Review 276 Turn and Burn: A Fighter Pilot’s Memories and Confessions- Darell J. Ahrens
The Life of a fighter pilot
This book ‘Turn and burn’ is written by a fighter pilot who fought in the Vietnam war and flew a big variety of jets. Many fighter pilot’s wrote their biography and in general it is always worth reading especially for people interested in the flying business or flying themselves. Those books always start with describing their youth and school period and the long hard way to become a pilot in the USAF. This book is different. Darell took another path to describe his time as a pilot. He randomly tells his stories about the operations in the air and then back to his time in which he was trained to become a fighter pilot so there is no chronological follow up in his stories.
Also the blunders
He came into the training program through the Air National Guard and from his book it appears that he was flying many different types from fighters (the F-100 Super Sabre) and fighter bombers like the F-105 Thunderchief and F-4 Phantom both during the Vietnam war and in peace time. He explains in a very understandable way the technicalities and flight characteristics of the jets he flew and includes very much the human factors. He doesn’t avoid in telling us also about his mistakes and blunders during his career so the book involves strongly the human factor. Darell is a religious men and he reflects that clearly several times in his book.
…nearly poetic way his love and affection for flying
One of his nicest stories is his description of a FCF (functional check flight) in a F-4 Phantom in which he describes in a nearly poetic way his love and affection for flying. I loved that part very much. Also his overseas adventures (read European) reserve an important and fun reading part of the book. The last paragraph contains an extensive political statement about the dramatic involvement of the USA in the Vietnam war (and other more recent wars) and a warning for the thread of wrong political decisions to start a war based on false and dishonest arguments.
The role of religion described
Here again the author strongly reflects his personal philosophy that religion must be the base for keeping peace but also for an effective strategy in restoring peace after an aggressive conflict. The reader is confronted with an author who is not afraid to make a firm standpoint of his view towards religion, dishonest politics and jihadist terrorism. The reader may not agree with Darell Ahrens’ approach towards these specific items but it is an interesting and a non conformistic part of this biography worth reading. Overall a book that deviates from the standard aviation adventures of a fighter pilot so surely recommended.