Flying’s Jumpseat Columnist Les Abend Debuts Aviation Thriller Novel

Paper Wings is an aviation thriller available from WildBlue Press. WildBlue Press

Veteran airline captain and aviation analyst Les Abend's writing has appeared in the pages of Flying for 15 years. On March 7, he'll debut his first novel, an aviation thriller titled Paper Wings.

Paper Wings chronicles the investigation of a mysterious in-flight emergency resulting in passenger fatalities and the forced diversion of Patriot Airlines Flight 63 to Bermuda. Throughout the investigation, it appears as though someone is going to great lengths, including kidnapping and murder, to conceal the facts.

New York Times bestselling author John J. Nance called the highly anticipated novel an "all-night pulse pounder."

"Paper Wings rockets through a beautifully intricate plot — a masterful mélange of deadly mysteries and desperate acts against the backdrop of the real world of airline accident investigation," Nance said.

A kindle edition of Paper Wings is available for pre-order for $3.99 through WildBlue Press.

An excerpt from the book:

Rod glanced at the desk phone. The flashing green light and warbling tone indicated that the call was the office intercom. Rod picked up the handset and put it to his ear.

“Rod, it’s Donna.” You need to pick up Line 1. It’s the crew schedule M.O.D.”

“This can’t be good,” Rod said.

Calls from the crew schedule manager on duty usually concerned a pilot who had missed a trip, or had some issue that could potentially turn into a discipline problem, or …

Donna said, “No, it’s not good. That’s why they’re calling you. More [s**t] has just hit the fan.”

“Great. Do I get paid extra for this?”

“Not as far as I know, but you do get Princess parking.”

Rod aimed a finger at Line 1. “I’ve got it, Donna.” He pressed the button.

“Rod Moretti. What can I do for you, crew schedule?”

“Captain Moretti, this is Misty Adams. I’m the M.O.D. We just got a call from a Robin Townsend. I believe that is First Officer Townsend’s wife. Apparently crew schedule was her only point of contact in an attempt to reach her husband. She didn’t know any other way. Considering the circumstances, I thought it best to call you.”

“Thanks, Ms. Adams. You did the right thing.”

“Understandably, she sounded very distraught.”

“I’m sure she is. I’ll handle this. I’ll call First Officer Townsend in Bermuda right away.”

Misty Adams cleared her throat and said, “The emergency landing is not really the concern.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m getting this information second hand through the crew scheduler that got the original call … but it appears that the First Officer’s daughters were abducted this afternoon at their high school.”


“Yes, sir. I know. It gets worse. The security officer that escorted the two girls was shot and killed during the abduction.”

Rod listened to the M.O.D. as she conveyed the remainder of the story. Unbelievable! How was he going to break the news? It didn’t matter. He had to get the man home, NTSB investigation or not. He’d make the call to Bermuda, but …

Harty Lindy should be informed regarding the development with the copilot’s family. He didn’t like it much, but it was the right thing to do. Hart’s group would be better prepared to deal with this crisis. Plus, the pilot’s union would have more influence … at least for the moment.

“[S**t] … ” Rod muttered under his breath. 
 He had hoped his new position would avoid contact with Hart. How many years had it been now? How many years had they been friends? His falling out with Hart had been almost as disappointing as his divorce.

It wasn’t important now. His priority was to a pilot at his base that was about to enter crisis mode.


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