Repost: Nathan

Hoping to continue working on the novel this fall….

June gloom was upon us. Only in California, could one expect such gloomy weather in late spring. The dark overcast skies, and faint drizzle presented a somberness that reflected our moods as we made our way to say goodbye to Nathan. It seems even the weather gods were unhappy.

There was a beautiful service for Nathan at the Dessert Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery. Almost everyone connected with Dessert Air and Dessert Maintenance was there. Even Dessert Air students had come to bid their farewell. Despite his quirky behavior, everyone loved Nathan. We all watched as the body was lowered and Father Francis gave Nathan a beautiful memorial service. In conclusion, Father Francis quoted the scriptures as he finished his prayers:

“Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

Strange choice of quote from Romans 6:16 I thought. Did I see HIM flinch? Are my eyes playing tricks, I wondered. With Amelia beside me, and my wounds healing, I was grateful to be safe. The question remained, Why me? Why did someone tie me up for the dead? What did they want with me? Why Amelia? Moreover, why Nathan? What had he seen or heard? What had we seen or heard? Why kill him? Why did they want us out of the way? I was not even sure it was they. I had all these questions, but no answers. For now, we were safe maybe, but for how long?

Continue to read here.


Words on Wednesdays…

In memory of Sri

Fly 'n Things


“Sri Rama Chandra Murthy!” yelled Chung.

The voice reverberated across the floor. Each of us, stopped what we were doing, while we waited for the echo to end and peered around to see what the ruckus was about. A yell from Chung of this magnitude meant only one thing: not good.

“Keep your shirt on, Chung. I am right here,” Sri responded, with a hint of laughter in his voice, after what seemed an eternity, getting up from one of the desks in the corner.

Chung eyed him squarely, as if he could devour him with his gaze. “And what took you so long to respond?” he queried sternly. “I thought you might like a moment to chill out,” smiled Sri, nonchalantly and easily, as he headed over to the front desk.

“Hey dude, you know I thought you handled Bert with aplomb. I knew I could count on…

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Book Review: Flight for Survival

Words on Wednesdays

Rating: None.

My recommendation: Don’t read it. Save your $10

Notes: I originally didn’t plan to write this review. Trilogies are so blase’.

If going bad to worse is not normal, then what is?

Flight for Control was promising.

Flight for Safety was a downhill journey

Flight for Survival? No redemption.

Book Review: Flight To Success

Words on Wednesdays

I originally intended to keep the Wednesday slot for book reviews and pondering on ideas and thoughts about my progress with writing my  first fictional novel, which has been in progress for a while now. But time flies.

Secrets of Success

It was while reading, Karlene’s new book: Flight To Success and especially her chapter on Habit, I started to think – that is what I need to create: a daily habit to sit down and write. It is already May and I need to get cracking if I want to finish my book this year:-)

Then there is the chapter on Identity and the best quote from there is: This is your life. Own it! How very true. Most people are obsessed with what others might think or want, rather than what they want or are confused with what they want. Thoreau said “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.”  Don’t be that person, instead to quote Dr Seuss (as quoted in the book): “Be what you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

The book covers examples from real life and other events to inspire the reader to pursue his or her dreams, to become the person they were destined to become. Starting out with overcoming fear, to identify oneself, to set goals, to manage time and create habits to achieve those goals, to seek the truth about oneself, and to never miss opportunities, it attempts to inspire and galvanize the reader to be more an active participant in his or her life, to develop strategies, build on one’s strengths, focus, evaluate, build confidence, and be committed to achieve life’s successes.

I’ve never been an avid reader of motivation books. People inspire me. Innovation and technologies inspire me. Actions inspire me. Inspiration to me, always comes from within foremost. So I was slow to acquire this book and slow to read it. There is some insightful advice in the book. If motivational books reach out to you, then this one might definitely move you.

Flight to Success is the third book by Karlene Pettit. Her first two books were fictional and you can read my reviews : Flight for Control and Flight for Safety.

You can purchase this book on the author’s website or on Amazon among others in Kindle, Hardback and paperback editions.

See Also:

Flight for Control

Flight for Safety

It’s OK

It’s OK to make a go-around if you do not like the way a landing is shaping up.
It’s OK to refuse a clearance that a controller gives you if you don’t feel safe complying with it.
It’s OK to lean the mixture any time you are in level flight, at any altitude.
It’s OK to declare an emergency when something goes wrong, or if there is something going on that doesn’t make sense.
It’s OK to tell that overbearing, impatient jerk of a passenger that the weather is just plain too bad to make the flight, and that it maybe tomorrow or the next day before you can go.
It’s OK to take a flight review every six months or annually

— The Thinking Pilot’s Flight Manual

And the list continues in the chapter titled It’s OK in the book The Thinking Pilot’s Flight Manual or, How To Survive Flying Little Airplanes and Have a Ball Doing It  by Rick Durden.

I came across a review of the book a few months back and was curious to read it.

The book is an interesting read touching on topics from preflight to advanced flying, from 2-seat trainers to seaplanes, tailwheels, antiques, ski-planes, aerobatics and more advanced airplanes. The book attempts to answer questions that might arise in a pilot’s mind after obtaining his/her license and presents ideas on how to become better pilots through conscious decision making and better understanding of the pertinent information about the aircraft and systems. A chapter titled Staying Alive in the Real World provides a guide to surviving emergency situations and a complete chapter on Tailwheel covers basics of learning and teaching tailwheel flying.

A whole chapter on Finesse – The Thinking Pilot attempts to debunk common myths such as there is no magic altitude such as 3,000ft or 5,000ft below which you can’t lean the mixture or straight-in approaches at non-towered airports are not a violation of FARs or that men are better pilots than women and more.

The synopsis from the back cover reads:

In a provocative and sometimes controversial style, this guide starts where standard-issue flight training manuals leave off. The Thinking Pilot guides you deeply into topics that weren’t taught in flight training-everything from how to really do a preflight, through keeping your passengers happy, scud running, precautionary landings, and how to survive a crash. It includes a detailed introduction to flying floats, skis, aerobatics, and classic airplanes; probes some of aviation’s dirty little secrets, explodes myths, and presents the best, most succinct guide to flying tailwheel airplanes ever written.

 The book can be purchased on kindle or paperback.

NaNoWriMo: My First 1000+ Words

How  you  can help? By your feedback.

Here is my updated Prologue. I appreciate all your comments. Positive or Negative. If you like it, say so. If you hate it, say so.  If you have any thoughts , feel free to leave me a comment. This is work in progress and not corrected for grammar and punctuation. I first posted my working prologue here.

Here is the updated prologue. Thanks for your feedback.


There was no escape.

Sweat ran down my face in rivulets. My throat was parched. I screamed! But heard nothing.

My arms ached. My legs ached. It was the most uncomfortable position to be in. Trussed up, hands tied behind my back to my ankles, bent over backwards, and blindfolded with tape over my mouth. My head felt heavy and painful. As though I had smacked my head over and over again, against some hard object. My body ached all over. My arms were sore. My feet were sore. My stomach growled. My throat felt parched. Sweat rolled down.

I did not know if it was day or night. I did not know where I was. I did not know what day of the week it was, when and how I got to be where I was. My hands hurt. In fact, my whole body hurt from being twisted over uncomfortably. I did not even know why I was there. Where ever that was.

I yanked furiously, aching to free my hands and only hurt them more. I panted in desperation and my heart beat erratically.
“This is not the time to panic,” I urged myself. “Stay calm. Think,” I ordered myself.

It was easy to say, but hard to focus. How could one go through this and stay sane. I never thought, I was claustrophobic. It was the worst possible time to realize maybe, just maybe, I was just a little claustrophobic!

The deafening silence was unbearable. It only enhanced the erratic beating of my heart, the sound triple enhanced.
I willed my heart to slow down. An impossible feat I thought. It only quickened and raced harder.

Who could have done this to me, I wondered. I tried to recollect the last thing I remembered. Earlier in the day, Chung had told me that Dr. Johnson wanted to talk to me and would be in his hanger, prepping the Bonanza for his flight the next day. I never made it there. I remember turning around the last corner and being coshed with something hard.

Why? Who could have done it? I really needed to get hold of myself, calm down and think.

Hell! I had promised Amelia to help her plan for her upcoming trip to Ensenada. She was never going to forgive me. Thinking of Amelia brought back a smile. I could still see her face, when I had gone down on my knee and proposed, the day before. She hadn’t expected it.

I saw the confusion cross her face, followed by the joy, and finally the tears. “Johnny,” she laughed in disbelief. “I don’t know what to say.”

“Say yes, before my knee gives way,” I had joked.

“Yes, of course yes!” she had shouted in exultation. “How could you even doubt it will be any other response? I’ve been waiting ages for you to get the courage to pop the question, you maddening man,” she had teased me lightly.

“You never called me Johnny before,” I replied sheepishly, as I gathered her into my arms for a kiss.

“You will always be Johnny to me,” she smiled mischievously. “Oh no, look at the time. You promised to help me prepare for the flight. You know I have never done this before,” she said worriedly.

“It will be fine. You are a terrific pilot. And Bill is not only a proficient doctor, but an excellent pilot. He always breezes through his flight reviews fabulously. And his Bonanza is always in tip-top shape.”

Thinking of Amelia, calmed me down. It always did. She always brought a sense of fresh breath where ever she went. When she walked into a room, people forgot everything else. I would have really liked to have been with her, right now, right this moment. But here I was, all trussed up.

Calm down and think, my mind protested. As the minutes ticked away, I finally felt my heart beat slow-down.

First, I felt the heat: the familiar heat of the desert beating down on me. The sun was beating down on the desert floor. This was evident in the sweat raining down, unwarranted. At least I was still in the desert, I thought triumphantly.

As my heart beat slowed to a normal pace, almost, I barely heard it.
How could I miss it? Through the silence of the moment I heard, the exhilarating whirl of a propeller: an aircraft. Taking off, possibly into another glorious hot, summer sky. That could be my Amelia, departing to Ensenada!

“Help,” I shouted.

But all I heard was garbled and muffled sounds, barely in a whisper.

Book Review: 13,760 ft: My Personal Hole in the Sky

I was not really as aware or conscious of the TWA crash, back in 1996. It was years later, after I got my private pilot license (PPL), that I accidentally stumbled across the crash information. I remember spending hours digging into the details of the crash. With internet access, you see this was all possible now. It was spectacular in a way: since it was the third deadliest crash in the US.

Last year when AOPA offered a day long safety seminar with a visit to the NTSB facility up in Northern Virginia,  which still houses the reassembled Boeing 747 recovered from the TWA 800 crash site, I had signed up with the hope that I could take the day off and attend. Unfortunately, I regret, that I let that opportunity slide, due to work commitments.

I first came across Mark Berry’s autobiography titled 13,760ft My Personal Hole in the Sky on Karlene’s Friday’s Fabulous Flier a few days ago.

What really happened with the TWA crash might never be known. Reading Mark Berry’s autobiography does provide some insight into the mind of a TWA pilot, who was very closely associated with loss, not only at the personal level (through the loss of his fiancee) but also professionally (through the loss of fellow pilots in his extended family) being a TWA pilot at that time.

The book also does have other information on becoming, maintaining and the challenges associated with  being an air transport pilot (ATP) with a major airline.  It also provides  insight into the world of Air Carrier operations and the life of an Air Transport Pilot.

The book also is about soul searching, and recovering from the worst tragedies that life throws at you. Tragedy can strike you at any level. Aviation or otherwise. That we recover or can recover is uncertain.

Kudos to Mark Berry to finally get past the worst tragedy in his life and finally find himself!

Book Review: Flying South – A Pilot’s Inner Journey

When I think about flying, I only regret not learning it sooner.

— Barbara Cushman Rowell

I have always been fascinated about flying to new and unexplored (that is not necessarily piloted by me, but if I can, so much the better) countries and continents. I love to at the very least do a scenic flight: be it over the skyline over Sydney, Australia; in a helicopter over Cairns, Queensland , Australia flying over the Great Barrier Reef;  in a seaplane over Vancouver, British Columbia,Canada, or over San Juan Islands, Washington, USA to name a few. Every time I travel to a new city, country or continent,I research opportunities for aircraft checkout, aircraft rental and places to fly in a small plane. I like to squeeze in flight time if I can.

I came across the book Flying South by Barbara Cushman Rowell through my friend Camille Nelson, who initially loaned me the book to read. Since then, I have procured my own copy of the book. I remember learning about South America in high school. How cool to be able to fly through Chile, Argentina, Patagonia and the exotic South American continent!

IMG_0105Flying South is a book about adventure, a pilot’s inner journey of self discovery and a trip of a life time. Over a period of two months, Barbara Cushman Rowell, her husband Galen  Rowell (famous National Geographic photographer) and brother Robert Cushman fly south from Oakland, CA through Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and the South American continent, back north over the West Indies, Dominican Republic, Florida and west across the United States back to Oakland, California.

If you like adventure, a chance to explore new continents, a chance to fly over uncharted territory, then Flying South offers just that: a journey through South America, the unexplored world of Durango, Gautemala, Costa Rica, Patagonia, the Andes mountains, and the Amazon

Barbara Cushman was the President of Mountain Light Photography and Galen Rowell was a world renowned nature and adventure photographer. Unfortunately on the eve of the day that Flying South was published, Barbara Cushman Rowell and Galen Rowell were killed in an aircraft accident in a charter plane when their pilot was attempting to land at Bishop, CA.

Here’s a description from for the book:

Call it love at first flight. Barbara Cushman Rowell was already a powerhouse by anyone’s measure, but it wasn’t until she tried flying that she found the inner fulfillment and sense of self she’d longed for all her life. As the driving force behind husband Galen Rowell’s business success, Barbara’s adventures and accomplishments had always been the byproduct of her husband’s career.Until, that is, she took off and sailed into a strata all her own.

FLYING SOUTH is the hair-raising, reflective, and ultimately inspiring story of Barbara’s trip of a lifetime—a 25,000-mile, 57-leg journey through Latin America and the recesses of her soul, discovering unrealized self-confidence, irrepressible resourcefulness, and vast reserves of emotional and physical strength she never knew she had. And what a journey it was. She recounts landing in the middle of a coup in Panama, narrowly escaping disaster when key flight instruments failed over Peru, flying herself to an oral surgeon after a mouth-smashing rafting accident on the Bio Bio River in Chile, fighting plane-shredding winds over the Andes, and surviving a life-threatening and disorienting tropical storm off the coast of Brazil—all while navigating the pervasive and demoralizing chauvinism of the aviation world. But much more than a harrowing page-turner, Barbara’s tale of finding herself through flight inspires us all to go after the experiences we long for, and to live the lives we only wish for.


Flying South