Weekly Wire
Tucson Weekly High-Flying Adventure

A motley group of guys takes to the skies.

By Emil Franzi

DECEMBER 15, 1997:  DEAN ING IS best known for techno-thriller novels such as The Ransom of Black Stealth One. Though his latest effort is lighter, it still contains much of the action that's put Ing's novels on the best-seller lists.

The motley group of heroes in this tale are all members of the B.O.F. (Boring Old Farts), a loosely connected network of pilots whose kinship is based on shared combat experience in some Pacific war. Naturally, the intervening years of peace are taking their toll, with membership declining through death and infirmity.

The principal character is Wade Lovett, a Korean war F-84 jock in his 60s. On one debauched night of booze, strippers and exaggerated storytelling (a common circumstance his B.O.F. cronies have given the code name "National Emergency"), their host, Elmo Benteen, an over-80 WW2 vet, is about to reveal his master plan to regain their past glory and make some big bucks.

But just as he's about to tell the assembled group--once a couple hundred strong, and now only a couple of dozen--he's seized by a massive coronary and rushed to the hospital, where he dies.

But he manages to sputter out some crucial details, about a cache of mint Japanese aircraft he spotted at the end of the war, somewhere over the Pacific. (This has some basis in fact--several such birds have turned up as late as the '60s.) He mumbles about a map in his office, and next day a group of the B.O.F.'s embark on an impossible mission to a fictional island somewhere between Guam and the Philippines, in search of the rare aircraft.

Once an air force crew chief and a senior aerospace engineer, Ing knows planes and pilots well, as his many references indicate. This is a fun story and should be of interest to anybody who likes the novels of W.E.B. Griffith.

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