Series:Military & War Short Stories Collection, Historical Fiction Short Stories Collection
Sky Birds Dare!
FICTION / War & Military
When it comes to flying gliders, ace pilot Breeze Callaghan is as smooth as they come. He perfects a skill that will prove vitally important for decades to come—even into the jet age, as demonstrated by Captain Sully Sullenberger, who famously landed his disabled passenger plane on the Hudson River.
Sully's jet was brought down by a flock of geese, while Breeze is going up against a vulture named Badger O'Dowell. Both pilots are vying for a Navy contract, and Badger would love to shoot the Breeze ... literally. Short of that he'll do everything he can to sabotage Breeze in flight.
It's game on, and as Breeze is about to discover, Badger's an expert at playing dirty. And there's much more than money at stake: there's his reputation, his life, and his love of a beautiful woman. A storm is brewing, and as for danger, the sky's the limit when Sky Birds Dare!
Highly recommended for aviation action/adventure pulp fiction fans." —Midwest Book Review
During his undergraduate days, L. Ron Hubbard served as the president of the George Washington Glider Club. He held numerous records for sustained powerless flight and was renowned for his wild aerial antics that, according to an eyewitness, “made women scream and strong men weep." In short, there wasn't a single flying feat in Sky Birds Dare! that Ron Hubbard himself hadn't dared to do on his own.
Sky Birds Dare! Glossary
Stories from the Golden Age reflect the words and expressions used in the 1930s and 1940s, adding unique flavor and authenticity to the tales. While a character’s speech may often reflect regional origins, it also can convey attitudes common in the day. So that readers can better grasp such cultural and historical terms, uncommon words or expressions of the era, the following glossary has been provided.
aileron: a hinged flap on the trailing edge of an aircraft wing, used to control banking movements.
Akron and Macon: two rigid airships built in the United States for the US Navy. First flown in the early 1930s, they were the only airships that could launch and retrieve planes in midair.
altimeter: a gauge that measures altitude.
amphib: amphibian; an airplane designed for taking off from and landing on both land and water.
beam: an early form of radio navigation using beacons to define navigational airways. A pilot flew for 100 miles guided by the beacon behind him and then tuned in the beacon ahead for the next 100 miles. The beacons transmitted two Morse code signals, the letter “A” and the letter “N.” When the aircraft was centered on the airway, these two signals merged into a steady, monotonous tone. If the aircraft drifted off course to one side, the Morse code for the letter “A” could be faintly heard. Straying to the opposite side produced the “N” Morse code signal. Used figuratively.
blackjack: coerce by pressure.
Bolling: Bolling Field; located in southwest Washington, DC and officially opened in 1918, it was named in honor of the first high-ranking air service officer killed in World War I. Bolling served as a research and testing ground for new aviation equipment and its first mission provided aerial defense of the capital.
cabane: a mastlike structure on some early airplanes, used for supporting the wing.
cabin job: an airplane that has an enclosed section where passengers can sit or cargo is stored.
Charleston: a city and seaport of southeast South Carolina; a major commercial and cultural center since colonial times.
davits: any of various cranelike devices, used singly or in pairs, for supporting, raising and lowering boats, anchors and cargo over a hatchway or side of a ship.
Department of Commerce: the department of the US federal government that promotes and administers domestic and foreign commerce. In 1926, Congress passed an Air Commerce Act that gave the US Department of Commerce some regulation over air facilities, the authority to establish air traffic rules and the authority to issue licenses and certificates.
dope: a type of lacquer formerly used to protect, waterproof and stretch tight the cloth surfaces of airplane wings.
frigate birds: large black seabirds with powerful wings, forked tails and long hooked beaks; they are native to tropical waters.
G-men: government men; agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
gunwale: the upper edge of the side of a boat. Originally a gunwale was a platform where guns were mounted, and was designed to accommodate the additional stresses imposed by the artillery being used.
hash house: an inexpensive restaurant, diner or the like that serves a limited number of short-order dishes.
Havana: a seaport in and the capital of Cuba, on the northwest coast.
hinterland: the remote or less developed parts of a country; back country.
jury strut: a strut that keeps an aircraft’s wings from bowing or snapping when air pressure pushes down on them.
Keys: Florida Keys; a chain of approximately 1,700 islands beginning at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula and extending in a gentle arc to Key West, the westernmost of the inhabited islands. Key West is just ninety-eight miles from Cuba.
L’Enfant: Pierre Charles L’Enfant (1754–1825), French-born US engineer, architect and urban planner. After studying in Paris, he volunteered as a soldier and engineer in the American Revolutionary Army. Congress made him major of engineers in 1783. In 1791, George Washington had him prepare a plan for a federal capital on the Potomac River, which was later generally followed in the construction of Washington, DC.
leeward: situated away from the wind, or on the side of something, especially a boat, that is away or sheltered from the wind.
mailed fists: armed or overbearing forces.
monoplane: an airplane with one sustaining surface or one set of wings.
Pensacola: city and seaport on Pensacola Bay in northwest Florida. Noted for the US naval air station established there in 1914.
Potomac: a river in the east central United States; it begins in the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia and flows eastward to the Chesapeake Bay, forming the boundary between Maryland and Virginia.
roadster: an open-top automobile with a single seat in front for two or three persons, a fabric top and either a luggage compartment or a rumble seat in back. A rumble seat is an upholstered exterior seat with a hinged lid that opens to form the back of the seat when in use.
rudder: a device used to steer ships or aircraft. A rudder is a flat plane or sheet of material attached with hinges to the craft’s stern or tail. In typical aircraft, pedals operate rudders via mechanical linkages.
Scheherazade: the female narrator of The Arabian Nights, who during one thousand and one adventurous nights saved her life by entertaining her husband, the king, with stories.
scud cloud: small, ragged, low cloud fragments that are unattached to a larger cloud base at first and are often seen with and behind cold fronts and thunderstorm gust fronts.
struts: supports for a structure such as an aircraft wing, roof or bridge.
tarmac: airport runway.
up-toiling: proceeding upward laboriously or with difficulty.
Very pistol: a special pistol that shoots Very lights, a variety of colored signal flares.
volplaning: gliding toward the earth in an airplane, with no motor power or with the power shut off.
windjammer: a sailing vessel, especially one equipped with many large sails and capable of making fast voyages.
zero-zero: (of atmospheric conditions) having or characterized by zero visibility in both horizontal and vertical directions. Used figuratively.