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Maverick in the Sky

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5.5 x 8.5 inches


Aviation adventures are Shirlee Smith Matheson’s specialty. In Maverick in the Sky the author paints a fascinating portrait of flying ace Freddie McCall, one of the most successful fighter pilots of World War I.

McCall’s bold spirit might well have been inherited from his clan motto Dulce Periculum – Danger is Sweet. His amazing wartime accomplishments, his extraordinary flying skills, his fiercely independent barnstorming character and his self-reliant entrepreneurial spirit make him one of Canada’s most spectacular mavericks.


Maverick in the Sky is one of those books you can’t put down and I read it in one sitting. I was thrilled to “sit alongside” Freddy in his adventures — the stories just tumble out of the book — they will amaze & thrill you.

~Denny May, In Formation

“Captain Freddie McCall is a true Canadian hero, and Shirlee Smith Matheson’s book Maverick in the Sky is a testament to his superb airmanship, courage and daring. Canada produced the best pilots on the western front, and McCall was truly one of our very best. With 37 confirmed victories, including 14 kills in just six days (which is apparently a record for all pilots in World War I), McCall’s story is told here in vivid detail. How many pilots can say they were decorated not only by the Prince of Wales, but King George V himself? Freddie McCall can and you’ll hear all about it in this outstanding book. Highly recommended.”

~Roger Thompson, M.A., Author of Lessons Not Learned: The U.S. Navy’s Status Quo Culture and Brown Shoes, Black Shoes, and Felt Slippers: Parochialism and the Evolution of the Post-War U.S. Navy

About the Author

Shirlee Smith Matheson is the author of numerous books on Canadian aviation, including Volumes I, II, and III of Flying the Frontiers; A Western Welcome to the World – The History of Calgary International Airport, Maverick in the Sky – The Aerial Adventures of WWI Flying Ace Freddie McCall, and, most recently, Amazing Flights and Flyers, a collection of aviation stories that graphically demonstrate the almost super-human endurance and tenacity of aviators in life-or-death situations – but also, on occasion, the sometimes deadly effect role of bad judgement or plain bad luck.  Shirlee has also written on other non-fiction subjects for adult readers, as well as novels for young people, short stories and stage plays. She is a charter member of Canadian Women in Aviation International (Alberta Rocky Mountain High chapter) and, in 1999, was awarded The 99’s Canadian Award in Aviation. Her literary awards include The 99s Canadian Award in Aviation; The Emerald Award; Honorary Associate of Arts (Northern Lights College), and Distinguished Alumni 2001-2 (Athabasca University).

Born in Winnipeg, Shirlee has since lived in all four Western Canadian provinces. For many years she resided in the Peace River country of northeastern B.C., and currently makes her home in Calgary, where she is a Life Member of the Aero Space Museum of Calgary.

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