Series:Historical Fiction Short Stories Collection

Pages:136 Pages

The Sky-Crasher

FICTION / Action & Adventure

By L. Ron Hubbard (Author)

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They don't call him Caution Jones for nothing. An ace pilot, ever since his barnstorming father was killed in an air stunt, Jones has stuck strictly to business—as the no-nonsense general manager of Trans-Continental Airlines. But he's about to find that sometimes, if you want to get anywhere, you have to throw caution to the wind.

The race is on for a monster contract: the US Postal Service. But to get it, Trans-Continental will have to circle the globe and beat its top competitor to the prize. And there's only one pilot with the skill to do it: Caution Jones. He'll have to dust off his wings and soar to heights even his father never dreamed of.

The wild blue yonder has never been wilder as Jones discovers that the competition will go to any length to bring his plane down. But an even greater challenge sits in his own cockpit—his co-pilot. She's blonde, she's brazen, and she just might get Caution Jones to take the biggest risk of all.

Includes the aviation adventure Boomerang Bomber, in which a former US Army officer undertakes a mission for the Chinese only to end up in the crosshairs of Japan's Imperial military. In a world of double- and triple-crosses, this is one conflict that can only be settled in battle ... in the sky.

“Wild adventure." —The Midwest Book Review

L. Ron Hubbard, the pilot, was a sensation in his flying days. As an article in the July 1934 issue of The Pilot magazine said: “Wherever two or three pilots are gathered together around the Nation's Capital, whether it be a Congressional hearing, or just in the back of some hangar, you'll probably hear the name of Ron Hubbard mentioned ... for the flaming haired pilot hit the city like a tornado a few years ago and made women scream and strong men weep by his aerial antics. He just dared the ground to come up and hit him." And straight from the cockpit to the typewriter, Ron Hubbard brought all the thrills and chills of his flight experience to his stories.


The Sky-Crasher 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.

airdrome: a military air base.

chiselers: people who cheat or swindle.

Columbus: Christopher Columbus (1451–1506), Italian navigator who discovered the New World in the service of Spain while looking for a route to China.

Cosmoline: a substance obtained from the residues of the distillation of petroleum, essentially the same as Vaseline, but of heavy grade. Used as a protective coating for firearms, metals, etc.

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.

Curtiss Hawk: US-built fighter aircraft of the 1930s, it was one of the first fighters of the new generation consisting of sleek monoplanes with extensive use of metal in construction and powerful piston engines.

Department of Commerce or D of C: 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.

Floyd Bennett Field: New York City’s first municipal airport, now defunct as an active airfield. Located in Brooklyn, it was created by connecting several marsh islands by filling them with pumped sand, and is now physically part of Long Island.

galleons: large three-masted sailing ships, usually with two or more decks; used mainly by the Spanish from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries for war and commerce.

gangway: a narrow, movable platform or ramp forming a bridge by which to board or leave a ship.

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

Gobi: Asia’s largest desert, located in China and southern Mongolia.

Graphic: Graflex Speed Graphic camera. It was the dominant portable professional camera from the 1930s through the end of the 1950s.

gyroscopic: having the characteristic of a gyroscope, a device containing a wheel that spins freely within a frame, used on aircraft and ships to help keep them horizontal.

Immelmann: also known as a wingover; an aerial maneuver named after World War I flying ace Max Immelmann. The pilot pulls the aircraft into a vertical climb, then rolls the aircraft back down in the opposite direction. It has become one of the most popular aerial maneuvers in the world.

inertia starter: a device for starting engines. During the energizing of the starter, all movable parts within it are set in motion. After the starter has been fully energized, it is engaged to the crankshaft of the engine and the flywheel energy is transferred to the engine.

Inland Sea: a narrow sea that is 270 miles (434.5 km) long, nine to thirty-five miles (fourteen to fifty-six km) wide and surrounded by three of Japan’s four main islands. Known as Seto Naikai or “sea between straits,” it is said to be an object of reverence to the Japanese.

JN-9: Curtiss N-9; a seaplane used to train US Navy pilots during World War I. The N-9 was used in 1916 and 1917 for the development of ship-mounted launch catapults and flight testing the new autopilot components intended to be used in pilotless “aerial torpedoes.” They were retired by the Navy in 1927.

jury strut: a strut that keeps an aircraft’s wings from bowing or snapping when air pressure pushes down on them.

Kanchow: city in southwestern China.

Kawasaki KDA-5: a fighter biplane built by Kawasaki, a Japanese aircraft manufacturer founded in 1918. The first prototype flew in 1932; 380 of these planes were built.

Kobe: a seaport in southern Japan.

line pilot: a pilot that flies a route.

Magellan: Ferdinand Magellan (1480–1521); in 1519 he sailed west around South America and across the Pacific Ocean to the Spice Islands (islands in Indonesia colonized by the Portuguese). He was killed in battle in the Philippines but one of his original five ships, Victoria, eventually made it back to Spain. Though Magellan didn’t complete the entire circumnavigation, as the expedition’s leader he is usually credited with being the first man to circle the globe.

Manchuria: a region of northeast China comprising the modern-day provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning. It was the homeland of the Manchu people, who conquered China in the seventeenth century, and was hotly contested by the Russians and the Japanese in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Chinese Communists gained control of the area in 1948.

Morane: French aircraft manufacturer, founded in 1911, which produced monoplane fighter aircraft used in World War I and developed a system to allow machine guns to be mounted on the front of aircraft and fired through the propeller.

NAA: National Aeronautics Association; established in 1922 as a nonprofit organization “dedicated to the advancement of the art, sport and science of aviation in the United States.” It is the official record-keeper for US aviation and provides observers and compiles the data necessary to certify aviation and spaceflight records of all kinds.

Nakajima: Japan’s first aircraft manufacturer, founded in 1917.

Nationalist government: Chinese Nationalist Party led by Chiang Kai-shek attempting to purge Communism from China and unite the country under one central government. Civil war broke out in 1927 between the Nationalist government and the Red Army led by Mao Tse-tung. China was also involved in intermittent conflicts with Japan since 1931 with full-scale war breaking out in 1937. In 1949 the Nationalist government’s power declined and Communist control ensued, forcing the Nationalists from mainland China into Taiwan.

octant: a navigational instrument like the sextant but with an angle of only forty-five degrees.

petcock: 1. a small valve for releasing pressure or for draining a line. 2. a small valve used to control the flow of gas.

picture hat: a woman’s elaborately decorated hat with a very broad brim.

Pinsk: large river port city located in southern Belarus. Pinsk was part of Russia from the late 1700s until 1921, when it became part of Poland. In 1944 it again became part of Russia.

Pizarro: Francisco Pizarro (1471–1541), Spanish conquistador known for conquering Peru’s Inca Empire and founding the city of Lima in 1535.

precession: gyroscopic precession; where the axis of a spinning object (i.e., a part of a gyroscope) “wobbles” or has a change in rotational motion when the angular forces made by the aircraft are applied to it. In this case, because the plane is flying on autopilot, changes in direction and changes in the plane’s physical location as it flies cause precession in the gyroscope that drives the autopilot, and must therefore be compensated for.

pylons: towers marking turning points in a race among aircraft.

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.

Shanghai: city of eastern China at the mouth of the Yangtze River, and the largest city in the country. Shanghai was opened to foreign trade by treaty in 1842 and quickly prospered. France, Great Britain and the United States all held large concessions (rights to use land granted by a government) in the city until the early twentieth century.

shrouds: the ropes connecting the harness and canopy of a parachute.

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

smacks: any of various small, fully decked, fore-and-aft-rigged vessels used for catching fish or coastal trading.

smear: smash.

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

tarmac: airport runway.

tide flats: nearly flat coastal areas, alternately covered and exposed by the tides.

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

Ural Mountains: a mountain range in what is now the Russian Federation, extending north and south from the Arctic Ocean to near the Caspian Sea, forming a natural boundary between Europe and Asia.

Urga: now Ulan Bator; capital city of Mongolia.

Vasco de Gama: (1469–1524) naval commander whose expedition from Lisbon in 1497 to India led to Portuguese dominance of the Eastern spice trade.

Yellow Sea: an arm of the Pacific Ocean between the Chinese mainland and the Korean Peninsula. It connects with the East China Sea to the south.

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