"All private flyers have their dreams." Ours was to circle the world under our own power and navigation . We'd thought about it, talked about it, knew we could do it and one day would. It was only a matter of under what circumstances and when. What we never anticipated, not in our wildest imaginations, was that such a flight would be born for us out of Glasnost, Perestroika and the breakup of the Soviet Union - or that it was destined to become a life experience for us as Jews. But that's what happened.
So begins the true-life story of the world flight, travels and adventures of two American couples, who upon becoming amongst the few private transglobal flyers from the west permitted to cross the previously closed airspace of Ukraine and Siberia following the dissolution of the USSR, seize the opportunity to use their wings to connect with post Soviet-era Jewish revitalization and renewal.
Written by Renny Shapiro, a member of the crew of Cessna N77ML, Eastbound carries us along and onboard with the two couples from their planning and initial take-off to final landing. We become part of the exhilaration, excitement (and even tedium) of world flying as we join them on their 19,000 nautical mile, 23 leg, 63 day flight across an ocean, continents and seas. We travel with them as they visit 13 countries and places of history, pre-history, and everything in between. And at last, we are with them when after nine thousand miles of flight and six weeks from home they arrive in the Former Soviet Union, where everywhere they touch down they are welcomed with joyous cries of 'Shalom'!
In the end, Eastbound
gives us a moving, warm and insightful look at what it is like to mount and carry out the kind of flight called "one of the last adventures in our increasingly predictable world… and one, which for the two couples leads them from standing watch for Jews in almost forgotten places to connecting with many of these very people: the Jewish people of the Former Soviet Union, whose struggle is not to just survive, but to thrive against all odds.