Life Imitating Art (Captain John Testrake TWA Flight 847)
I wrote a post on Art Imitating Life last week. I wrote it after realizing that Big Flo’s conversion (the Boeing 727 from Discovery’s Plane Crash Documentary) to a restaurant was quite literally a page out of my first book, Project 7 Alpha. A chapter actually; it reminded me that while many authors write of past experience, I am still very much engaged in the aviation life I try to chronicle.
I was further reminded of this on my last flight. I flew with a Captain named John Testrake; when we introduced each other I thought his name sounded familiar. On the last leg of our three day flight while I was doing the walk around it hit me.
He was the son of another Captain John Testrake. We had talked for days about aviation and the Navy; his father had served on carriers at a time when the decks were wood and the men were made of iron. He even mentioned he had been a pilot with TWA.
During the walk around I realized his father had bravely commanded TWA Flight 847 through 17 days of a brutal hijacking. This aviation legacy, passed from generation to generation in good and bad times, is what I try to capture in my novels. Ordinary men and women bravely persevering in extraordinary times.