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.

Check out my new book project, Beneath Haunted Waters HERE


Final Flight is distributed by Publishers Group West [PGW]. See their write-up on Final Flight HERE.

"Because truth really does trump fiction for drama, Peter Stekel's Final Flight reads like a good novel and sticks with you like a particularly affecting play. Superbly researched, compellingly written, and lovingly relived, this gripping tale both solves an old mystery and serves as a moving tribute to all fallen fliers. By actually trekking to the remote site of the crash and making a stunning discovery there, Stekel rescues a sad story from dead-end status and turns it into a living memorial."

Robert Michael Pyle, author of Chasing Monarchs and Sky Time in Gray's River.



T a b l e   o f   C o n t e n t s



November - Article about Final Flight by Doug Moe in Madison Magazine from Madison, Wisconsin

January - Death of Leonard Spivey



November 18, 2015 - 73 years.

September - I will be appearing at the Flying Heritage Museum at Paine Field in Everett, WA to speak about Final Flight on September 19 at 10 AM. A PDF poster for the event is HERE.

Paine Field
3407 109th Street SW
Everett, WA 98204

Ticketing: (877) FHC-3404
FHC Office: (206) 342-4242

THIS article from the Fresno Bee September 8, 2016 issue discusses my discovery of Glenn Munn on Mendel Glacier and puts the story in context to shrinking glaciers and climate change.

August - Visit to Moscow, Idaho and the home where John Mortenson was raised. Upcoming Final Flight presentation at Flying Heritage Museum at Paine Field in Everett, September 19, 2015.



September - Presentation at Words, Writers, & West Seattle on November 1, 2013 from 4-6 PM at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Westwood Village in West Seattle. This is a free, open to the public, event sponsored by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and Barnes & Nobel Booksellers.

August - Probably my last trip to Mendel Glacier to look for the remains of William Gamber and John Mortenson. Also, three composite photographs (Warning! large files) that compare changes since 2007 of Mendel Glacier, the Mendel Couloirs, and the permanent snow ice field on the east slope of Lamarck Col.

March - Eugene Fletcher's death, February 12, 2013.

February - A report on the 2013 History Flight planning meeting. News about Buster, the cadaver-smelling dog. Peter's second appearance at Museum of Flight in Seattle. Mendel Glacier plans for August, 2013.



December - Here is an interesting article from the Proceedings of the 2011 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites. Final Flight is cited on page 5 and 7 of the PDF article. Please check it out!

September - Return to Mendel Glacier. Report on the Golden Sierra High School trip. News about the History Flight mission to search for Gamber and Mortenson's remains using ground-penetrating radar and a cadaver-sniffing dog. Also, newspaper stories about my renewed search and the high school trip.

Summer - Read about Peter Stekel's plans to return to Mendel Glacier in late August for a reconnaissance trip. Also, the involvement of History Flight to locate 2nd Lt. William Gamber and Aviation Cadet John M. Mortenson in September (These are the remaining two crewmembers missing from the Beech 18 AT-7 Navigator that was lost November 18, 1942). Finally, find out about students from Golden Sierra High School in Garden Valley, California who are interested in reaching Mendel Glacier for a school history and journalism project and to report on the search for Gamber and Mortenson.

Donate to the Golden Sierra High School Mendel Glacier Expedition HERE.

Read their press release for the trip HERE.

Tax deductable donations can also me made by check to:

Black Oak Mine Unified School District

6540 Wentworth Springs Road

PO Box 4510

Georgetown, CA 95634

530-333-8300 Phone | 530-333-8303 Fax

Donations are still being accepted to help defray the cost of the trip and the expense of hiring a substitute teacher for the days two of the high school faculty members were chaperoning the trip and not at work.

May 2012 - Reader comments. Plans to return to Mendel Glacier.

January 2012 - My last regular blog posting for Final Flight. I will make postings as news occurs. Announcing Beneath Haunted Waters, my new book project.



December - Buy a copy of Final Flight for a friend or relative. You won't, and they won't, be disappointed. Thank you.

November - Download an MP3 copy of Peter Stekel's Seattle Public Library talk about Final Flight. The appearance was at the main branch of the library on October 11, 2011.

October - A new article by Peter Stekel, with lots of photographs, that reviews and recaps the Final Flight story. Taken from the upcoming December, 2011 issue of Sierra Heritage.

September - Notice from the Elliot Bay Book company about my appearance at the central Seattle Library October 11th to make a presentation about Final Flight.

August - This month's plans for Peter.

July - More on Peter's Ed Venture in Sequoia National Park and the Sequoia Natural History Association's promotion of Final Flight in their bookstores.

June - "Home" by English folksinger, Gerry McNeice. Also, Eric Blehm [author of The Last Season and The Only Thing Worth Dieing For] and I will be teaching an Ed Venture creative writing course this summer in Sequoia National Park for the Sequoia Natural History Association. The class will be held July 22-24.

May - New article in Warbird Flyer about former carrier-based Navy pilot, Bob Jones. Peter Stekel appearance to promote his book, Best Hikes Near Seattle [FalconPress, 2010] at Wide World Books & Maps in Seattle.

April - Peter Stekel in California during April for speaking engagements and PowerPoint presentations in support of Final Flight. Also profiled HERE in the Spring, 2011 issue of UC Davis Magazine.

March - A P-39 Aerocobra found in a lake in Russian after disappearing in 1944. January 15, 2011 presentation of Final Flight at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

February - Check HERE for a Final Flight Blog entry on Amazon's Kindle web page. Don't forget, copies of Final Flight are available at Amazon or Powell's World of Books on line or at your favorite bricks and mortar bookstores. You can read Final Flight on Kindle or on paper - your choice!

January - US Military battlefield and non-battlefield deaths. Numbers of US aircraft lost to training accidents and to combat in the south Pacific. Also, wisdom from military and flight training manuals.



December - Information about the book release party for Final Flight to be held on December 4th from 5-10 PM. Updates on Final Flight book readings for 2011. My next project: Hester - A Son, A Fatherís Enduring Love, Two Airplane Crashes, and the Sierra Nevada.

November - The 18th is the 68th anniversary of the loss of AT-7 41-21079 with William Gamber, John M. Mortenson, Ernest Glenn Munn, and Leo Mustonen on board. Also 93rd anniversary since Armistice Day celebrations {November 11} began with the end of the Great War - the eleventh month, eleventh day, eleventh hour. Video of Mendel Glacier area from late September, 2010 at altitude of 15,000 feet. Book readings in Portland, OR and Bellingham and Lake Forest Park, WA.

October - Final Flight book tour highlights, conversing with Andrew "Jack" Walton, who accompanied the US Army team to the Mendel Glacier crash site guided by William Bond, September, 1947. Peter Stekel interviewed on Sacramento's Capitol Public Radio.

September - A remembrance of Barbara Christian Adams, cousin of William Gamber, who passed away May 19, 2010.

July - It's a busy month for people interested in airplanes! Begins with: 1.] Publication update for Final Flight. 2.] Coming author events in October and November. 3.] Another JPAC mission accomplished. 4.] Tony Krizan from the Sierra Star in Oakhurst, CA searches Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks for a missing P-40 from 1941. 5.] The "Swamp Ghost" of Papua New Guinea. 6.] An interesting story about Pamela Archer Murphy, wife of WW II's most decorated soldier, Audie Murphy.

June - Advance praise for Final Flight the book. Excellent words and praise about Jon Turk and The Ravens Gift.

May - Contribution of participants from High Sierra Topix. Photos of climbing Mt. Mendel from

April - Peter Stekel's March KUOW interview about Final Flight on Seattle's NPR affiliate broadcast. William Bechter, Bill Davis, and Leonard Spivey and how their experiences in WW II were helpful with understanding what the crew of the missing AT-7 was doing at Mather Field in 1942.

March - On March 19, 2010  Peter Stekel interviewed by Dave Beck from Seattle's NPR affiliate, Listen to the 8 minute MP3 broadcast HERE at or HERE at the Final Flight website. The interview involves my description of finding the remains of Glenn Munn on Mendel Glacier in August of 2007 and how it has affected me. "Home," a song by British balladeer, Gerry McNeice recounts the story of Leo Mustonen. An MP3 along with a YouTube video can be heard and viewed.

February - First: See the finished front cover for Final Flight. Then, listen to a radio broadcast of Peter Stekel interviewed by Keri Brown at WVPB for a West Virginia Public Radio show about Final Flight which aired on February 22.  Also, Peter Stekel and Final Flight on the National Geographic channel. Finally, new documentary about classic planes being produced - beautiful scenes of a Beech 18 in flight. From Terwilliger Productions it is called Aviation Epic.

January - Final Flight copyedits are done. Examples of the uniforms worn by Leo Mustonen and Glenn Munn. Peter Stekel television interview about the "Nevada Triangle" and occurrence of airplane crashes in the Sierra Nevada. Photo comparisons of Golden Gate National Cemetery, 1948 and 2010.



December - Sample chapter, "Pro Patria Mori," which covers the topic of why we honor soldier dead. This chapter will not appear in this form in the published version of Final Flight.

November - Publication update. 67th year anniversary of AT-7 #41-21079 crash. Crew portraits.

October - Death of Richard Christian - cousin of William Gamber. Update on National Geographic television special featuring Peter Stekel and Final Flight. YouTube videos of Mendel Glacier from 15,000 ft.

September August July - Cemetery at Normandy in France. My summer trip to Mendel Glacier. Visiting Hal Klieforth. Norman Clyde cabin site.

June - Flying in a Beech 18 with Michael Kopp.

May - Historical and contemporary views of Mendel Glacier and AT-7 wreckage. Capt. Robert A. Lewis.

April - Submitting Final Flight manuscript to Wilderness Press. Publication of Best Hikes Near Seattle by Peter Stekel.

March - Marilynn Dick.

February - OV-10 Bronco crash on Darwin Glacier. Photos of Senator Hotel, Mather Field, and airports at Los Banos, Corning, Eagle Field, Mesa del Rey - all of which figure prominently in the Final Flight story.

January - Marilynn Dick. Photos and video captures from the following movies, all featuring a Beech 18: It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, XXX, Octopussy, The Flyboys, Letters from Iwo Jima, All the Pretty Horses, Along Came Polly, Insomnia, and The Aviator.


December - Troubles with getting public documents about OV-10 Bronco crash on Mt. Darwin. "Who They Were," biographical sample chapter from Final Flight. Archive of stories and audio files, by Mark Grossi, "Lost Flights" about Sierra Nevada airplane crashes from August-September issues of the Fresno Bee.

November - 66th year anniversary of AT-7 #41-21079 crash. Crew portraits.

October - Meetings with meteorologists and climatologists Laura Edwards, John Lewis, and Steve Johnson. Taking Jim, Gabe, and Scott Shriver, Glenn Munn's nephews, to Mendel Glacier crash site. Images of Mendel Glacier.

September - Aerial photos of Mendel Glacier. Photos from the 1948 burial of the crew at Golden Gate National Cemetery. Hiking to Mendel Glacier with Mark Grossi and Mark Crosse from the Fresno Bee.

August - Meeting with Michael Nozel [climber and co-discoverer of Leo Mustonen] and Hassan Basagic [glacial geologist].

July  - William Langewiesche and my thoughts about writing Final Flight. Video from WMV May 16 broadcast about Glenn Munn, Blond Bomber Comes Home, with my interview. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks summer guide with my article about wilderness and Mendel Glacier.

June - West Virginia Public Broadcasting documentary about Glenn Munn. YouTube videos of Leo Mustonen's funeral. Phyllis Reynolds. Memorial Day musings. Links to videos and images.

May - Interviews with Pauline Jones and Perry and Barbara Adams. Video from Glenn Munn funeral. Various videos of television news programs covering Glenn Munn funeral story. Links to newspaper stories about Glenn Munn.

April - Pat Macha. Poem about Glenn Munn written by M/Sgt Louis Marin.

March - Links to newspaper stories and moderated internet forums discussing Mendel Glacier and/or the AT-7 crew. Television interviews about Final Flight. David Hadden, Fresno County Coroner. Pat Macha. AT-7 crew headstone images from Golden Gate National Cemetery.

February - Meeting with Leonard Spivey at Mather Field to discuss William Bechter and his diary for November, 1942. Visiting Vintage Aircraft in Stockton where Taigh Ramey refurbishes Beech 18s. History of ice climbing in the Mendel couloirs. Photos and musings of Capt. Roy Sulzbacher's trip in 1948 to Mendel Glacier.

January - Capt. Roy Sulzbacher. Links to 2007 videos of Darwin Canyon. Conversations with Leonard Spivey, Lt. Col. Tom Betts [USAF Ret.]. Two books about airplane crashes.


December - Capt. Roy Sulzbacher. Conversation with Taigh Ramey about the Beech 18. Glenn Munn's ring.

November - Lousy Hollywood movies about airplane crashes. Interviewing Ruth Mortenson. Other missing aviators.

October - Capt. Roy Sulzbacher's story. Finding Ruth Mortenson [sister of John Melvin Mortenson]. Identifying Glenn Munn's ring. A possible television special about the Final Flight story.

September - Videos of television interviews with Peter Stekel discussing his discovery of a second airman from the AT-7 lost November 18, 1942 in Mendel Glacier.


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