Born To Fly

Book Review



Born to Fly: The Untold  Story of the Downed American Reconnaissance Plane


Lt. Shane Osborne and Malcolm McConnell


Broadway Books



Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

December, 2001


April 1, 2001 began as a normal day for Lt. Shane Osborne  and the crew of his EP3-E electronic reconnaissance plane. By the end of the day, they found themselves detained by the Chinese and in the center of an international incident. This story tells what happened.

Get more information about Born to Fly at Amazon.comFrom an early age, Lt. Osborne wanted to be a pilot. He first began flying in the civil air patrol, and then was accepted to the NROTC program for eventual duty  as the pilot of the EP3-E patrol aircraft. After several tours of duty, he was  finally given the job as mission commander, lead pilot for long electronic surveillance missions far from home.

After a catastrophic collision with a Chinese Air Force  Finback, Lt. Osborne successfully recovered from a near-fatal spin and landed in Chinese territory where his crew was immediately detained and interrogated. Angry interrogators questioned the crew each day, yet their treatment was not  exceptionally poor. Retaining their composure for 11 days, their release was negotiated between the two countries, and they returned to heroes' welcomes.

I enjoyed this account for a number of reasons. Lt.  Osborne recalls a brief history of his early days and flight training without dwelling on his childhood, and furnishes a concise account of the events leading up to the crew's 11-day ordeal. The story does not politicize the incident,  but merely states the details. Finally, he gives enough information about the personalities of the crew and their captors to present the reader with a clear  picture of them.

Born to Fly is an interesting and true story about cold-war  diplomacy and the men and women still fighting on the front lines. It tells  the story from a first person perspective and gives a number of insights into the thoughts and feelings of the sailors directly involved.

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