding off the end of the runway." He has some great stories about flying in the snow. Buffalo, by the way, is called "Buffasnow" by pilots. The story of flying into Plattsburgh in the night in the middle of a snow storm with a co-pilot who would rather play on his Gameboy is both hilarious and air-raising.

After skidding off the runway, they dig themselves out and manage to get close to the building where they have to make a tight turn to get around. He asks Co (his nickname for the copilot) to get out and "marshal" him through the turn so they don't hit anything. During the turn, he thinks he is getting too close to the fence with his wingtip, so he points to the tip while looking at Co who gives him the thumbs up. A crunch is heard. "I thought yo gave me thumbs-up?" "I did," was the response, "thumbs-up, yes, you're going to hit it." That Co was bad enough, too lazy even to help chip ice off the wings, or call dispatch to notify them of arrival, but a former co-pilot had hated to fly.

The story of checks floating from the sky because the Co forgot to close the hatch door is priceless. The Chief, president of the company kept trying to cut costs and raise revenue, suggestng they fly farm animals (the pilots had to clean it up) and passengers. They don't need seats. Since the FAA required that each passenger have a seat belt, the idea was to give them a piece of rope to tie themselves in. Then the FAA got smart and required a seatbelt and seat. Hotels are layovers were eliminated and tents issued (to be returned if leaving the company.)

The author is a pilot and real "freight dog." Remember, it's a novel and none of it is true -- I hope.