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"Songs of the Archaeopteryx"

by Keoki Gray


Keoki has published a collection of short flying stories entitled, "Songs of the Archaeopteryx." The tales focus on pilots, but are rich with intimate aviation details.  Keoki's 30+ years of flying adventures provided inspiration for these stories.

Go to "Booklocker.com" and order your own copy today in either actual or virtual form. That's right, you can get a real, "hold-it-in-your-hand"  6 x 9, 206-page copy graced with original artwork by the author. Or get a downloaded version for Adobe Acrobat that you can be reading in minutes--while saving a few bucks, too.



Just to whet your appetite, here are two excerpts:

From “Alex”:

    The air maintained its silky smoothness until we reached eighteen hundred feet above ground where we punched through some strange turbulence. It felt as though we had driven a car over some tight “washboard bumps,” then it smoothed out just as abruptly. Once  more, we were running clean and steady.

    “What the hell was that?” I demanded.

    “I’ve got it,” Alex answered, taking control. He swung us back into the disturbed airflow while he elaborated. “I think it was some turbulence off…a…helo. Probably an E-H if it’s out this far. Now if I can just…find…its…trail…”


    “Enforcement Helicopter.”

    I watched, fascinated, as he punched through the wake several times in the next couple of minutes. We gradually spent longer and longer in the helicopter’s burbled air until Alex roughly matched the course it had flown. It reminded me of a predator stalking prey. A shark scenting a blood trail.

    But a nagging uneasiness gnawed at the back of my thoughts…




Or something a little more acro-technical, perhaps:

From, "The Handler and 'The Count'":

    “Can you show me something?”

    “Like what?” the handler askedz

    “I dunno. Whatever you like. Maybe three or four maneuvers?”

    “Okay, I have control.”

    He took the tall stick in his right hand, reached for the throttle and prop with his left. A quick wiggle of the stick let them both know who was flying and confirmed that the controls were free and correct. He moved the short prop lever forward and followed it immediately with the longer throttle lever. The burly Russian aircraft surged ahead.

    The nose pitched down and reached a forty-five-degree dive angle in less than a second. The speed increase became phenomenal.  He bottomed out briskly at three thousand feet with a five-G pull that  pinned the airspeed at “340 kph.” Level for an instant, then a seven-G pull to vertical. On the up line, he executed a full left roll, paused for an instant before a full right roll. Finishing still on the vertical, he ruddered hard to the left, then caught the nose at level with the wings perpendicular to the horizon. Full right rudder rotated the airplane two-hundred-seventy degrees until its nose pointed at the down vertical.

    Speed built rapidly again, and he pulsed the stick and pushed hard rudder into one-and-a-half snap rolls. He stopped the rotation with a sharp stick push that stretched their heads nearly to the canopy. Another seven-G pull and they were level again.

    But not for long.

    The nose came up to the vertical, an instant-long pause, then two quarter-rolls. Now the nose was pushed down to level and two half-rolls were inserted. Another push to down vertical and another two quarter-rolls. Then a final pull to level and the last two half-rolls finished an artistic variation of the square loop.

    The nose arched gracefully into a steep climbing line and the airplane slowly rolled onto its back. The pilot was catching his breath and thinking it was over when the world exploded into a gyrating mix of green and blue-gray. The Sukhoi was pitching tightly around its lateral axis in a “shoulder roll” of one-two-three-four-five oscillations before being reined in to a stabilized inverted dive. Then, full-stick deflection multiple rolls began as the plane’s nose reared up to the horizon. Just as the nose reached level, the rolling abruptly ceased.

    “Your aircraft,” he said quietly.



Thanks, and enjoy!



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