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Falling From a Cloud

Falling From a Cloud

Автором David Amsden

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Falling From a Cloud

Автором David Amsden

204 pages
3 hours
Mar 8, 2013


“Falling From A Cloud" is a Fiction based on a real safety issue affecting all aircraft. It begins with a dreadful B-767 airline disaster that kills 196 people in a remote area in the Sand Hills of central Nebraska. It then follows Jack Harper, the lead NTSB investigator, on a daunting investigation to find the cause of the crash. After searching for the "smoking gun" he eventually believes he finds the cause but the Chairman of the NTSB refuses to divulge the real cause, but David Anderson the Assistant Principal Maintenance Inspector of Great Northern Airlines, who is barred from participating in the investigation of the same airline he oversee, gets involved and eventually discovers the real cause, one that the major airlines and the FAA doesn't want anyone to know about. Find out what dirty little secrets jeopardize your safety every time you fly.

The book has a surprise ending and it’s not all about the fictional story in the book, it will hopefully wake up the aviation industry and the FAA to see a real problem that exist and to stop shoveling things under the rug.

Mar 8, 2013

Об авторе

I grew up in North Palm Beach, Florida where I was fortunate to enjoy surfing, boating, fishing, scuba diving, riding motorcycles, and racing cars at Palm Beach International Raceway. In 1968 I traveled with Cast C of the Up With People musical group, including a three months tour performing all over Italy. After returning to Florida I joined the United States Air Force as an aircraft mechanic, beginning a long career in aviation. During my active duty I spent some time in 1969 and 1970 in Vietnam and later was assigned to the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron’s Hurricane Hunters for two years in Puerto Rico. A few years after leaving active duty I joined the Air Force Reserves in 1977 as a C-130 Flight Engineer for three years. Then from 1980 to 1989 I managed maintenance bases for several freight airlines on large turbo prop and jet aircraft in Missouri, Utah, Arizona, and Texas until I was finally hired as an Aviation Safety Inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration at DFW Airport, Texas, until retirement in January of 2010. I currently live in Spring Hill, Florida and enjoy Caribbean cruises and scuba diving. My travels brought me to places in about 25 different countries and through parts of all 50 states, of which I lived for a time in 5 of them. I resided the longest in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas and I can say I truly miss Texas, but I don’t miss the tornadoes.

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Falling From a Cloud - David Amsden

Falling from a Cloud


David L. Amsden



David L. Amsden at Smashwords

Falling from a Cloud

Copyright © 2013 by David L Amsden

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. Since any made up names would actually be someone’s real name some where, I decided to use a few names of actual real friends and acquaintances, but none of their character’s in this book resemble any real person living or dead. The company and situations in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to any real event is purely coincidental. Some of the background information is from actual news articles regarding aviation accidents or incidents but have no direct correlation to the story in this book. Though this story is fabricated, the use of owner or operator produced parts in aviation is a common practice and in the opinion of this author is a serious safety issue just waiting for an accident to happen. You may read more about the problem of owner or operator produced parts in another of my book’s that is non-fiction titled Air Safety (Inside the FAA).

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this ebook and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please go to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

The cover photo is an actual picture I took while on a cattle drive in the Sand Hills outside of Burwell, Nebraska. I added the silhouette of the aircraft under the cloud.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 _ Tuesday Evening, July 16, 2013, 22:23 CDT

Chapter 2 _ Earlier Tuesday Evening, Euless, Texas, 20:30 CDT

Chapter 3 _ Wednesday Morning, Burwell, Nebraska, 00:30 CDT

Chapter 4 _ Wednesday Morning, DFW Airport, Texas, 09:00 CDT

Chapter 5 _ Wednesday Morning, NTSB, Washington, D.C., 10:20 EDT

Chapter 6 _ Wednesday Evening, DFW Airport, Texas 19:00 CDT

Chapter 7 _ Thursday Morning, Burwell, Nebraska, 08:00 CDT

Chapter 8 _ Thursday Evening, Burwell, Nebraska, 18:30 CDT

Chapter 9 _ Friday Morning, NTSB, Washington, D.C., 00:07 EDT

Chapter 10 _ Friday Morning, Burwell, Nebraska, 09:00 CDT

Chapter 11 _ Friday Afternoon, DFW Airport, Texas, 12:20 CDT

Chapter 12 _ Friday Evening, Burwell, Nebraska, 19:00 CDT

Chapter 13 _ Saturday Morning, Burwell, Nebraska, 05:00 CDT

Chapter 14 _ Saturday Afternoon, Burwell, Nebraska, 13:00 CDT

Chapter 15 _ Monday, GNA Main Base Visit to Waco, Texas, July 22, 2013

Chapter 16 _ Monday Morning, NTSB, Washington, D.C., July 29, 2013, 10:00 EDT

Chapter 17 _ Monday Morning, DFW Airport, Texas, 09:00 CDT

Chapter 18 _ Wednesday Morning, Aero Engineering, Arlington, Texas, 09:30 CDT

Chapter 19 _ Wednesday Afternoon, DFW Airport, Texas, 14:30 CDT

Chapter 20 _ Thursday Morning, Great Northern, Waco, Texas, 09:30 CDT

Chapter 21 _ Friday Morning, Texas Electron, Euless, Texas, 10:30 CDT

Chapter 22 _ Friday Afternoon, DFW Airport, Texas, August 2, 2013, 13:30 CDT

Chapter 23 _ Several Weeks Later, DFW Airport, Texas

Epilogue _ The Final Action

About My Book

About the Author


I would like to thank a couple of fellow Aviation Safety Inspectors for helping me with a couple of the technical details. I would give there names, but since they are still working for the FAA it may be better their names remain unmentioned, but they know who they are. Thank you guys! I’d also like to recognize all the pilots, mechanics, flight engineers, and flight attendants that do their best to keep everyone safe and to especially thank all the good and wonderful people that make up this great country. There is an article I included in here from the Wall Street Journal written by Andy Pasztor, who I have spoken to on several occasions while I was an inspector, and he tries to inform the public of aviation safety issues, Thanks Andy. And I give a special thanks to a new friend, Lloyd Pye, who walked me through the process on how to publish my books, and without him I would have never gotten it done. Lloyd is an interesting man who has been blessed with a major scientific task to prove. Please check out his website at www.lloydpye.com and watch his videos on youtube about Hominids, Hominoids, and the Star Child. .

Chapter 1

Tuesday Evening, July 16, 2013, 22:23 CDT

The large Great Northern Airline Boeing B-767-300 aircraft with its long blue wings and two giant engines was cruising at an altitude of 39,000 feet through the evening sky over the corn fields of western Iowa. The aircraft was configured for two classes and could carry 269 passengers, but tonight they were only about three quarters full. The flight was smooth with an occasional burble from small pockets of rough air that would momentarily send a slight trembling throughout the airplane. The aircraft was so large; it barely caused a noticeable jiggle of the vodka tonic in the drink glass setting on Andre Voleznikov’s tray table at his seat in the mid cabin area. He was sitting a few rows forward of the leading edge on the left side of the cabin at a window seat.

Andre was comfortably leaning back in his seat thinking about his long trip from Vladimir, Russia, a small town about half way to Nizhny Novgorod due east of Moscow. It had been a long trip so far, and he was beginning to feel the effects of the jet lag. He knew the circadian rhythm of his body clock was out of adjustment due to the distance he had traveled through about nine time zones. Andre was a doctor in Vladimir, but now he was on his way to visit his daughter in Reno, Nevada.

Part of the reason the flight was so long was because he combined business with pleasure and had to fly first to Paris on business, which prevented him from making a great circle flight from Moscow over the north pole directly to Chicago, so he traveled west first to Paris then on to New York, and Chicago, before making this last leg to Reno.

The plane now cruised along in the night sky. In the cockpit the 58 year old Captain Martin Jessup was sitting in the left seat thinking about the rest of his week. It was Tuesday and he still had 4 more flights till he would have a few days off. This particular trip was from Chicago O’Hare airport to Reno, Nevada. Martin was the flying pilot on this leg, but right now the aircraft was on autopilot and after a quick scan of all the instruments and panels, everything seemed to be in order and operating as advertised.

Karen Davidson, in the right seat, was the 49 year old First Officer or copilot. On this leg, her job was to operate the radios to maintain contact with air traffic control along the route. During takeoff and landing she operated the flaps and landing gear when the flying pilot requested their operation and monitored all the instruments and panels to confirm everything was operating normally. She also read the various checklists when they were applicable and confirmed or verified each required response and action.

What’s the latest on your daughter’s application? asked Captain Jessup. He knew Karen’s daughter had applied to Great Northern Airlines to be a flight attendant.

She’s still waiting to hear back from the company, but she’s been excited since her initial interview and says she feels really good about her chances.

I think she’s got a good attitude and I know she’s a hard worker too, said the Captain.

I’m pretty sure she’ll get hired even thought she asked me not to put in any good words for her, replied Karen. She wants to get this job on her own.

The Captain looked over at Karen and said, I know you could make a difference, but knowing your daughter, I have no doubt the job is as good as in the bag.

Out side through the cockpit windows the stars were bright, especially in this part of the country where there were very few ground lights from big cities. The sky was dark and blended with the ground and at times it was hard to tell the stars from the few scattered lights on the ground. This phenomenon sometimes could cause spatial disorientation where ones mind would give the feeling of not being straight and level even though you were. If and when that occurred one had to concentrate on the instruments and rely on them to know the aircraft was in fact in level flight. The feeling can get so bad at times; you may actually find yourself unconsciously hanging on to your seat so as not to fall out, even though you knew the aircraft was not in a steep bank. It’s definitely a strange sensation when it happens.

Great Northern 3720 Minneapolis Center, the radio squawked, you have converging traffic at 12 o’clock 10 miles at flight level 380.

Roger that, replied Karen, we’re looking.

Got it in sight, said Captain Jessup to the First Officer as he pointed ahead and just to the left of center where he could see the flashing red anti-collision light in the distance on top of the approaching aircraft against the dark night sky.

It’s been a pretty nice evening so far, said Karen, I hope it stays this way and doesn’t get rough over the mountains. I’m not in the mood for bouncing around tonight, I think it was something I must of had for lunch that just didn’t quit settle right.

You know it can always get a little choppy over the Rockies, laughed Jessup.

Yeah, the forecast still looks pretty good, so lets hope it stays that way for my sake, Karen said, as she gave the Captain a slightly crocked smile.

While Karen was glancing around the cockpit, she reached over and gently set her left hand on the throttles as she reviewed the operating parameters from the EICAS (Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) checking the Engines N1 and N2 speeds, the Engine Gas Temperatures (EGT), Fuel Flows, Oil Pressures, and Oil Temperatures, Oil Quantities, Vibration Indicators, and for the presence of any alerting messages. While she observed, she noticed a slight increase in vibration on the number one vibration indicator.

Marty, have you noticed any unusual vibration in number one, asked Karen, in a casual unconcerned manner?

I can’t say that I have, as Captain Jessup leaned over and peered at the number one Vibration Indicator. He paused momentarily while he studded the other engine instruments. It looks like the number one vibration indicator is fluxuating a little, but I don’t see any other abnormalities. We’ll keep an eye on it and see if the problem persists or goes away.

No telling what it could be, but it doesn’t appear to be serious. I just wanted to make you aware and be sure I wasn’t imagining the vibration, said Karen.

No, you’re not imagining it, replied the Captain, it’s definitely there, but I’m just not sure what could be causing it. I think I’ll take a quick walk back through the cabin since I need to hit the rest room anyway, so you’ve got the airplane.

I’ve got it, said Karen, as she reached over and pulled out her quick donning oxygen mask while inflating the head straps and placing it over her face.

Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 121.333(c)(2) requires when ever only one pilot is remaining in his seat at the controls and the flight altitude is above flight level 250, that remaining pilot must go on 100 percent oxygen until the other pilot returns to their seat. The reason is to ensure the pilot does not lose consciousness in the event there should be a rapid depressurization while the other pilot is away. At flight level 350 a person can become incapacitated from lack of oxygen in as little as 30 to 45 seconds. It doesn’t take long and the higher the altitude, the faster a person could become incapacitated.

As soon as Karen got her mask in place, Captain Jessup released his seat belt and shoulder harnesses and moved his seat back so he could get out. I should be back in about ten minutes, so don’t go to the hotel without me, he laughed.

I’ll just hold the cab for ya.

Captain Jessup put on his flight cap and turned and opened the cockpit door and left the flight deck. He could see the lights were mostly turned down in the cabin as he walked back through first class nodding and smiling at the passengers. He casually took his time walking slowly through the mid cabin area trying not to look like he had any ulterior motive, but as moved he was carefully holding on to seat backs here and there and feeling with his feet for any signs of vibration through the floor while passing over the center wing area. He stopped a couple of times and spoke to an occasional passenger to extend his stay as he explored the cabin. Once he tried to lean over and glance out a left side window, but it was too dark to see anything.

He finally made his way back to the aft section and entered one of the lavatories. When he finished he retraced his steps through the cabin back to the flight compartment. Before entering the cockpit, he helped himself to a cup of black coffee and then returned to his seat. As he buckled himself back in, Karen took off the O2 mask and stowed it back in its container along side her seat.

I’ve got the airplane again, said the Captain.

Well! How did your stroll go, asked Karen?

Pretty quiet, everyone seems to be resting and the lights were mostly low. There were a few people reading or watching the movie.

So, what did you find on your exploration, said Karen.

Exploration, remarked the Captain with a sheepish grin?

Do you really think, after finding a vibration, I believe you just suddenly got an urge to take a walk for no reason? I’m not quite that green. I didn’t just get my shirt tail cut from my first solo flight, she laughed.

I should have known you knew what I was doing, so yes, I did feel a little more vibration as I got closer to the center wing area, but exactly what that means I don’t know. I couldn’t see out the window in the dark, so I couldn’t tell much. So, we really don’t have any more information.

While you were gone, I did notice the vibration has risen a bit on the indicator, but it doesn’t look like anything to be concerned about yet.

Well, lets hope it don’t get any worse, but if it gets too bad, we can always shut it down and find a place to land, said Captain Jessup.

The big blue twin engine jet streaked silently westward high in the dark night sky over Central Nebraska. Unnoticed far below were large patches of cumulus clouds, thick puffy white clouds floating along with their tops at about 12,000 feet and the bottoms around 8,000 feet. These clouds were not dangerous like the towering cumulonimbus clouds associated with large thunder storms. Those clouds, on a warm day, could easily top 40,000 feet and they are filled with dangerous up and down drafts, sever turbulence, and even the possibility of large damaging hail. It’s never a good idea to charging through the center of one of those super storms because they can tear a plane apart. Fortunately there was no forecast for any storms along the route tonight.

Captain Jessup leaned back and began sipping his coffee. Everything seemed to be going well and he was beginning to feel the vibration was no more than a high time engine showing a little wear for all the work it’s done.

Suddenly, there was a hard jerk of the aircraft to the left with a moderate bank, spilling hot coffee all over the Captains lap. He dropped the cup and immediately grabbed the controls out of instinct. All the lights flashed on and off again inside the cockpit as electrical relays automatically tried to supply power to all the electrical busses. The instrument panels also blinked on and off and warning lights began flashing or popping on all over the instrument panel and on the enunciator panel above the windshield. Bells began

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