Title: True Course – Lessons From a Life Aloft
Author: Brigid Johnson
Genre: Memoir, Aviation
The Amazon #1 bestseller from award-winning Brigid Johnson - the tale of how one woman's life in the sky forged an unforgettable destiny.
Raised in a small factory town in the 1960s, when aviation was predominantly a male profession, with parents who didn't support her ambitions, Brigid nevertheless learned to fly.
Hers was a busy life of setting limits and learning philosophies of growth and risk well beyond her years, even as she juggled two jobs, college, and a rescue Siberian husky whose wandering spirit put her own to shame.
From first solo to an airline career, and finally a decision to hang up her wings for another profession when her elderly father needed her care, Brigid captures with understanding, humor, and grace the moments that change the path of our lives.
With lyrical expression of her love for flight, she writes old and new stories of family, adventure, and the thrill of taking to the sky.
True Course is more than a memoir or a story of the lure of aviation--it's a story of learning to let the spirit soar and unfurling the wings of personal freedom, an inspiration to adventurers everywhere.
There’s not a pilot out there who hasn’t done something they regretted. Sometimes it’s nothing more than that breakfast burrito at the airport café. Sometimes it’s pushing the envelope, the weather, and their limits just a little too much.
Like any bad choice, sometimes the event leaves physical scars. But for most, the scars are internal, and you only touch them, gingerly, and with trepidation, in late night hours of retrospection. I’ve talked to many a pilot who’s had a scare, or through the hand of fate, damaged their beloved craft that they fly just for fun, and the first thing they say is “I'm never going to fly again.”
I remember the first student I ever had after getting my Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Certificate. He showed up for his $10 introductory flight lesson, and we spent about fifteen minutes cruising around the foothills of the mountains while I demonstrated the joys he would experience if only he signed up for lessons. As we started our descent for the airport, and the power was reduced, there was a huge “BANG” from the engine, and after a few belabored rotations the prop came to a halt. The prospective student looked at me and said: “Is it SUPPOSED to do that?” Uh. No.
I set it up in a glide for a small airstrip that was close by and broadcast a MAYDAY on the local Flight Service Station frequency, advising them of a total engine failure. They came back with “What are your intentions?” to which I replied, “We're going to land, you moron” or something equally professional. But we made it into the strip uneventfully with nary a scratch on the plane. I never saw the student again, and I had to give him his $10 back so I had no dinner that night.
The component in the engine that failed was replaced, and it was soon time to fly again. Was I scared? Absolutely. Did I get back in an airplane the next day? Yes, more for the desire to eat than any philosophical direction as to how I should proceed with my life. But, trust me, it would have been so easy to stay on the ground, tethered by all the emotions that a perceived failure can bring, the portent of your own vulnerability illuminated by the near accident. But I didn't then, or in later years when Mother Nature or one particularly cranky CF700 engine tried to kill me. You shouldn't.
You calm your nerves or fix your trusty steed and go back to the actuality of flight, not the dream of it. Of smooth polished wood and metal. Something you can touch and smell—a symphony of sound and curves and surfaces that displaces the air that then fills your soul. You move past your fear and enter back into that relationship with the one thing that lets you be a part of something greater than you. Yes, there's fear, but it's only for the moment. For like most true airmen you have that supreme confidence in your airborne destiny, like that of birds and their wings, that unruffled belief in your own abilities that launches you, hesitant but full-winged from the safety of the nest out into the sky, where you belong.
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
True Course was a 2019 N.N. Light Book of the Year and their review is as follows: From the time Brigid was a little girl, she wanted to fly. Her parents told her she couldn’t be a pilot and should pursue more domesticated dreams. But the fire inside her wouldn’t be vanquished. It wasn’t easy and as a woman, she got her fair share of disbelief. She learned to fly and spent the next few decades soaring in the skies. True Course is a collection of short tales filled with lyrical and descriptive narration. She shares everything from growing up in the 1960’s to learning to fly and her career in the sky as a pilot. Her passion for aviation is so evident in her prose, she makes the reader a co-pilot in the cockpit. Every thought, every emotion pours out of her onto the page. It’s breathtaking and inspiring. What makes this a five-star? Beyond what I’ve already mentioned, what stands out for me is the way Brigid Johnson’s writing feels like she’s a good friend sharing her adventures. Emotionally charged, she bares her soul to the reader. No white-washing here, she reveals both the triumphs and failures. It’s refreshing and adds to the depth of the memoir. If you’ve ever wanted to fly or are a fan of aviation, True Course is a must-read. A testament to following your heart and achieving your dreams. Highly recommend!
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L.B. “Brigid” Johnson was raised on the West Coast where she learned to fly in the 70’s, a time that saw few women entering aviation as a profession. During a furlough she got a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice and now works in that field after hanging up her wings to care for an elderly parent. She lives in Chicago with her engineer husband and two rescue Labs. 100% of her writing proceeds are donated to animal rescue.
Follow Brigid on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LBJohnson8