Growing up in the shadow of Johnson Space Center and moving to Texas to welcome our last moon mission home, I wanted to be an astronaut. Combined with my love for Navy history and World War II flight ops, and unsatisfying degrees in college and law school, I joined the Navy and became a naval aviator.
Once you have learned to fly your plane, it is far less fatiguing to fly than it is to drive a car. You don't have to watch every second for cats, dogs, children, lights, road signs, ladies with baby carriages and citizens who drive out in the middle of the block against the lights. . . . Nobody who has not been up in the sky on a glorious morning can possibly imagine the way a pilot feels in free heaven.
I began to feel that I lived on a higher plane than the skeptics of the ground; one that was richer because of its very association with the element of danger they dreaded, because it was freer of the earth to which they were bound. In flying, I tasted a wine of the gods of which they could know nothing. Who valued life more highly, the aviators who spent it on the art they loved, or these misers who doled it out like pennies through their antlike days? I decided that if I could fly for ten years before I... Read more »
Then there was Nico di Angelo. Dang, that kid gave Leo the freaky-deakies. He sat back in his leather aviator jacket, his black T-shirt and jeans, that wicked silver skull ring on his finger, and the Stygian sword at his side. His tufts of black hair struck up in curls like baby bat wings. His eyes were sad and kind of empty, as if he’d stared into the depths of Tartarus—which he had.