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For the past ten years, I have been encouraging Herb Halperin to publish his book on the 1994 Arc-en-Ciel round the world air race and I am happy to report that he did just that. I have had two complete readings of the book and to assist him in meeting the costs of publication I have purchased at list price the first 100 copies. I highly recommend the book to all of you.

The well written books on around the world flying adventures are timeless. This true story of an adventure that transpired a decade ago could just as easily be about an adventure that concluded just last year. I am reminded of how certain well written aviation books endure as I recently had the opportunity to procure a copy of Charles Lindbergh's "WE". It is as fresh today as it was the first time I read it in the 5th grade. While in the 5th grade the dictionary really got a work out, my latest reading was fast and smooth.

I was on this ATW trip described by Herb and I interacted quite a bit with him. He served as co-pilot for Willie Tashima in Willie's Beech A-36 Bonanza. I noted during the trip the incredible amount of notes and voice tape recordings being made by Herb and thought that there was a book in the making. There was and and here it is.

We were a fairly loose gaggle of 14 airplanes and crews for this trip. We aimed to stay overnight in the same city and therefore used the same airport at the overnight points. Beyond that we flew our own routes and picked our own refueling points. On occasion we were able to talk to another airplane from our group on our common communication frequency 123.45 VHF. For instance, on the first leg crossing the Atlantic I used Lajes airport for refueling while Herb and Willie used Santa Maria, both in the Azores. We were able to talk to one another as we neared the coast of Africa enroute to the overnight destination of Marrakech.

What makes Herb Halperin's book quite different than the one written by my copilot Dennis Stewart is the deviation that Herb and Willie made from Istanbul to Agra India and the unique experience they had in ice on the Petropovlosk to Anchorage leg. In the first instance they fell behind the group because of equipment failures and in the second instance they took a slightly different route then the rest of us which caused them to put down in King Salmon Alaska and catch up with the rest of the group the next day. Herb's recounting of how, abandoned by the support group, he and Willie solved their problems is truly exciting reading.

Among the unique and differentiating qualities of this book is Herb' age at the time we did this trip. He was the second oldest crewmember, two months junior to Margaret Rigenberg who flew as part of an all female three person crew. People have asked me over the years if it was foolhardy for a person in their seventh decade to undertake such a flying adventure. Herb provides the answer to that question.

The 1994 Arc-en-Ciel around the World air race allowed aircraft with widely different performance specifications to actually race as each airplane was pitted against its own book value performance numbers. In my case my max cruise spec was taken at 25,000 ft and I flew the course on average at 11,000 ft and at a significantly higher gross weight than the book specification so I was out of the running from the get go. Dennis and I are not much interested in racing so we signed on as participants to fly around the world and take advantage of the organization of hotels, route avigation permissions, visas and the rest of the bureaucratic baggage that comes with such an adventure. I did all of that myself in my subsequent ATW flights and from my current vantage point acknowledge the benefits of accomplishing this type flying adventure in league with an organized event. This way you can share the workload sit back and enjoy. There is also merit to having the company of like minded individuals sharing the same journey. It's the same as flying to Alaska with LETSFLYALASKA versus dong the trip solo.

Herb Halperin is an excellent author in recounting the adventure he had with Willie Tashima. His writing style is crisp and purposeful and the text flows easily. The book is physically attractive with color as well as black and white photographs, 90 in all and well labeled. Graphics illustrate each leg making the task of keeping up with the progress of the flight easy. The book is in an 8 ˝ by 11 format and hard covered. The type is large for easy reading. "So Bob why did you buy 100 copies?" Well now as I write there are only 318 shopping days left till Christmas and my shopping is for the most part already done. Between now and then I will be sending copies of this book to various libraries, museums, hospitals, schools and hospices. It's a great way of sharing the adventure beyond the aviation community.

To Order:Tel: 800-597-9250 or email
Cost: $29.95 +S&H. (California Sales Tax)


From the Author:

In 1994, the author set about on an around-the-world air race, traveling through Morocco, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Russia and Canada. The race was organized by a French company Arc en Ciel, and involved competitive participants from several countries flying a variety of aircraft. The race began and ended in Montreal, Canada.

This became more of an adventure than anyone imagined beforehand. Mr. Halperin and Dr. Wilfred Tashima, a surgeon from Hawaii, encountered problems that required all their skills and resourcefulness to overcome: adverse weather and icing, electrical failure, airway-control wrangling, political considerations and some bad luck. They overcame each problem, even falling behind at two points, and in the process, along with the other participants, experienced an adventure of a lifetime.

Learn about their surprises and experiences at being able to over-fly Syria, Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia, and facing the threat of being shot down if they touched Bangladesh airspace. Learn about the diverse cultures they encountered, from lavish receptions to scenes of desperate poverty. Mr. Halperin provides interesting insights into postwar Vietnam and a completely reconstructed Japan.

With the benefits of having traveled the world throughout his World War II military service and subsequent business career, the author provides interesting perspectives of “then” versus “now” for the many countries they visited or traveled over.

This is a story to remember about an adventure that has all the excitement and suspense of a best selling-novel, excepting everything in this book is true.

Hardbound, 8˝” x 11” , 256 pages, over 90 b&w and color photos, $29.95 plus S&H, (+CA Sales Tax)

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or Tel. : to: 800-597-9250

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Last update: December 15, 2006
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