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This is a dramatic memoir of life as a helicopter rescue pilot in Ireland.What is it like to be a rescue helicopter pilot in bad weather at night? David Courtney knows. A rescue pilot with some 300 missions under his belt, he has seen tragedy and triumph up close and personal. "Nine Lives" is an account of becoming a rescue pilot from the very start, learning to fly - to the thrills and terrors of dangerous and complicated night rescues. As the story unfolds Courtney introduces the reader to the many people who work with rescue crews, and how the entire system works. But more than that, contrasting the dramatic with the mundane, Courtney delves into ordinary day-to-day family life. From the birth of his children to the death of his father, showing how the mundane can empower each of us to confront the dramatic.Courtney flew on the Belderg rescue in 1997 when Michael Heffernan, volunteer diver, died and was part of an eight man RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) crew that set a new Round Ireland speed record in 1998. The crew was drawn from mountain, cliff and helicopter rescue crews, north and south, and their aim was to raise funds for the Heffernan family and to raise awareness of Michael's heroism. The state bravery awards now bear Michael's name.Blunt and open about fear, danger, disappointment, elation and happiness the books tells the story of his journey through adulthood and the appreciation of the here and now, that rescue brings.
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