Book Review

“Stress is Relative” by Rose Marie Kern

This is the second book for Rose. Her first consisted of information she gained from working for the FAA as an Air Traffic Controller (ATC). It was aptly titled, “Air to Ground.”

Rose begins “Stress is Relative” with her being hired at ATC including the training phase. Being a single mom doing all she can to make things happen for her family. This job led to a most interesting, quite amazing career with the FAA. I was most impressed with all the information about the ATC. As pilots, we have all dealt with ATC in some form. Even if you have only called Flight Service for a weather briefing, you have come in contact with a person like Rose. Her ability to share the behind the scenes give the reader a wealth of information. Much of this info I have never heard.

Her details of the minuscule workings of ATC, I found fascinating. I have been to Control Towers, used Flight Following, and walked into Flight Service back when one could do that for a weather briefing. As a pilot of many years, I realize that my knowledge of how to become employed and trained at ATC was nonexistent. As she said, being a woman in a mans world at ATC was a struggle. The book gives the reader a fine-tuned, insight to the running of the ATC. Is there “stress?” Put yourself in there! Oh yes, lots of stress but it is relative.
Many of the sexual harassment issues were never reported, but were handled by Rose in her distinctive style. As I said, there is lot going on in this book? Those who guide us thru the air are just like the rest of the world… pranks, gags, unneeded comments, and bad actions happen. What I found interesting is that the author has laid all this out in a very delicate way. She uses fake names and places, but does show the other side of ATC like no other person ever has.

I did like some of the quips given to pilots who didn’t take the Flight Service weather information seriously. Here are a few:
“Sir, could you please name me as primary beneficiary on your insurance policy before you go?”
“I suggest you call back in ten minutes and talk to someone else, because I don’t want to be the last person to speak to you before you die!”
“You nail your ass to the ground and don’t even think about taking off!”
“Those are not clouds you see along the route, they are Cumulous Granite – turn around and fly back into the valley!”

The book is a good learning tool for new and old pilots. Things in the book will make one stop and question one’s own decisions. I have heard that “there are no old BOLD pilots!” Because the are dead! I do recommend this book as an insight to what goes on at ATC and to take tips of information and add to our memory cells on what to do and not do to be a better pilot.

This book would make a great movie! Read the book, stay on top of your flying, and know your Personal Flight Rules (PFR).

Note: Rose Kern has been a columnist for FLY-LOW Publications many years. Her insight and experience from the ATC makes all the difference in these books and her columns.