chapter  15
15 Pages

Performing Flight

Test Pilots, Commercial Airlines, and the Cold War
ByScott Magelssen

This chapter fleshes out some further genealogical and performative roots of the commercial airline captain's presentation of self within the episteme of Cold War and military-industrial complex performance. To fully consider the pilot's role in this implicit performance of war, we need to look more closely at the processes through which he has been constructed over the past half century. In addition, the chapter conducts several interviews, including with retired military fliers who serve as docents at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, and commercial pilots at US airports served by major carriers. it also discusses some of their responses, and then draws connections to the larger relationships between war, industry, and air travel. The military origins of the pilot's voice would certainly find symmetry in the military origins of the pilot's appearance.