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.


I arranged a short book tour in California from September 25th to October 5th. Given that I was still not able to walk when I left home, I had no idea how well I would do with the drive from my home in Seattle nor how difficult it would be to schlep around my computer and projector.

I'd have to say I did pretty well. It must have been all that driving and sitting in the car because the swelling in my foot, ankle, and leg went away in less than a week and I was able to walk - hobble, really - around on my "boot" as long as I had crutches to support my weight. Here I am at Spellbinder books with my "boot." Notice the crutches hiding behind me, leaned against the book display.

My presentation consists of a short reading from Final Flight followed by a 30 minute PowerPoint slide show, concluding with another reading. Following this, there are questions and I always encourage audience-members to contribute their own stories and/or theories about the crash.

During my tour of four Northern California bookstores I met over 80 people and about 40 books were purchased. All the bookstore owners/managers were pleased with these numbers.

Here I am at Spellbinder Books in Bishop on September 25th.

They put together a very nice display in the center of the store and advertised the event on their website, Facebook page, and on the radio. They even made up THIS great poster. There were 40+ people in attendance and we sold over 20 books.

Finally, Spellbinder arranged for me to be interviewed by Mike Bodine from the Inyo Register for their September 26-27, 2010 issue. Read a PDF copy of the interview HERE. Bodine did a great job in setting down the story of Final Flight.


My next two book readings were with The Avid Reader in Davis and their sister store in Sacramento on October 2nd and 3rd.

Attendance was low in Davis [only three people] but three books were sold.

There were over a dozen people the next day in Sacramento and including many friends of mine from the area whom I hadn't seen in ages. Ten books were sold. Even the store manager was intrigued with the mystery of the Frozen Airmen and sat with the audience.

My final book event was held at University Press Bookstore in Berkeley on October 5th. There were 20+ people in attendance and ten books were sold. Included in the audience was Roslyn Bullas, who, as publisher at Wilderness Press, first showed the support that would culminate in the publishing of Final Flight.

This is their front window display for Final Flight.


On October 9th I spoke with Lt. Col. [retired] Andrew "Jack" Walton. A former pilot in WWII, Jack was communication's officer on the 1947 military trip to Mendel Glacier guided by William Bond. See HERE for past Final Flight blog entries about Captain Robert Lewis this unsuccessful mission to recover remains from the missing AT-7 Navigator 41-21079 piloted by 2nd Lt. William Gamber.

Jack Walton remained at Florence Lake when Captain Robert Lewis and Captain Robert Goulding went into the backcountry. The most interesting memory Jack had was that there were five or six soldiers who accompanied the team to the glacier. The official report says nothing about this and when I interviewed William Bond several years ago, he made no mention of it.



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