Born in an Air Force family, William D. Wiseman was raised on various military installations in the United States, Ethiopia, and Germany. Influenced by his upbringing, he served as a policeman, later the US Navy as a Chief Petty Officer, and then became a private investigator. While he was in the Navy, he travelled extensively around several Mediterranean countries and all through Europe. He had always written satirical and humorous pieces for his personal amusement. Flyby is his first official book.
Flyby reflects Wiseman’s own experiences as a military brat through the eyes of the protagonist, Dave. As a child who spends most of his time on military bases, Dave has recurring nightmares featuring aerial bombing and combat. He encounters a stranger during an air show at a Royal Air Force base, when he tours an old B-17.
A strange turn of events takes him back to the year 1943, where Dave finds himself reincarnated as an 8th Air Force bomber squadron commander. Events are set into motion that find Dave poised to take a B-17 and its crew on a mission that will go into history books as one of the most costly air raids in the entire history of the 8th Air Force. He comes face to face with a B-17 bomber aircraft named Carol Anne with the most surprising nose art which reminds him of his wife. Dave has had no flying training whatsoever, but he subconsciously knows how to fly this aircraft. He flies the B-17 along with his unbearable co-pilot and in spite of punishing damage inflicted by the Luftwaffe, drops his bombs over the target. He uses tactics learned by reading accounts of modern jet fighter pilots to counter the Luftwaffe attacks, performing aerial maneuvers beyond the limits of his aircraft. Upon his return to base, Dave has an encounter with a major assassin and captures a German spy. A surprising turn of events take him to meet one of Britain’s top notch intelligence officers and the commander of the European Theater of Operations, who presents Dave with medals to recognize his courage and valour.
This book is an interesting peek into Wiseman’s life as a child in a way that is both funny and fascinating.