“Okay, I’ll demonstrate flying through these passages before these clouds get too low,” Steve yelled over the roaring engine. “Do you see the break in the mountains ahead? Fly to those, staying as far right as you can.”
“I’m staying to the right, and I don’t mind telling you this is a little nerve racking.”
“I’m with you, but this is the only way to some of the villages.” Steve knew John would have a hard time at first. “Just remember to stay to the right. That way if you find you may have mistakenly flown the wrong passage, you will have ample room on the left side for maneuvering.”
“Well, I can tell you that this barely leaves enough to turn. I’d hate to have to make a hasty U-turn or other emergency procedures,” said John.
There was only a mile of flying space between mountain–plenty of room for turning a car around, but an airplane is another story. The perception of speed was great as they passed within twenty-five feet of the mountain to the right. The trees and tree top houses were a blur along the mountain side.
“About the U-turn you mentioned earlier,” Steve shouted. “About 18 years ago one of our own was flying a missionary family through a similar passage. They were headed south to do a revival near Agats. He was heading out of the Maoke Mountains, when he realized nothing looked familiar. He rationalized that he must have gone down the wrong valley.”
“How come he didn’t climb out and get his bearings?” asked John.
“Because of similar weather conditions. The pilot opted to continue the route. Visibility was horrible when suddenly a large object loomed before the plane. Instinctively, the pilot initiated a climbing turn hoping to fly back,” said Steve.
“I guess since he was on one side of the valley, he made it okay,” John guessed.
“No, he wasn’t. At that time, pilots were flying down the center to avoid being too close to a mountain; however, the rules have since changed. Anyway, what I am about to say to you must stay between us. It was given to me in good faith, but I feel you should know. Deal?”
“It won’t leave this plane,” John pledged.
“The pilot attempted the turn and almost made it, but the right wing clipped the trees, dragging the plane to the ground. There was only one survivor, and he was found a few days later still at the site. The pilot and Mr. and Ms. Heatherly died. Their son, Jason was the only survivor.”
Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is the owner of Red Bike Publishing. Jeff is an accomplished writer of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals. He also owns Red bike Publishing. Published books include: "Get Rich in a Niche-Insider's Guide to Self Publishing in a Specialized Industry" and "Commitment-A Novel". Jeff is an expert in security and has written many security books including: "Insider's Guide to Security Clearances" and "DoD Security Clearances and Contracts Guidebook". See Red Bike Publishing for print copies of: Army Leadership The Ranger Handbook The Army Physical Readiness Manual Drill and Ceremonies The ITAR The NISPOM