Nick Grant is a pilot.
Well, he is learning to be. When we first meet him, this 16-year-old is one solo flight away from getting his pilot's license but his knowledge of the insides of a plane's engine is even more impressive at the time than his skill in the cockpit, which is impressive for his age. His time as a pilot, not to mention being an adventurer of sorts, will take a huge leap once the first adventure begins.
The time period of Grant's recorded escapades is the mid-30s and the region of the world where he spends most of that time is the Far East, a location and time in which the various nations of the world either had to deal with the Japanese expansion directly or watched on in trepidation as it came ever closer to them.
As the chronicler of Grant's stories puts it in a blurb about the first one, "During the Golden Age of Aviation, 1927-1941, flying boats were the cutting-edge technology. The people involved in developing the flying boats were nothing less than a new generation of intrepid pioneers. They operated literally at the edges of expanding empires, and on the threshold of a new world order. They were present at the nexus of history and fate, and witnessed the opening gambits of the war that redefined, not just our country, but the entire world in which we now live."
We meet Grant as he is earning his keep as a grease monkey at MacMillan Aviation, a small operation near Alameda, sometimes trading his work hours for the coveted flying lessons and time though he also has to earn money to help his struggling family. His father left to look for work and his mother is struggling to meet the mortgage, hence Grant working the long hours he does. On top of that, though is his needing to keep his grades up if he had any chance of finding a way into college later.
That is when adventure comes to call and once the two have met, they do not remain strangers.