Leslie Wright of Blog Critics reviews Flight Emergency

In the second non-pilot book review in a week, book reviewer Leslie Wright has given Flight Emergency 4/5 stars. I’m pleased that readers with little or no piloting experience are able to enjoy the interactive scenarios, and recognize their value as a teaching tool. In her conclusion, Leslie writes:

I would recommend this book as a great gift for your student pilot or even your already certified pilot. Pitting yourself against the inherent dangers in such a safe interactive way and learning how to spot and divert danger Is one of the best gifts one can give.

Kempley has stepped outside the box to bring safety to others. This would be a great book for the amateur or professional aviator to add to their library.

Her review has been posted to the nationally syndicated site Blog Critics, her book review site TicToc, Amazon, Shelfari, and Goodreads. Also published in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (PI). Thank you, Leslie!

Flight Emergency Book Review: Literary R&R

What do non-pilots think of Flight Emergency? Kathy on Literary R&R has written a great book review from this perspective. She picks up on two key points I wanted to convey to readers:

  1. Most emergencies and accidents are the result of pilot error. She says, “It was interesting to me to see how so much of the scenarios were results of error or bad judgement on the part of the pilot.” Very true, Kathy! It makes me wonder if the perception is otherwise in the non-aviation community, that emergencies and accidents due to mechanical problems are more prevalent than they actually are?
  2. Bad decisions can “snowball” into worse situations and decisions. Accidents are so often the result of one bad decision after another, each one leading to more danger and fewer safe options. But sometimes all it takes is one good decision to break this chain and end the flight safely!

She also mentions that she’d like to see this interactive approach to teaching in other industries. I’ve pondered the same possibility.

If you enjoy reading, please check out Literary R&R, a fantastic book review site with a fun personality. Thanks to Kathy and Mandy for the book review!

Small Airports Like Sedona’s Mesa-Top Gem Need Our Support

airport parked at sedona airport
Our rented 1962 Cessna 182 on top of the mesa at Sedona, Arizona’s airport (KSEZ)

What can compare to landing your plane on top of a mesa, with gorgeous red rock formations all around you? Sedona, Arizona’s airport is known as “America’s Most Scenic Airport” for a good reason: it’s downright beautiful there. While I have a special place in my heart for the vistas of the Minden-Tahoe airport where I learned to fly, the Sedona airport is undoubtedly my next-favorite airport. I’ve flown into the airport and visited by car. Each time the place has not failed to work its magic on me and whoever I am with.

Sedona’s runway was first paved in 1957 and since then has not only become a premier destination for tourism (and the money it generates) but also a valuable resource for the community in terms of the transportation and services it provides. It’s a small, non-towered airport and as such retains the small town friendly charm of which I and countless other pilots are very fond. However, as is inevitable with growth and expansion, complaints arise from the community about noise or pollution. Recently, Kristin Monday of Sedona has been complaining that the jet fumes are making her and her husband sick. Monday lives directly under the flight path of the airport and wants the airport moved or closed. See this story in the Sedona Red Rock News: “Woman works to close Sedona Airport.”

red rock formations
Stunning red rock formations in Sedona, Arizona.

It’s a familiar story with airports across the country: people move in next door to them, then raise complaints about noise when it was those people who chose to purchase a home near the airport in the first place. The airports were established there long beforehand. As a pilot, I think living close to an airport (or on an airport!) would be fantastic, but I realize many people do not want the sound of planes and helicopters in their immediate vicinity. But noise aside, surely people such as Monday would be grateful the airport does exist in the case of a medical emergency, when the speed of a helicopter ride to Phoenix could save a life? Airports are also invaluable in fighting forest fires, serve as bases for search and rescue efforts, and so much more. The revenue to small communities that airports such as Sedona’s provide is often a larger portion of the pie than most people realize. Would they rather take on the burden themselves in the form of higher taxes? From aircraft fuel sales to the tourism dollars visitors spend in hotels and restaurants, airports rack in the cash for places like Sedona.

There’s another benefit airports provide to the community as well that I believe is very important: the moment when a child sees the wonder of a plane or helicopter flying and is positively influenced in that moment to become a pilot, mechanic, or engineer. Is that worth the sound of a jet flying overhead occasionally?

Sedona’s current conflict is only one of many that happen across our country every year. Please take a moment to vote on the article’s web site that the “Airport is not a problem” so we might nip this instance in the bud. Whether you’re a pilot or just an aviation enthusiast, talk up general aviation and your local airport whenever possible. Take your friends and their children for airplane rides. Finally, consider volunteering for AOPA’s Airport Support Network, where you have the resources of the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) in your corner. They can assist you in promotional efforts like airport open house events, or defensively, should a threat present itself to your airport.

Our country’s airports are an incredible resource and make the USA the best, freest place to be a general aviation pilot in the world. Let’s all do a little something to support our small airports so we can keep gems like Sedona available for everyone!

Panorama of the town of Sedona from the airport mesa
Panorama of the town of Sedona from the airport mesa.

West with the Night by Beryl Markham

book cover for west with the night

West With the Night is one of my all-time favorite books. I know there is some debate as to whether or not Beryl herself actually wrote it, but to me this does not detract from the sheer artistry of language and depth of adventure within. There are passages in this book that I re-read from time to time which do the same for me as watching a beautiful sunset or listening to a bird sing on a lovely summer’s day. My flight instructor and friend John B. Brown recommended this to me early in my flight training, and in doing so gave me a great gift!

The book is, in short, an exceptional, inspiring life described in absolutely beautiful language. Beryl’s bold skill in aviation and horse racing in British colonial Africa weren’t her only talents—Ernest Hemingway praised her writing ability such that it put him to shame! Her aviation adventures include such hair-raising stories as transporting medical supplies late at night to isolated, primitive landing strips and flying low over remote, dangerous areas finding and tracking elephants for hunting parties. What bravery, skill, knowledge, and confidence this woman had. Chapter 13 is particularly moving for me: the story of the horse Wise Child’s last race. The tension and emotion Beryl feels as she watches the race unfold come off the pages so richly, you are immersed in her mind like in no other horse race passage I have ever read. (And I have read many great ones!)

Whether or not your interests lie in aviation, horses, Africa, or completely elsewhere, you’ll find Beryl’s eloquent stories and strong, no-nonsense personality drawing you into this truly memorable read. The woman flew solo across the Atlantic for goodness sake! What a heroine for all of us. And what a lovely, unforgettable book.

Find this and my other book reviews on goodreads!

Entering Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards

Have you started reading eBooks yet? After a slow start many years ago, their sales are now outpacing traditional print books and e-readers are becoming commonplace. I find the idea and potential of an eBook fascinating, as it is changing the way we think about and read books. Multimedia and interactivity can now be a part of the reading experience, and even the publishing process is more approachable and requires a smaller up-front investment. From the beginning I had planned on releasing electronic versions of Kindle, Nook, and iPad. After working through the conversion process, I now realize ho much potential this format has to revolutionize the idea of a “book.” I found it exciting to see how the interactivity of Flight Emergency lent itself very well to the new technology, using links to navigate through the path the reader chooses in each scenario, or to backtrack and make a different decision, for example. I can imagine much more potential for the future as well.

nominated medallion

Dan Poynter and his company Para Publishing LLC has always been at the forefront of the publishing industry. Now he is recognizing the quickly-growing world of eBooks in their very own awards contest. Other book award programs I’ve seen offer awards for eBooks as a sideline to print books, or do not offer different categories for eBooks as they do for print books. But in Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards, Flight Emergency and all other Nominated entries are competing against books in their own categories, as well as “best of” categories, such as cover and illustrations. In the coming weeks, judges will read all Nominated eBooks and select Finalists and Winners in each category.

With all the excitement eBooks offer, I must admit to remaining a traditionalist in some ways. For example, can an eBook simulate the old book smell, the feel of an old out-of-print book in your hands, or the fun and discovery of browsing the library’s basement stacks? Call me a book geek, but I will always enjoy reading a yellowed, musty vintage science fiction paperback with a price of $0.65 on the cover and cigarette advertisement inserts in the middle. eBooks won’t ever replace paper books for me—and I suspect many others—but they are expanding the world of reading and publishing books, attracting new readers, and allowing more authors to become published who may not have had the means before. It will be exciting to see the book evolve in the future.

…And wish me luck in the Global eBook Awards!

International Women in Aviation Conference—Dallas, Texas

A high-powered group of women gathered in Dallas, Texas March 8-10 for the 23rd Annual International Women in Aviation Conference. Civilian and military pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers, engineers, and more filled the Hilton Anatole with an incredible energy and camaraderie. I was fortunate to be a part of the Author’s Table for my book Flight Emergency, which was an honor and a lot of fun!

three women WASP pilots during WWII
Three WASP pilots during WWII looking glamorous and ready for flight!
brian shul with guests
Reya with former SR-71 pilot Brian Shul
helicopter with women pilots
A helicopter in the exhibit hall with its two lady pilots nearby.
turbine engine cutaway
A beautiful moving cutaway model of a Pratt & Whitney turbine engine PW207: art an engineer could appreciate!
author with her book
Author Reya Kempley ready to sign a copy of Flight Emergency!
Author’s Table poster featuring Flight Emergency among many great aviation books.

Visit the Women in Aviation, International web site for more information on this outstanding organization that promotes women in all areas of aviation. Men, you’re welcome to join too!

Kindle eBook now available on Amazon.com

If you have a Kindle device or enjoy reading eBooks on your computer or mobile device with the free Kindle reading apps, check out Flight Emergency for Kindle from Amazon.com! The electronic format lends itself perfectly to interactivity, with plenty of navigational links for making decisions, backtracking, or jumping into different scenarios. For only half the cost of the paper edition, it’s a great deal!

If you don’t have a Kindle, no worries. You can either download one of the free Kindle reading apps available for PC, Mac, and mobile phones, or await the eBook for iPad and Nook coming soon!

Book Review in the 99s Magazine

Thank you to the Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots, for publishing a great review of Flight Emergency in their January/February/March 2012 issue of their magazine, 99 News! Download the 99 News in PDF format on the Ninety-Nines web site or read the full text of the review below:

Flight Emergency by Reya Kempley
Reviewed by Jill D. Smith

As a CFI, I liked the book Flight Emergency by Reya Kempley, especially for use as a training aid. It is a fairly quick read and, since it is set up in scenarios, you can break it up into easily manageable lessons. The settings are events that can or have happened, and the way they are portrayed makes you feel like you are actually there.

The book covers numerous topics that range from emergencies to different types of flying situations that turn into emergencies. It’s unique in that it gives you different options to choose instead of just saying “here’s what you do.” If your choice doesn’t turn out well, you can go back and change your mind — something you can’t do in the airplane! The book leaves room to add information to the training discussions that make the situations more realistic. For student pilots, it’s thought provoking and a good way to understand and learn to make the right decisions in an emergency. It’s also a good tool for pilots of all experience levels as a helpful refresher since actual emergencies don’t happen often, nor do you practice them often.

Reading this book — or even rereading it once every few months, could help you keep from getting complacent between flight reviews!

I’ve been a member of the superb and award-winning Reno High Sierra chapter of the Ninety-Nines for years. If you’re a woman pilot and aren’t a member, why not join and find the fun and camaraderie (and scholarships!) that this great organization offers?

From the Ninety-Nines, Inc. website:

OUR MISSION –The Ninety-Nines is the international organization of women pilots that promotes advancement of aviation through education, scholarships, and mutual support while honoring our unique history and sharing our passion for flight.

Established in 1929 by 99 women pilots, the members of The Ninety-Nines, Inc., International Organization of Women Pilots, are represented in all areas of aviation today. And, to quote Amelia, fly “for the fun of it!”