Series:Historical Fiction Short Stories Collection

Pages:136 Pages

The Dive Bomber

FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense

By L. Ron Hubbard (Author)

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Lucky Martin is a daredevil of the skies—a test pilot who lives to break the rules and push the envelope. Lucky's a trailblazer—flying higher and faster than any pilot out there. His latest invention could change the face of air warfare and alter the balance of world power. It's The Dive Bomber—a perfectly designed aircraft for the US Navy. There's only one problem—up to now every test flight has ended in disaster. The reason: sabotage.

America's enemies will go to any length to get their hands on his design—from savage attacks to kidnapping his fiancée. Lucky'll have to push his luck to the very limit to save his plane, save his girl ... and save his country.

“Hubbard grounds his cliffhanger adventure firmly in aeronautical details that make it thrilling." —Publishers Weekly

As a barnstorming pilot in the early days of aviation, L. Ron Hubbard was dubbed “Flash" Hubbard by the aviation magazines of the day. Expanding his knowledge even more, he visited Boeing in Seattle where the president and chief engineer gave him an inside look at their test pilot program. His unique and pioneering insight of flight streaks across the page in novels like The Dive Bomber.


The Dive Bomber 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.

altimeter: a gauge that measures altitude.

alum: a colorless crystalline compound used as an astringent, which shrinks body tissue it is applied to. Used figuratively.

Anacostia River: a river in the District of Columbia about twenty-four miles (thirty-nine km) long. The name derives from the Anacostan Indians who settled on the banks of the river.

ASI: airspeed indicator.

astern, two-thirds speed: to go backward at two-thirds the standard ship speed, which is approximately ten knots or eleven and a half miles (eighteen and a half km) per hour. Used figuratively.

bataillon pénal: (French) penal battalion; military unit consisting of convicted persons for whom military service was either assigned punishment or a voluntary replacement of imprisonment. Penal battalion service was very dangerous: the official view was that they were highly expendable and were to be used to reduce losses in regular units. Convicts were released from their term of service early if they suffered a combat injury (the crime was considered to be “washed out with blood”) or performed a heroic deed.

Battery, the: a landmark promenade that stretches along the shores of the Charleston, South Carolina peninsula. It was used as a place for artillery during the Civil War.

Berbers: members of a people living in North Africa, primarily Muslim, living in settled or nomadic tribes between the Sahara and Mediterranean Sea and between Egypt and the Atlantic Ocean.

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.

bosun: a ship’s officer in charge of supervision and maintenance of the ship and its equipment.

canister: a metallic cylinder packed with shot that scatters upon discharge from a cannon, formerly used as an anti-personnel round. Used figuratively.

chronometer: an instrument for measuring time accurately in spite of motion or varying conditions.

cotillion: a brisk, lively dance characterized by many intricate steps and the continual changing of partners. Used figuratively.

cowl or cowling: the removable metal housing of an aircraft engine, often designed as part of the airplane’s body, containing the cockpit, passenger seating and cargo but excluding the wings.

crate: an airplane.

crow’s-nest: a platform or shelter for a lookout at or near the top of a mast.

Cyclone: type of engine used extensively in large air transports and military aircraft.

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.

dry behind the ears, hardly: “not dry behind the ears,” a contemptuous expression, applied to a young person; inexperienced.

Duralumin: a strong low-density aluminum alloy used especially in aircraft.

Eastern Air or EAT: Eastern Air Transport; former US airline that served primarily the eastern US. It was a composite of several air travel corporations established in 1926. In 1930 it was named Eastern Air Transport and later became Eastern Air Lines.

elevator fin: a hinged horizontal surface on an airplane at the tail end of the fuselage that is used to produce motion up or down.

fire, Gridley: refers to Charles Vernon Gridley (1844–1898); US naval officer who started the Battle of Manila Bay in the Spanish-American War with the order from his commanding officer, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.” The Spanish fleet was annihilated without the loss of a single American life. This dramatic victory eventually led to the US annexation of the Philippines.

flivver: a small, cheap and usually old car.

flying boat: a seaplane whose main body is a hull adapted for floating.

Fort Sumter: a fort at the entrance to the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina and the location of the first military engagement of the Civil War.

G: gravity; a unit of acceleration equal to the acceleration of gravity at the Earth’s surface.

G-men: government men; agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

grandstanding: playing or acting so as to impress onlookers.

Great White Fleet: US Navy; popular nickname for the white-hulled US Navy battle fleet that completed a circumnavigation of the world between 1907 and 1909 by order of President Theodore Roosevelt. It consisted of four squadrons of four battleships each. Roosevelt sought to demonstrate the growing American military power and force capable of operating across the deep waters of open oceans.

half-winger: refers to the rear-seat crewmember in a two-seat bomber, fighter or observation aircraft. A half-winger is not a qualified pilot. Their insignia consisted of the letter “O” with a single wing attached to one side of the letter.

halyards: ropes used for raising and lowering sails.

Hampton Roads: deep-water channel and commercial waterway in southeastern Virginia on the Chesapeake Bay. It is one of the country’s busiest ports and shipbuilding centers.

hawsers: cables or ropes used in mooring or towing ships.

Ibn Tumart: (1080–1130) Berber religious teacher and founder of the ruling dynasty of the twelfth century in the region that is now Morocco. He founded a monastery in the Atlas Mountains that served as an important religious center. It is also his burial site.

jury rudder : a rudder constructed for temporary use.

kopek: a monetary unit of Russia equal to one-hundredth of a ruble.

Lebels: French rifles that were adopted as standard infantry weapons in 1887 and remained in official service until after World War II.

  1. or M’sieu: (French) Monsieur; Mr.

Mex: Mexican peso; in 1732 it was introduced as a trade coin with China and was so popular that China became one of its principal consumers. Mexico minted and exported pesos to China until 1949. It was issued as both coins and paper money.

Middle Atlas: part of the Atlas Mountain range lying in Morocco. It is the westernmost of three Atlas Mountain chains that define a large plateaued basin extending eastward into Algeria.

M’m’selle: (French) Mademoiselle; miss.

mooring mast: the mast or tower to which a dirigible is moored. Used figuratively.

Mount Vernon: an estate of northeast Virginia on the Potomac River near Washington, DC. It was the home of George Washington from 1752 until his death in 1799.

Neutrality Laws: laws governing a country’s abstention from participating in a conflict or aiding a participant of such conflict, and the duty of participants to refrain from violating the territory, seizing the possession of, or hampering the peaceful commerce of the neutral countries.

Norfolk: port city located in southeastern Virginia on the Elizabeth River at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

off his feed: suffering a lack of appetite; sick.

quarterdeck: the rear part of the upper deck of a ship, usually reserved for officers.

queer: to ruin or thwart.

ring mount: a rotating mount on an aircraft that allowed the gun to be turned to any direction with the gunner remaining directly behind it.

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.

Rock of Gibraltar: projection of land 1,396 feet (425.5 meters) high, off the southwestern tip of Europe on the Iberian peninsula. Despite long sieges it seemed that there was nothing that could destroy the rock or its people. This history has inspired the saying “solid as the Rock of Gibraltar” that is used to describe a person or situation that cannot be overcome and does not fail.

Rough Rider: used figuratively to mean a member of the first US volunteer cavalry recruited in 1898 by Theodore Roosevelt, composed of seasoned ranch hands and expert athletes. They became famous for their bold and daring attack on the Spanish in the Battle of San Juan Hill (Cuba) during the Spanish-American War. Members became national heroes and many were awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration bestowed upon a member of the armed forces for gallantry and risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.

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.

rumble: rumble seat; an upholstered exterior seat in the back of a car with a hinged lid that opens to form the back of the seat when in use.

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.

Sing Sing: a maximum security prison approximately thirty miles north of New York City in the town of Ossining. The name comes from the original name of the town that was “Sing Sing.”

slipstream: the airstream pushed back by a revolving aircraft propeller.

stall: a situation in which an aircraft suddenly dives because the airflow is obstructed and lift is lost. The loss of airflow can be caused by insufficient airspeed or by an excessive angle of an airfoil (part of an aircraft’s surface that provides lift or control) when the aircraft is climbing.

struts: supports for a structure such as an aircraft wing, roof or bridge.

superstructure: cabins and rooms above the deck of a ship.

tab trim: the adjustment of the tab, a small, adjustable hinged surface, located on the trailing edge of the aileron, rudder or elevator control surface. It is adjusted by the pilot to maintain balance and to help stabilize the aircraft in flight.

tarmac: airport runway.

tars: sailors.

terminal velocity: the constant speed that a falling object reaches when the downward gravitational force equals the frictional resistance of the medium through which it is falling, usually air.

thirty-thirty: .30-30; a cartridge approximately .30″ in diameter, originally having a powder charge of 30 grains, which is the source of its name.

three-mile limit: the outer limit of the area extending three miles out to sea from the coast of a country, sometimes considered to constitute the country’s territorial waters.

Tommy gun: Thompson submachine gun; a light portable automatic machine gun.

tracer: a bullet or shell whose course is made visible by a trail of flames or smoke, used to assist in aiming.

Treasury Department: an executive department of the US federal government, which in addition to administering the treasury of the US government also carries out certain law enforcement activities, including investigating and prosecuting smugglers, gun law violators and other threats to national security.

under the hammer: for sale at public auction.

under weigh: in motion; underway.

well deck: the space on the main deck of a ship lying at a lower level between the bridge and either a raised forward deck or a raised deck at the stern, which usually has cabins underneath.

Western Front: term used during World War I and II to describe the “contested armed frontier” (otherwise known as “the front”) between lands controlled by the Germans to the East and the Allies to the West. In World War I, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches stretching from the coast of the North Sea, southward to the Swiss border that was the Western Front. This line remained essentially unchanged for most of the war. In 1918 the relentless advance of the Allied armies persuaded the German commanders that defeat was inevitable and the government was forced to request armistice.

whipstall: a maneuver in a small aircraft in which it goes into a vertical climb, pauses briefly, and then drops toward the earth, nose first.

windsock: a fabric tube or cone attached at one end to the top of a pole to show which way the wind is blowing.

wingover: also known as the Immelmann turn; an aerial maneuver named after World War I flying ace Max Immelmann. The pilot pulls the aircraft into a vertical climb, applying full rudder as the speed drops, then rolls the aircraft while pulling back slightly on the stick, causing the aircraft to dive back down in the opposite direction. It has become one of the most popular aerial maneuvers in the world.

Yank: Yankee; term used to refer to Americans in general.


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