This book had a most special cause! The writer of the book crashed a couple of years ago with a para motor (a parachute in combination with a hair-dryer) somewhere in the Mojave dessert. He had to save himself and in the end it led to an involuntarily hospital visit. He searched the internet on ‘crash landings whereby everybody survived’ and so came up with the idea for this book! Dietmar Eckell was lucky to at least once have a ‘happy end’ and that inspired him for more!.. Happy end is in its essence a photobook with photos of 15 different airplanes at distant places in all parts of the world except Asia. Most airplanes he went to look at, lie in Canada and Alaska. The airplanes have once ended up on those special locations because of emergency landings, the crew and eventual passengers were in all occasions saved and the airplanes remained there for years…10, 20, 30…some even 70 years long…and often without further being touched by human hands.
Dietmar Eckell is a photographer and you can see that in his photos. Razor sharp, artistic, good composition and creative. With ‘creative’ I especially mean the air photos that have been taken from all airplanes. I first thought that he often had been somewhere with a helicopter, but that turned out not to be the case. He used a ‘Quadcopter’ (yes, you do read it right) in combination with his photo camera and that gave a couple of excellent air photos of airplanes lying in a forest, in water, a dessert, a tundra… or even on a mountain. It must have been quite an operation to get all the equipment on location. Of all the 15 airplanes 2 till 5 photos have been enclosed in this beautiful, not page numbered, book on A4 format. With each airplane compact information is given about
the type, the location, registration, the owner and the number of occupants/survivors. Next to that, in a short piece of text is stated the reason for the crash…petrol shortage, bad weather, motor failure and that kind of things. The book does in its core not go about these kind of details but about the beauty of the luck that hit the survivors, the beauty of the wreckage in the middle of nature and what erosion does with the wreckages throughout time. The design of the book is very well done and that makes that the old airplanes even look better than that they already are of themselves. Just art! Think about airplanes as the de Curtiss C-46 Commando, the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, the Fairchild C-82 Packet, Bristol 170 Freighter and Avro Shackleton and continue like this. When you see the photos, you really wished you had been able to travel with the photographer! The trips, on their own, to all these special locations must have been already most excellent. One thing I do miss and that is photos of what is left of the cockpit and the interior of the airplanes. I think that the next book of Dietmar Eckell will deal with that and I am already looking forward to it!