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Special thanks to Mark Burgess (Founder and Chief Operations Officer), Senior Captains, Dan Robbins, Bob Somerville, and Safety Officer Ken Evers of OzAir Charter Service in Springfield, Missouri, for their invaluable assistance in the writing of aviation scenes in WENT FOR A RIDE.

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With Mark Burgess, Founder and Chief Operations Officer of OzAir.
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A light moment with Senior Captain Bob Somerville.
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Senior Captain Dan Robbins taking me through a pre-flight check.
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With Dan Robbins in the cockpit of the Citation Encore, where an in-flight emergency takes place in WENT FOR A RIDE.

Senior Captain John Obenauf, Aircraft Rescue Firefighter of the Houston Fire Department, Houston, Texas.

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John was instrumental in me 'getting it right'. Going on what I'd seen in films, I thought a plane making an emergency landing would be doused by fire-retardant foam. Thankfully, John set me straight. Feeling readers might have the same impression, I wrote the scene to include the reason behind present-day procedures.

In addition to his firefighter position with the Houston Airport, John often occupies the pilot seat of a Citation 550 similar to the plane depicted on the cover of WENT FOR A RIDE.

Excerpt from WENT FOR A RIDE:

  Gil Jurgens looked at the profile of the man sitting next to him and wished, today of all days, they hadn’t been scheduled to work together. This just wasn’t the time or place for a damn grandstander.

  “I’m warning you, Tom. No foam unless you see fuel on the ground.”

  “Frigging EPA anyway. What’s with this cancer-causing shit all of a sudden? Hell, I’ve been sliding around in that stuff for years and I’m healthy as an ox.”

  “Just do your damn job,” said Jurgens. “Otherwise, management will be on your ass for the cost of a hazmat cleanup and resurfacing the runway. Then they’ll be talking early retirement.”


  Jurgens spotted the Cessna as it began its final approach.

  “Here he comes.”

  With lights flashing, Jurgens and his crew observed the plane steadily lower to the ground. They waited till the jet passed before moving in and following behind. Concrete dust flew as the belly of the Encore hit the runway. Once the plane came to a complete stop, and passengers and crew were clear, the rescue vehicles surrounded the jet on three sides.

  Lindahl, Baptiste and their clients gathered at a safe distance and watched as the fire/rescue crew went to work.

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