The Cannibal Queen: A Flight Into the Heart of America

The Cannibal Queen: A Flight Into the Heart of America

Stephen Coonts

Language: English

Pages: 339


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The compelling real-life adventure from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Coonts
Bestselling author Stephen Coonts’s stirring ode to aviation: a revealing account of his three months spent exploring small-town America from the skies
Stephen Coonts spent the summer of 1991 cruising above rivers, farms, mountains, and swamps in the Cannibal Queen, his restored 1942 Boeing-Stearman open cockpit biplane. With his fourteen-year-old son, David, along for the ride, Coonts explored the diverse landscapes of the forty-eight contiguous states, touching down in each one to record the untold stories of America’s countryside. The result is The Cannibal Queen, a striking memoir that features all the technical aviation know-how of Coonts’s acclaimed thrillers, but with the spotlight focused squarely on the beauty of rural America and the spirit of those who live there.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Stephen Coonts, including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.

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6,600 wounded. In addition, the Confederates captured about 2,500 Union soldiers. At the time this was the bloodiest battle ever fought on this continent and the long casualty lists stunned people north and south who had thought this would be a short, easy war. Amazingly, the battle was fought by raw troops, some of whom had never even fired their muskets before. Some of the inexperienced volunteers cut and ran at the first volley, but most dug in their heels and fought savagely. A lot of them

Federals could have marched anywhere on the continent and the Confederates could have done nothing about it. The Union Army could have smashed New Orleans, sacked Mobile, burned Vicksburg. Even better, they could have chased and cornered and gutted Beauregard’s army, the only Confederate army west of the Alleghenies. But Halleck wanted territory. This military genius divided up his forces and garrisoned every hamlet on the railroad, which gave the Confederates invaluable time and allowed the

eatery I see. Sure enough, they have a wall covered with big movie posters and publicity shots from Casablanca. I eat a bowl of chili with Humphrey Bogart smoldering over my shoulder. Halfway through a hamburger it occurs to me that I have just landed in the 48th State since I left Boulder on June 8. South Dakota was the last one. So I’ve done it! I’ve flown over and landed in all 48 of the contiguous United States in the Cannibal Queen. In one summer. I haven’t crashed. I haven’t had a major

pressure reads 26 inches. Aha, St. Francis is 3,000 feet above sea level, and I have been flying out of Boulder, Colorado, which is at 5,300 feet. So this is what happens when you get a little closer to sea level. A 70-mile-per-hour climb speed works out to about 12 degrees nose up. We soar skyward. Yee-haaa! After we level out I turn the stick over to David. He ignores the rudders, as he has done on flights in the past when he tried this piloting gig. I keep him generally headed in the right

upward past the Cannibal Queen’s yellow wings. On Thursday the guys at KCI Aviation in Clarksburg drained the fuel from the Cannibal Queen, installed the new sight-gauge that came in the overnight mail from Chickasha, Oklahoma, then helped me refuel her. She took 42.3 gallons, full to the brim. I think the only way anyone could get 46 gallons in that tank would be to lift the tail to the in-flight attitude, which would be impractical to do on a daily basis. With all the gasoline aboard the new

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