Ann McKenna Fromm

WRITER:  Books, Essays, Ghostwriting

Excerpt – Fly By Wire


By Ann McKenna Fromm
and Captain Richard Payne

Excerpt from FLY BY WIRE by Ann McKenna Fromm and Captain Richard Payne Copyright © 2017 by Ann Fromm and Richard Payne,
Performed by Ted Payne

Just published!  FLY BY WIRE is the story of Tom Jordan, pilot of hacked Boeing 787 Dreamliner en route from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. Will Jordan ferret out the on-board hijacker? Will he be able to land the badly damaged airline?


……Tom stood and rubbed his hand across his forehead. With oxygen, his head was clearing. What was he doing? How could he wander around the airplane when the plane was in danger? What was the matter with him? He took another deep breath, closing his eyes. Think. His passengers could not breathe, the outflow valves were open, and pressurized cabin air gushed out the back of the aircraft. Dangerously soon, his passengers would be unable to breathe at all. He had to act. He managed to punch in his office code quickly this time. There was only one thing to do.

They had to dive.

Chapter 10

Tom slid into the pilot’s seat and felt for his seat belt. It clicked and he jabbed the button to alert passengers to fasten theirs. He pressed the manual passenger oxygen switch. Masks should now dangle over all their heads. Into the PA he yelled, “Robin, check seat belts!” He hoped Robin was awake enough to make the announcement. His ears rang. The master caution light alarm sounded: Wa–Wa-Wa–Wa. The altitude alert warning clanged rapidly: ding ding ding ding ding ding. He reached up and silenced the alarm. He pushed the master caution light flashing bright amber; red spots still glowed against his retinas when it went off. Check, he thought. The caution light would now reset and alert him to anything new. By feel, he disengaged the autopilot, relieved as the switch slid back at his touch.

His movements became more automatic as his training took over, compensating for hypoxia. Tom rotated the knob on the Mode Control Panel to the target altitude of 10,000 feet and then grasped the yoke, easing it forward. He set the aircraft to its nose-down attitude. At the console, he disconnected the auto-throttles with his thumb and eased back the power to idle. He felt himself lightening in his seat. The curvature of the Pacific Ocean flattened as they descended. Variegated clouds, lit by a rising orange moon, moved westerly with the wind. The moon hung low in the midnight blue sky.

So far, the descent was smooth. He grabbed the speed brake lever and extended it. Now, instead of the normal 5,000 feet per minute, they rocketed downward at 8,000 feet per minute….

Author Bios

Ann McKenna Fromm is an award-winning writer, publishing non-fiction in her city magazine and papers. A collection of her most popular pieces, the book STEEL CITY LOVE SONG: Extraordinary Moments in Ordinary Lives was successful in its niche market. She has ghostwritten three other books and currently works on a second thriller with Captain Payne.  Ann has taken flying lessons and soloed in a Cessna 152.  She has two children and lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her fiancé and hundred-pound dog.

Captain Richard Payne, a former Navy pilot, began to fly for American Airlines in 1989.  He spent 12 years as a co-pilot, and 14 years as a captain, frequently flying Boeing 777s from Los Angeles to Tokyo.  He trained on the Dreamliner (Boeing 787) and captained the new airliner for the first time in January, 2016.  AUTOPILOT is his first novel.  He is working with Ann Fromm on a second novel, set on a pulse jet.  He has one son and lives in San Diego.

Contact Info

Ann Fromm

Captain Richard Payne,

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