Fourteen short stories by a new author who has turned his hand to writing after a lifetime in aviation. Drawn from a vast treasure trove of memories these stories reflect some of the author’s lifetime experiences and are an eclectic collection of fact and fiction, many with an aviation theme. The Cold War in Europe, nuclear testing in the Pacific, topdressing in New Zealand, and many years of flying the Pacific. Now retired he spends his time fishing; marlin off the New Zealand coast; and writing. There are several more collections ‘in the works’.
Some of these stories are set in the South Pacific and involve flying, romance, danger, diving, cruise ships, holidaying, infidelity, and the like. There’s one about New Zealand’s aerial topdressing industry and a couple about the author’s frustrated efforts to join a major international airline.
During the Cold War the author was a frontline pilot on a nuclear strike squadron in the Second Tactical Air Force in the old West Germany and there’s a story about that included. That part of his life will be dealt with more fully in a future book currently being written. A tale about gun running in North Africa involving the Algerian FLN is also included.
Not all the stories involve flying. There’s a tale about a court case in Auckland, a true and fascinating tale about drug smuggling where the author found himself on the jury.
The first tale, Standby, is about a wedding in Sydney where the lead character receives an unexpected invitation sent to his home address in Auckland. The ramifications of this invitation hint at infidelity on his part and the probable unpleasant consequences.
There’s a story about two couples who set off on an idyllic cruise in the South Seas. The Couple is fiction, however the cruise detail is factual. Pappette, Bora Bora, and Rangiroa, all feature and the seductive environment causes subtle changes in their relationships culminating in total disaster.
Andria is set in Hong Kong; a fictitious story about a romantic relationship that develops quickly when two vulnerable people find themselves thrown together during an airline stop-over in that fascinating city.
The Greening of Northland. A complete change here; this tale is about New Zealand’s unique aerial topdressing industry; a true story,
Remember Kai Tak. Another tale set in Hong Kong, this one’s about flying into that notorious old airport, now long gone. The author flew into Kai Tak countless times before it was replaced by a big new modern airport out at Lantau Island. There’s a graphic description of a ‘checker board’ approach, the one the passengers loved so much, the one that appeared to take you right in amongst all the tall buildings just before you landed.
The Beach; Waikiki beach in Honolulu; fascinating. The things that happened there, the memories, the nostalgia.
Christmas Island. Set in the Cold War years of the 1950s. Britain carried out a serious of nuclear weapon tests at Christmas Island in the Pacific and the author found himself flying in a support role for these tests; a true story.
A Close Call In Tahiti. Based on fact, this fictitious tale is about a romantic interlude between the lead character and an American girl at the Club Med on Moorea. The flight back to California is marred by a near disaster when there’s an engine failure during a DC10 take off at Faaa airport in Pappette; a true incident.
The Bottle. A holiday at an Italian beach, again during the Cold War. A couple enjoy the early romantic period of a relationship. Chianti, a lot of Chianti, is a feature of this short story.
The Airport. A day at your local airport, the sights, the people, the behaviour, the emotions, all combine in this revealing short story about peoples behaviour.
This ‘first collection’ will I am sure have appeal and there’s more to follow. The next collection, ‘Albert McConchie’s Bad Day & Other Tales’ is straight fiction with a humorous touch; it will be available shortly.
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