“Flying is wicked”

Margrit Sprecher “Unsere Kampf-Piloten”; Echtzeit Verlag Basel, 2014; 128 pages with photos by Fabian Biasio; CHF 32, EUR 24. www.echtzeit.ch

Only insiders know how the Swiss Air Force functions. Sometimes, however, after faults, accidents or scandals, information leaks out. Swiss voters’ “No” in the referendum on the Gripen fighter jets on 18 May might have something to do with this secretiveness. Margrit Sprecher, a reporter for Swiss and international media, was given the opportunity to accompany military pilots over several years of their training. She has now brought out a book describing her experience, entitled “Unsere Kampf-Piloten” (Our fighter pilots). It is an attempt to cast some light on a closed world, which has its own ideas, rituals and rules – a world where the phrase “flying is wicked” is often heard. It would appear that individuals with ideas of their own are not exactly welcome in the Air Force. It is all about adhering to the norm: in preparatory training, military rank, size and vocabulary. Sprecher presents readers with a type of collage in ten pictures. This book will have readers smiling in places, amazed in others and sometimes simply shaking their heads.

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