Flights of No Return
Flights of No Return: aviation history’s most infamous one-way tickets to immortality, Steven A. Ruffin, 2015, ISBN 9780760347928, 256 pp., 43 color images + 46 b/w images
Steven Ruffin has created an insightful compendium of an unfortunate, though significant, aspect in aviation history — flights which never arrived at their intended destinations. Reasons vary widely why these incidents came to be but this is no simple collection of stories. Ruffin has investigated each one through primary sources and objectively studied the rest to form unbiased conclusions, or at least findings. This is no sensational journalistic preaching-to-the-choir piece — it is a book for reference, awe and education. His research brings the people involved to life making this a good historical work, as well, since the thought processes of the people of the times can be better understood — so that the reader can be placed into the times.
Ruffin is right, too, in that much can be learned from these flights from safer aviation, crime solving or just bad luck. Each story is filled with its unique intrigue and personality. Of course, some stories end tragically but many have happy enough conclusions. All stories are objectively addressed — even ones with many conspiracy theories like that of Amelia Earhart — Ruffin lays out the pros and the cons of each potential solution.
Get Flights of No Return for its honest assessment of known, as well as less known, flights into aviation’s history. Each made aviation safer and seen as a whole this book concisely encapsulates a significant span of aviation history.
As is the publishing business custom, Zenith Press and On-line Bookstore provided a copy of this book for an objective review.