This is the story of the first airline pilot ever arrested and sent to prison for flying under the influence. He was fired by his airline, stripped of his FAA licenses, tried, convicted, and sent to federal prison. This was a first. It had never occurred before.
Lyle Prouse came from a WWII housing project in Kansas and an alcoholic family where both parents died as a result of alcoholism. He rose through the ranks of the United States Marine Corps from private to captain, from an infantryman to a fighter pilot. He made his way to the pinnacle of commercial aviation, airline captain, and then lost it all.
Today he is a recovering alcoholic with over 26 years sobriety. This story describes his rise from the ashes of complete destruction from which he was never to fly again. It is full of miracles which defy all manner of odds. In a long and arduous journey, he eventually regained his FAA licenses. He never fought his termination; he considered it fair and appropriate. Miraculously, after nearly four years, the President/CEO of his airline personally reinstated him to full flight status in spite of all the adverse publicity and embarrassment. In effect, the President/CEO gambled his own career by taking such a risk on a convicted felon and publicly acknowledged alcoholic pilot. In another stunning event, the judge who tried, sentenced, and sent him to prison watched his journey and reappeared eight years after the trial. He became the driving force behind a Presidential pardon although he'd never supported a petition for pardon in all his years on the bench. Lyle retired honorably as a 747 captain for the airline he'd so horribly embarrassed and disgraced. He lives with his wife of 53 years and has five grandchildren. He continues to work with all the major airlines in their alcohol programs.
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A Deep, Inspiring Memoir
I actually read the first half, and then listened to the second half because the audio version was released. I'm a huge fan of audiobooks and that is my preferred method to consume stories.
There is another book about the the same flight incident written by another crew member. Capt Prouse does't name names when referring to that other pilot, which makes this this version of events seem more objective.
I'm already a fan of Thomas Block's audio performances. This is another fine production.
This is a story of a man who served our country fighting in Vietnam, commanded a commercial airliner, and then lost his battle with alcoholism before he even realized he was fighting it. Worse than the prison, he was publicly ridiculed even to the extent of becoming Jay Leno's regular punchline. Never did Captain Prouse blame others for his actions. He absorbed all his punishment with acceptance and started his life over from scratch--nearly penniless, a felony conviction on his record, prison time served, and his pilot career erased. This is the story of how he found a way to live with alcoholism (beating it everyday), and actually earn all of his pilot licenses back on-by-one. Against expectations, he eventually returned to airline flying, paving the way for other pilots to beat their struggles with alcohol addiction.
It's tough to imagine the public humiliation Capt Prouse endured, and still he found the will to overcome his greatest mistake and find redemption in the wary public's eyes. Even the judge who convicted him, and eventually the President of the United States, welcomed him back as a productive member of society, and also as an inspiration. This is a worthy read.
- Mark L. Berry
A POWERFUL STORY
YES. I CAN IDENTIFY WITH LYLE PROUSE AS I WAS THE SAME AGE, SAME NAVAL MARINE FLIGHT TRAINING, JUST DIFFERENT AIRLINES AND HAVE FLOWN WITH AN ALCOHOLIC AT ONE TIME IN MY CAREER.
CAPT PROUSE REALIZING THAT HE REALLY HAD A PROBLEM AND TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR IT. THEN RISING TO THE OCCASION AND ADJUSTING HIS WHOLE ATTITUDE AND LIFE TO COME OUT OF THE QUAGMIRE ONE STEP AT A TIME UNDER ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE ODDS..
YES, I HAVE LISTENED TO TWO OTHER BOOKS THAT MR/ BLOCK HAS NARRATED AND EACH ONE GETS BETTER.
IT WAS, BUT I JUST CAN'T SIT THAT LONG, SO I LISTEN IN INCREMENTS.
I APPLAUD CAPT PROUSE FOR HIS COMPLETE DEDICATION AND FORTITUDE IN THE RECOVERY OF HIS LIFE AND I KNOW HE REALIZES WHAT A GREAT SUPPORT GROUP HE HAD, LED BY HIS WONDERFUL WIFE WHO STUCK BY HIM EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.
- John Councilman