The Cannibal Queen: A Flight Into the Heart of America

Stephen Coonts

Language: English

Pages: 339


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The compelling real-life adventure from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Coonts
Bestselling author Stephen Coonts’s stirring ode to aviation: a revealing account of his three months spent exploring small-town America from the skies
Stephen Coonts spent the summer of 1991 cruising above rivers, farms, mountains, and swamps in the Cannibal Queen, his restored 1942 Boeing-Stearman open cockpit biplane. With his fourteen-year-old son, David, along for the ride, Coonts explored the diverse landscapes of the forty-eight contiguous states, touching down in each one to record the untold stories of America’s countryside. The result is The Cannibal Queen, a striking memoir that features all the technical aviation know-how of Coonts’s acclaimed thrillers, but with the spotlight focused squarely on the beauty of rural America and the spirit of those who live there.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Stephen Coonts, including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.

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is hot and thin. Come on, baby! As the tail rises the wind increases dramatically and shifts farther right, toward the north. Uh-oh! The adrenaline smacks me. Fifty MPH. Fifty-five. I can feel the wind trying to shove the Queen sideways. I have left rudder crammed in and the stick almost full right. Sixty! The stick is full right when the left main wheel comes off. Only the right main is on the ground. Sixty-five! I ease in back stick and the right main breaks loose. The plane immediately

If he offered a good allowance and picked up my American Express bill every month, I’d be tempted. The Tennessee River is a bit unique in that it doesn’t flow through a single city or town of any size.between Savannah, 15 miles north of the Mississippi state line, and the Ohio River, 100 nautical miles north. Small towns lie several miles away from the river on either side, but the river is a scenic boater’s paradise. A fellow could put a boat into the water at Nashville and descend the

wind, theology being the arcane art that it is—to keep the air still, quiet. But this afternoon I am scheduled to go sailing on a small schooner in Penobscot Bay, and we won’t sail very far without wind. So today, Mom or Dad, as the case might be, please send a nice stiff ocean breeze. I don’t ask often for wind and I won’t make a habit of it, but today please favor your petitioner with a canvas-bellying breeze laden with salt and the smell of the sea. Sailing seems to me to be to boating what

showmanship, and occasionally it gets substituted for thinking. Too often. Vietnam left me with a profound distrust of politicians, an antipathy bordering on contempt. As a writer I have to work to put it in my pocket and sit on it because the general public doesn’t share it and wouldn’t understand. For seventeen years newspaper and magazine journalists have liked to refer to the “so-called theory” that the U.S. military could have won in Vietnam if they had been given free rein by the

Radius did aerobatics against the blue sky. He spun, he looped, he did vertical 8s, he did every aerobatic maneuver I know about as the loudspeaker system played classical music. No engine noise, just classical music and the sailplane soaring against the blue vault of heaven. The silent crowd watched, mesmerized. Lower and lower the sailplane came, then Radius flipped it inverted and dove at a ribbon stretched across the runway between two poles. He was too high by about a yard. He rolled the

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