I just read a real page-turner of a book—Floatplane Odyssey—in which the most frequent question was—“Where the hell is Casey?” It was tense. Half the time I was boiling mad at Tom Casey, the subject and hero of the book. The other half of the time was spent in admiration of Casey for his commitment, stamina, courage, piloting skills, and his great enthusiasm for general aviation. Some 25 years ago Tom Casey—a high-time pilot heavy on floatplane experience—decided to become the first person to fly a single-engine floatplane—a Cessna 206 on Wipline floats—around the world, landing only on water. Phillips 66, purveyor of aviation oils and fuels, sponsored his flight. Floatplane Odyssey is the story of that flight and it is one heckuva story!
Floatplane Odyssey was written by Bill Coleman, himself a veteran pilot who flew Mach 2.5 aircraft as a U.S. Navy Lieutenant, then chalked up a successful career as Executive VP of a New York PR firm with clients including Phillips 66. Naturally, when Phillips 66 decided to sponsor Casey’s round-the-world flight, Bill Coleman was given the job of putting it all together and “handling” the project.
John Infanger, for more than 25 years the Editorial Director of Airport Business magazine, edited Floatplane Odyssey.
The book tells this terrific story by switching back and forth between the exploits of Tom Casey as he makes the flight, and the frustrations of Bill Coleman and crew as they make the arrangements and ask each other, “Where the hell is Casey?”
The book deals with problems such as Desert Storm, hard-to-get flight clearances around the world, typhoons, a total engine failure over the North Pacific, and “Where the hell is Casey?” At times I was nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof as Casey battled one problem after another. He landed at places where people had never, ever, seen a floatplane, had no aviation gasoline, and totally misunderstood what he was trying to do. Some people considered him a nuisance, others treated him like royalty (in one country he was treated like royalty by royalty). What a great movie this will make!
This is a book all aviators and would-be aviators will enjoy. It has everything— glamour, drudgery, beauty, horror, and world-class flying. And Lord, Lord, does it have heroics. Shortly after back surgery, Casey crawled back into the plane and flew nonstop for hours on end. Coleman and team plan a truly magnificent PR event to celebrate Casey’s arrival in London, then watch in amazement as Casey flies over London and keeps going!
You need to read it for yourself. Go to floatplaneodyssey.com