FLY GIRL EXCERPT
“WELCOME TO LUXEMBOURG, Astral November Nine Tango X-ray. Runway Two- Four, cleared to land, wind two-five-zero at six knots, right turn off.” Tris acknowledged the landing clearance.
“Gear down, before landing checklist,” Deter said.
Tris grasped the handle that lowered the Astral’s landing gear. She kept her left index finger pointed at the three lights that would turn green when each of the plane’s wheels were down and locked. After a few seconds, Tris saw the left main and nose gear lights illuminate, but the right gear light remained dark.
“I do not have three green. No three green,” she said quickly. The aircraft was just six hundred feet above the ground.
“What the fuck?” Deter screamed but took no action as the Astral moved closer to the ground.
Deter hesitated so Tris made the call. “We don’t have three green. Go around!”
“Go around!” Deter slammed full power on the aircraft. He swore under his breath as the airplane’s nose hesitated, then pitched up.
Tris lifted the gear handle to stow the gear. Maybe raising it would shake something loose, and that third light would come on next time they tried to put the wheels down. But first, the Astral had to get away from other air traffic.
“Tower, Nine Tango X-ray, missed approach. We can’t con-firm that the landing gear is down and locked. We need a vector to an area where we can diagnose the problem.” Deter nodded along with her demand.
“Roger, Nine Tango X-ray, fly heading two- four-zero, climb and maintain six thousand.
Let us know what happens.”
“What is wrong with the goddamn gear? Recycle it! Now!” Deter’s words landed like blows, his anger unrestrained. Tris recovered quickly; she had to. And she couldn’t punch back. The five souls aboard the Astral were in real danger. They weren’t on the ground with options—they were in the air with none.
Robin "R.D." Kardon was a litigation attorney before beginning a twelve-year flying career as a corporate and airline pilot. She holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and three Captain qualifications. Her travels took her all over the world in every type of airplane from small single-engine Cessnas to the Boeing 737. Robin earned her B.A. in Journalism and Sociology from NYU and J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law. A native New Yorker, Robin now lives in San Diego, California with her beloved rescue pets. , a work of fiction inspired by her own aviation experience, is her first novel.