Stephen Coonts' Journal

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Flew my first glider solo today… actually two solos, because the instructor was brave enough to send my up twice.  I found out that being all alone in an airplane 3,000 feet in the air without an engine is interesting.  Enervating.   Kinky, even.   Back in the Navy, we called that state of affairs a red hot emergency, but the glider guys are tougher–they do it routinely.

While I was up there all alone, listening to the slipstream and humming to myself while noodling about the degree of my sanity, I recalled my very first solo, 41 YEARS ago, in a U.S. Navy T-34.  41 YEARS ago!  Jesus Christ, I am becoming an old fart!

Still, aviation continues to enchant me.  I am really lucky, huh?

Written by stephencoonts

December 15, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses

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  1. Stephen, We are auctioning a ride in a Stearman as part of our fundraising for our local hospital’s oncology department. We would like to include a copy of “Cannibal Queen” to the winning bidder. May we send you a copy for your autograph? Please let us know where we can send the book. Loved the book and hope to pass it on this way! Bob

    Robert Christensen

    December 16, 2009 at 12:27 pm

  2. You ain’t becomin’ an old fart, dude. You’re a “baby boomer” so you are an old fart, take it from another old fart. I predate you by a few years as I was born ’bout 6 months prior to WWII. I did my flyin’ over Nam in the USAF a few years earlier than you.

    Jerry Estes

    December 17, 2009 at 4:50 am

  3. Mr. Coonts,
    I loved The Disciple and am anxiously awaiting your Deep Black: Sea of Terror release in February. That will help pass the time until another novel is released!
    I fell in love with glider flying a few years ago and purchased my own last summer. As a dual-rated fixed and rotor pilot I still think the glider has them beat in alot of areas. I highly encourage you to stick with it. I don’t know what trainer you are in but I highly encourage you to eventually advance to the higher performance ships to truly get a feel for the sport.
    Happy Holidays!

    Kent Sapp

    December 18, 2009 at 7:57 am

  4. Congratulations, Stephen! I remember my glider solo in 1975 like it was yesterday.


    p.s. started Disciple on my iTouch.

    Lee Robinson

    December 18, 2009 at 12:23 pm

  5. Hello Stephen- I am loving The Disciple. Thanks for another adventure. Grafton and Carmellini can’t be beat. Funny you mention glider flights. I soloed single engine 21 years ago but just took my first glider ride last month. I am hooked. Plan to start the instruction and check out soon. Paying for av gas will soon be a thing of the past. I’ll be flying out of Coastal Airport, just a few miles NW of Saufley Field near Pensacola. Look forward to more glider reports.

    Victor Lowrimore

    December 19, 2009 at 7:29 pm

  6. Sorry I missed your book signing in Houston; just found your web site this morning. I enjoyed the Disciple, as I have all your books.
    Hope you have another book in work?
    Al Manson, former Naval Aviator

    Allen Manson

    December 21, 2009 at 9:37 am

  7. RE gliders – I took my first ride just a year ago, thanks to my father’s generosity – what a blast! Love the quiet ride. We recommend the Estrella Soaringport to you, near Phoenix. (

    Esther Ames

    January 22, 2010 at 11:48 am

  8. Been reading you forever. We have come a long way from an “unidentified” individual taking a dump on someone’s desk. Funny, I can not watch the movies but I can read books about the war. Just about to start “The Assassin”. I can’t afford many new books, but I hound the thrift stores. Jake has been one of my favorites from the first novel, not really sure about how you resurected Tiger. Was there a story I missed? All together a really good job(for a squid). I am just an old grunt so my opinion doesn’t count for much, however for what it is worth, good job.

    Harry Caldwell

    September 2, 2011 at 5:53 pm

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