I really enjoyed writing the exciting scenes in the first chapter. As an airline pilot and a graduate of the aircraft accident investigation school at USC, the idea of a cabin explosion and decompression in flight always intrigued me and the options available to an airline crew when one occurred. My annual military training in a simulator required undergoing a rapid decompression inside our pressured simulator. I always remember the foggy atmosphere that erupted inside the simulated trainer when decompression occurred.
I recall reading about the terrible incident that happened on a Boeing 747 flight to Australia a number of years ago at 23,000 feet when a cargo door blew out in flight and nine passengers were ejected from the fuselage out through the opening. Depression explosives are rare but sometimes deadly when they occur.
The main problem is, outside of the possibility of severe airframe damage, is that at a high altitude, in a pressurized aircraft cabin the air rushes out the opening until the air inside the cabin equals the outside air pressure. At altitude, say at 30 or 40 thousand feet, the difference between the two can be great, causing the sucking rush of air, momentarily taking everything not tied down out the aircraft hole. The suction is brief and ceases to stop when the inside and outside air equalizes.
This happened a number of years ago to a Hawaii airline when metal fatigue ripped a portion of the upper top roof of the airliner. That not only endangered the integrity of the airframe but caused a flight attendant to lose her life when she was ejected out through the opening.
The copilot on that flight later flew with a captain friend of mine on another airline and he learned the details of everything that went on inside the cabin after the decompression. He passed these details to me. So in my story, I was able to describe an accurate scene in my fiction story.
And I added a number of additional realistic problems to the story that I knew could happen when airframes suffer damage like that. I almost could feel myself in the captain’s left seat trying to overcome these problems to get the crew and passengers to a safe landing. During a desperate attempt to make it to a safe landing field, parts of the damaged airframe which sent vibrations throughout the aircraft, flew into one of the two jet engines and caused the engine to catch on fire. The landing gear and flaps became inoperative and the captain had to descend to thick fog that dropped to 200 feet above the ground with visibility less than a quarter mile. Plus he had to touch down without a landing gear at a high speed to keep the wings level.
Did he make it? Read the chapter and find out.
Airline Captain Frank Braden is being stalked by unknown assailants who must arrange his death to look like a suicide or an accident before a specific deadline. He receives an unsigned message warning him against attending a Senate hearing in Washington. If he agrees, he will receive a million dollars and his wife’s life.
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Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Rating – G
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