BOOKS: PILOT ERROR AND I’D HATE MYSELF IN THE MORNING

BOOKS: PILOT ERROR AND I’D HATE MYSELF IN THE MORNING

I just finished a couple of books. One, Pilot Error by Phaedra Hise is a book about a small plane crash in October of 1998 which killed the pilot. A lawyer, Ron Sinzheimer, was flying a Grumman Traveler from Albany, New York to Provincetown Cape Cod when it went down in the ocean as he approached the small airport in bad weather. The book describes the pilot and outlines the details of the flight in a way that keeps your interest. Sinzheimer was flying with his dog to meet his wife at Cape Cod when the plane went down. His death was by drowning. The plane was later UNAMERICAN pulled up in a fishing net and the NTSB investigated the cause. The weather required him to approach at less than 200 feet and it’s believed he misjudged how close he was to the water as he approached. The cause was determined to be pilot error while flying in marginal weather. Since Lita and I do a fair amount of flying in small planes (piloted by someone else) for fishing and other travel trips I was interested in the book. It convinced me that lawyers who fly in frequently should not be pilots. They are too often in a hurry to get where they are going and tend to over estimate their flying ability.


The other book I’d hate myself in the morning is by Ring Lardner, Jr a screen writer. He had won an Academy Award at age 28 and was highly successful. But, he was sent to prison as a result of his confrontation with the House Un-American Activities Committee and was thereafter blacklisted from working. The title of the book comes from testimony by Lardner before the Committee. When the Chairman, J. Parnell Thomas, asked him about naming people he knew to have been active in the communist party, he responded “I could answer your question sir, but I would hate myself in the morning.” His non cooperation resulted in the prison sentence after which no studio would hire him. He was one of the luck few who were blacklisted and were able, years later, to return to screen writing. Others, who had been blacklisted, were able to write under pseudonyms. Still others moved to Mexico or went to Europe. The McCarthy era was a black eye for the Constitution and America.

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