a blog by Peter Stekel

FINAL FLIGHT is the story of four aviators lost in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks on November 18, 1942

Read more about FINAL FLIGHT here.

Order Final Flight from Amazon or Powell's World of Books in Oregon

May 2010

"Stekel has breathed warm life into these long lost World War II airmen who disappeared while on a training mission in 1942. (He) skillfully weaves the crew's fate in these rugged mountains with his own quest to unravel the mystery."

Eric Blehm, bestselling author of The Last Season and The Only Thing Worth Dying For.

Photos of climbing Mt. Mendel along with route descriptions can be found HERE [Class 4 NE Ridge] and HERE [Class 5 Mendel Couloirs]. Do not attempt either of these climbs unless you are an experienced climber and know what you are doing. Neither climb is for the faint of heart, the novice, or the under-experienced. *Please do not contact me for advice on these climbs or how to get to them.*

Many times during my research for Final Flight I was struck with how writing a book becomes a group effort. But in the end, there is only one person who gathers all the data together and shapes it into something readable. Without the contribution of people who provide information, insight, and thoughtful response, a non-fiction book cannot be written. In comparison, fiction writers have it easy. Sequestered in their lonely garrets they construct worlds with their imagination and never need speak to another person for ideas, facts, or background. Non-fiction requires imagination too, but the creative process is a whole lot different.

I was fortunate with Final Flight because I chose to write a book that encompassed two subjects that attract a huge cohort of interested and dedicated people: aviation and the Sierra Nevada. When Leo Mustonen was found back in October, 2005, there was a lot of discussion in the media, on the web, and [I'm sure] in people's homes about who he could be and how he could have come to rest in Mendel Glacier for so long a time. All of that discussion was revived in August, 2007 when I found the remains of Glenn Munn. One of the places I turned to for information was High Sierra Topix, an internet discussion forum moderated by Eric Osterling.

Through High Sierra Topix I was able to meet and talk with one of the national park service rangers who participated in the recovery of Leo Mustonen's remains and Glenn Munn's remains. I can't express how important this interaction proved to be.

There is a lot of discussion these days of how we are spending too much time communicating via our keyboards and not enough time using our tongues. Personal, one-on-one, communication is, by far, the best way to go. But it isn't always possible. Forums, like the one with High Sierra Topix, provides a place where people with similar interests can get together to share information and ideas and also, simply, say "Hello."

Keyboards aren't all that bad! I see email and forum communication as natural extensions of typewriters and correspondence by postal service. The extra added goodness of being able to communicate with more than one person at a time is a bonus for writers researching historical topics. Add to that the fast turnaround time. As I said, writing a book is very much a group effort. Being able to find and interact with people who share a similar interest in the Sierra Nevada was instrumental in making Final Flight a reality.

For any Sierra Nevada lovers who are interested in participating in the High Sierra Topix forums, click HERE. Also, you can participate in the Topix Facebook page HERE.


December November October September August July June May April March February January


December November October September August July June May April March February January



December November October September August July June May April March February January


December November October September August July  June May April March February January    


December November October September


write to: peter[at]


copyright 2010 Peter Stekel all rights reserved



Final Flight, Mendel, Mendel Glacier, Sierra Nevada, Peter Stekel, Leo Mustonen, Ernest Munn, William Gamber, John Mortenson, Kings Canyon National Park, Beech 18, AT-7, plane crash, mummy, JPAC, Wilderness Press, finalflightthebook, blog, 41-21070, airplane, lenticular cloud, hypoxia, navigation, wilderness