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Pilote Des Glaciers

Pilote Des Glaciers, by Hermann Geiger, with a preface by Felix Germain. 152 pages, with 48 illustrations, 6 pen drawings and 6 technical drawings by the author. Paris: B. Arthaud, 1955.

This is a fascinating and most unusual book by the famous Swiss pilot. Geiger has worked out new techniques for dropping supplies in inaccessible districts and for landing on terrain hitherto considered impossible of access to any winged things larger than chocards, the mountain crows whom he refers to as his best flying instructors.

We see Geiger first as one of the 13 children of a poor Valaisan carpenter, demanding as his own Christmas present a wooden aeroplane from his father. Later we see him at 14, working in a filling station at Sion and saving his meager tips to join a Glider Club; finally he saves enough to put himself through Aviation School. Once established as a pilot, he makes it his life work to develop flying in the High Alps. The rest of the book is given over to spirited descriptions of his daily life in his Piper Super Cub, dropping supplies of all kinds in high mountain places, rescuing victims of avalanches or mountain accidents, transporting people to spots they could only otherwise have reached after hours on foot or on skis. Geiger illustrates his techniques of landing and taking off in glacier territory by means of lively sketches. He has a great sense of humor and real love of humanity; his descriptions of dropping bundles of hay for starving chamois and other animals during the severe winters show him a true friend of animals, and some of his rescue work makes very exciting reading. Here is a real personality; a man who has created his own life work and who loves every aspect of it. The book will appeal not only to flyers and mountaineers, but to anyone who loves adventure.

Ursula Corning