Pan Am Ferry Tales

A World War II Aviation Memoir


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SKU: 9781476686820 Categories: , , , Tags: ,

About the Book

During World War II, an eccentric band of barnstormers, stunt flyers and commercial pilots joined military recruits to form the Pan American Air Ferries. These civilian pilots helped develop a strategically crucial and highly efficient system for shuttling aircraft to Allied forces around the world that contributed significantly to key campaigns throughout the war. W. Gordon Schmitt’s engaging, often amusing memoir recounts the close calls and indelible characters he encountered as navigator in the PAAF, from Brazil to Africa to the Middle East and beyond.

About the Author(s)

The late W. Gordon Schmitt served as a navigator for the Pan American Air Ferries and later the U.S. Air Force from 1942 to 1945.

Peter Schmitt of Miami, Florida, is the author of six collections of poems.

Bibliographic Details

W. Gordon Schmitt
Edited by Peter Schmitt

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 199
Bibliographic Info: 34 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8682-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4646-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Editor’s Introduction by Peter Schmitt 1
One. The War Approaches 11
Two. A Troubling Diagnosis 14
Three. Taking Off 22
Four. Training in Miami 29
Five. On Our Way: Port o’ Spain, Belém, Natal 42
Six. Crossing the Atlantic: Destination, Africa 53
Seven. Kano to Khartoum, Cairo to Tehran 63
Eight. Back in the States 77
Nine. Ascension 87
Ten. The Dark Continent: Incident at Kano 94
Eleven. “You’re in the Army Now!” 110
Twelve. The Northern Route: Through Iceland to Scotland 122
Thirteen. Close Calls in Nashville 135
Fourteen. Adventures with the “Fireball Express” 147
Fifteen. Characters Unforgettable 166
Sixteen. May 1945: Going Home! 177
Postscript: An Essay Contest 183
“What I Consider Requisites for a Private Pilot” 187
Index 191

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Engaging, often amusing…impressively informative and inherently interesting…extraordinary and recommended”—Midwest Book Reviews

• “Schmitt’s ability at written communications describing places, people, and events in detail is enviable making it difficult to set the book aside until the last page has been turned.”—Speed Readers