One of the best reasons to become a pilot, especially if you are from a cold and gray place, is the chance to surface from the world of clouds; to know that sunlight will be present on nearly every day of your working life,” writes Mark Vanhoenacker in Skyfaring, his evocative volume of observations on air travel.
The style and sensitivity of Vanhoenacker’s writing suggests that he’s as much a poet as a pilot. He infuses his writing with a boyish sense of wonder and an almost spiritual optimism.
Vanhoenacker, the gay son of a former priest, grew up in Massachusetts, and studied history in college. Having taken flying lessons since his high school days, he became a commercial pilot at age 29 and now flies 747s for British Airways.
Reading Skyfaring, or his occasional pieces in the New York Times and other publications, one is struck by the two ingredients that add up to Vanhoenacker’s particular gift as a writer: attention to detail and relentless curiosity.