The "flying business" seizes Patrick Montalto at an early age. A young, Italian-American from New York, his earliest memories of a fragile biplane avoiding a disastrous end on a summer's day in the country provide the single-minded impetus to an improbable journey.
It starts when his father and a friend chip in for a harmless airplane ride from a small grass airstrip in the Westchester hills. It is a coming of age journey as Patrick learns to fly on that field during a Depression that doesn't allow for many dreams. As the Second World War engulfs Europe, it takes Patrick to a barely clandestine British operation to recruit American flyers, where he has to choose between one dream of the sky and another of a college education.