Posted by: harrisonjones | July 4, 2011

New Shadow Flight excerpt…

Captain Bud Gibson hated recurrent training. The annual ritual of sitting in a ground school classroom for two eight hour days and then a third day in the flight simulator was a torture that he endured only because it was a required qualification to keep his job for another year. Thank God he had finished the two days in the classroom and could now sequester himself to his hotel room to memorize the endless data he would need to pass his simulator check ride.

            The last two hours in the classroom had consisted of a lecture by a corporate security representative on the multitude of possible terror threats against the airlines. The awareness made him wonder why he loved a profession that required him to be trained to handle any number of aircraft malfunctions, snow, ice, thunderstorms, wind shear, fog, mountainous terrain,  turbulence, and now terrorist that wanted to take over his airplane and make it a weapon of mass destruction. His faith in mankind had been altered by the lecture.

            These were the thoughts that occupied his mind as he rode the elevator up to his room. At least he would be able to return home to Dallas after the check ride tomorrow and enjoy a few days off with his family—assuming, of course, that he handled all the emergencies in the simulator to the satisfaction of the FAA. 

            When the elevator doors opened, he began the trek down the long corridor carrying his flight kit in his right hand. He had forgotten how heavy the brain bag could be since it was normally hooked onto his rolling suitcase. As he approached the room his mind was still occupied with thoughts of terrorist threats and he paid little attention to the woman fumbling with her key card at the room next to his.

            She looked up and smiled, “I hate it when I get locked out of my room.”

            “I know what you mean—let me try it.”

            He inserted the card slowly and got a red light for his effort. He inserted it quickly with the same result. “Well, that’s the extent of my expertise. Guess you’ll have to call the front desk and have them send someone up with a new card. There’s a house phone by the elevator.”

            “I know, but it doesn’t work and I hate to go all the way down to the lobby to get a new key. I wonder if I could use your phone.”

            He thought about it and assumed that she was a flight attendant attending training also. Late twenties, Asian features, long black hair, killer body, friendly smile.

            “Sure, assuming I can make my key work.”

            At his room the green light glowed, the lock clicked and he opened the door. She followed him in and the door closed as he set his flight kit down by the desk. He was aware that she was standing close behind him and then he felt the bee sting on the back of his neck. The room began to spin and his thoughts became fragmented. The one that he tried to hold on to was a vague recollection of something he had heard in ground school about crew awareness of hotel security.

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