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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2016 Norman Lyle Prouse (P)2016 Norman Lyle Prouse

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A Deep, Inspiring Memoir

Would you consider the audio edition of Final Approach to be better than the print version?

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.

What other book might you compare Final Approach to and why?

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.

What about Thomas Block’s performance did you like?

I'm already a fan of Thomas Block's audio performances. This is another fine production.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A POWERFUL STORY

Would you listen to Final Approach again? Why?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Final Approach?

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..

Have you listened to any of Thomas Block’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

YES, I HAVE LISTENED TO TWO OTHER BOOKS THAT MR/ BLOCK HAS NARRATED AND EACH ONE GETS BETTER.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

IT WAS, BUT I JUST CAN'T SIT THAT LONG, SO I LISTEN IN INCREMENTS.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Inspiring man, an incredibly supportive wife!

What did you like best about this story?

Lyle Prouse's humility and honesty.

What does Thomas Block bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I felt like I was listening to Lyle talk. I've no idea if they sound even remotely the same, but Thomas Block was real as Lyle.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Life continues in spite of headlines.

Any additional comments?

I'd listened to this book, then recommended it to my book club. One of the members emailed Mr. Prouse. He was very congenial! They corresponded through 5 emails each. Considering how busy he is, traveling and giving inspirational talks, that is impressive. He's a hero of his own life.

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Great Story, Rough Audio Production

The narrator for this book was comically bad -- he reminded me of the old man telling the story in The Princess Bride. Which is unfortunate because the story itself begins on a pretty serious note.

The music was also a little much--some of the cues worked, but paired with the bad narration it got pretty ugly.

I would recommend reading the book instead of listening. That said, I'm also baffled at the first chapter spoiling the entire book, and it felt like an epilogue. Weird.

The story itself is a great one--I especially loved the author recounting his early years. There's a lot about alcoholism I learned. The author is constantly blown away by the support he receives while getting treatment / prison, but I truly believe that's a testament to his character, despite the substance abuse. He lived an extraordinary life and worked hard as hell , and worked even harder when things fell apart. Glad I could read this one--even if the audio book performance was less than stellar. Check out his story.

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Awesome story!

We crewed through it. A poignant story of mistakes and redemption. Sad that he original publisher dropped publishing it because they wanted to change parts of his story.

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Good story great narration

I enjoyed this book and found certain passages inspiring. I personally think all the letters of praise and the forward should have been kept to the end to allow me to draw my own conclusions. I'am glad mr Prouae was able to rise again from his great tragedy for him and his family.
Mr Block was at his best narrating this book his Intonation's added in my being able
To feel the emotion of the scenes being read great job narrating.
This would make a good movie.

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True American Airline Legend

Narrator, Captain Tom Block does a remarkable job telling Captain Lyle Prouse's incredible story. A must listen for all airline professional's as our industry continues to be plagued with regular incidents of on the job substance abuse. As an airline pilot, I heard much about the NW Captain & crew who closed the bar in Fargo, most of it false. To you Lyle, thank you for taking full responsibility for your actions, you are a man who rose from the ashes to become a legend and hero to many who heard your tragic story. Thank you for having the strength to snap back proving to many airline pilots accept responsibility, take pride in their profession and treasure their love of flying.
PM Van Sickle
Maj Gen, USAF (Ret)
Pilot, United Airlines