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As a pilot (though I don't fly for a living), I remember well the infamous incident of which Joe Balzer was a part. I remember wondering how they could do what they did. When they were sentenced, I remember thinking that they got what they deserved.
Listening to Joe's account of that tragic moment in the lives of three pilots and Joe's struggle to regain his life was at times painful and often moving. His experience in the criminal justice system was particularly wrenching, as was his up-again-down-again effort to remake his flying career.
Although Balzer's writing and narration are clearly heart-felt and very compelling, there was one thing that really troubled me about the book: his bitterness toward the airline and the other two members of the flight deck on that fateful day. When he hears that the captain regained his license and eventually his job (the captain in question eventually retired from the airline as a 747 captain), he is clearly angry. Does he have any idea what that captain went through in order to accomplish that...what his life changes might have been like?
The fact that Balzer can say almost nothing good about the captain, save one feeble effort near the end, and the fact that the first officer has never contacted him since the trial, makes me wonder if Joe isn't quite the kind of person we would want him to be as we hear his story.
In the end, I congratulate him for his courage and persistence, but I'm left with some lingering questions about the true dynamics of that flight crew...especially what Joe's role in it might really have been.
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Where does Flying Drunk rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
In my personal top 20!
Who was your favorite character and why?
Clearly the author...this was a heart wrenching story of a man that was forced to deal with his personal demon (alcohol); through the huge impact it had on him personally and professionally, and how leaning on the Lord delivered him from a life of bondage while at the same time growing him as a father, husband and a child of God. His path of redemption was one that many can benefit from.
What does Joseph Balzer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Emotion...having Joseph read the book brought a level of emotion that one would not otherwise get by reading it.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
Well done...this story renewed my faith in humanity! As Yogi Berra once said, "it ain't over until it's over!" God is good!